Bermuda seeding in Maryland

Md_mike(7B)July 2, 2011

Hello all,

I am trying to establish a bermuda yard from seed on the eastern shore of Maryland. Tired of heat and drought killing my fescue yard every year, as the back yard bakes in the sun all day. Used roundup to kill the existing fescue/weed mess, scalped the yard, then used a Lawn Solutions slit seeder to put down a mix of Yukon, LAprima-XD and La Prima. Probably used more seed than necessary, just not used to machine! Covered with Greenview Grass Accelerator instead of straw, and have been watering 3 times a day for about 15-20 minutes each time. It has been exactly 2 weeks as of today, and I am seeing a lot of grass coming in! Happy about that! Seed started germinating after about 5 days, and I now have some taller plants (1 inch or so), some just trying to peek out, and some bare areas.

pictures:

Questions:

1. Should I continue the 3 times per day watering schedule to encourage germination, or should I go to less frequent (early AM or evening) but longer time? Is germination just about done, or will it continue?

2. When should I fertilize? Won't be mowing for at least a week or two, I would guess.

3. I have never planted bermuda, only fescue, and I know the little fescue seedlings would die in a day or 2 in this summer heat. Days are 85+, humid and sticky. Will Bermuda seedlings (the little guys!) survive this weather with no water during the daytime hours?

Thanks for any suggestions or help! Being a newbie at bermuda, I am looking for any assistance in a successful yard restore! Very happy so far, but don't want to screw it up now!

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

1. Continue until you think you have 80% seed germination. Some seeds will sprout early and some later. If you stop after the first ones sprout, you might not get any grass from the variety of the slower sprouting seed.

2. Fertilize after you mow grass for the second time. That ensures you have roots in the soil.

3. As you back off of the frequent watering schedule, you will have to do it gradually. Eventually you will be watering about once a week until you apply an inch of water. So the answer is that it cannot survive a cold-turkey change in watering. Wean it over a month or two.

Search the Internet to find the Bermuda Bible. Memorize it and you won't have to ask any more questions ;-)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 6:36PM
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texas-weed(7A)

1. Continue to water to keep seed bed most until as Dave said you are happy with the coverage

2. After you have mowed at least once, use nitrogen only.

3. 85 degrees is not hot for Bermuda, still a bit on the chilly side for Bermuda grass.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:41PM
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nearandwest(7)

Md mike: Just curious, are you located anywhere near Salisbury?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:58PM
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Md_mike(7B)

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Nearandwest - I am near Ocean City, MD - about 30 miles east of Salisbury.

I have seen the Bermuda Bible annual maintenance guide. Great info for an existing yard, but not much good for me now at this stage. I will follow it starting this fall, hopefully.

Any estimates as to how long some seed may take to germinate? I have primarily Yukon and Paloma seeds in my mixture, just don't know what to expect with Bermuda. I've always planted tall fescue. Totally different worlds!

TIA
Mike

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 1:25AM
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texas-weed(7A)

You should see seedlings at 5 to 7 days, and full germination at 4 to 6 weeks. Mow as soon as it needs it, water, and feed.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 12:07AM
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Md_mike(7B)

Cannot find Lesco 39-0-0 anywhere in my area. Everything in Maryland is tall fescue oriented. So my choices are either Vigoro Supergreen 39-0-5, or Lesco 46-0-0 that a store has near me. Anyone suggest which way to go? Understand that the vigoro product is slow release, not sure about Lesco 46-0-0.

Also, there has been no fertilizer applied to this yard in over a year (sandy soil in a coastal area). Should I use a more balanced product for this first feeding, or go with high nitrogen only?

Yard 2 days ago before first cutting to lower fast growing patches:

Weaker, slower growing patches:

Thanks for the help, folks. This forum is great for education.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 2:19PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Cannot find Lesco 39-0-0 anywhere in my area. Everything in Maryland is tall fescue oriented. So my choices are either Vigoro Supergreen 39-0-5, or Lesco 46-0-0 that a store has near me. Anyone suggest which way to go? Understand that the vigoro product is slow release, not sure about Lesco 46-0-0.

Use the 39-0-5. The 46-0-0 is fast release ureaa, you want slow release.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 5:27PM
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Md_mike(7B)

Texas Weed - thank you.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Md_mike(7B)

6 week update!

It's been exactly 6 weeks since I put out seed, and I actually seem to have a thriving yard of beautiful bermuda grass now. I am very pleased with how the bermuda has established. Quite thick and happy! Having to cut 2 times per week at about 1 inch, and fertilized about 2 weeks ago.

yard photo:

Unfortunately, my success in getting seed to grow has created my dilemma - CRABGRASS!! I have some areas where the crabgrass is very thick and very happy with all the attention.

grass and crabgrass:

THICK crabgrass area:

I understand that the crabgrass will die out in the fall/winter, but I am concerned that these areas don't have much, if any, bermuda seedlings to establish later. I will end up with large bare areas when the crabgrass dies. How do I ensure that next year the bermuda spreads, but the crabgrass doesn't come back. Cutting it so short now should help keep the seed count down, but there will still be crabgrass seeds. The thick crabgrass areas are large, couple of hundred square feet, mainly along the bulkhead at the back of the yard. Will bermuda actually fill-in and cover an area this large? I am new to bermuda, but realize that bermuda and crabgrass grow and thrive at the same time of year in the summer heat! Should I be trying to kill the crabgrass now to give the bermuda a chance this year, or wait until next year?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:10PM
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Md_mike(7B)

Resized pictures!!!

yard:

bermuda and crabgrass:

THICK CRABGRASS:

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:33PM
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texas-weed(7A)

You are going to have to put up with weeds this season. DO NOT use any herbicides.

In September start a pre-emergence herbicide program and reapply every 3 months. Also in September you can spot treat with post-emergence but I suggest you just let it go for now.

This winter when the grass is completely dormant spray anything green with Round Up. If you keep up the per-emergnce, fertilizer, watering, and mowing program you will be rewarded with a show case lawn next spring.

Good luck.

TW

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 7:30PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Cannot tell what kind of grassy weed that is, does not matter much. Just keep the Bermuda short and do not let that weedy grass go to seed by letting it get up high enough to produce seed.

By constantly cutting and not letting a weed go to seed eventually weakens it. Eventually this season providing you rwarm weather last, the Bermuda will mature and thicken up, and choke out competitors.

The real challenge I see for you is winter. You are pretty far north and Bermuda does not like cold freezing winter. With a new Bermuda lawn the roots will not be real deep, and freeze damage and winter kill is a possibility. You have two defenses you can use.

1. About a month before your first expected frost raise the cutting height up to around 2 inches. This will add some insulation and a couple of degrees freeze protection.

2. When you hear a cold snap is coming and the ground is a bit dry, soak the lawn. This will add a couple more degrees of freeze protection. The worse thing that can happen is a dry hard freeze. Dry ground freezes fast. If the ground freezes to a depth of a couple of inches or more, (in and below the root zone)your Bermuda is toast. The best thing to hope for is a nice wet blanket of snow before the temps fall below say about 29 to 28 degrees. Wet snow will keep the ground at 32. If you get dry powder snow, cross your fingers.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Md_mike(7B)

Thanks TW. I am in a coastal area, and we typically get a lot of freezing rain/slush mix in the winter, as opposed to snow. I am also concerned about getting through the first winter. If we have a typical winter, we don't get a lot of hard freeze conditions, but who knows what mother nature has in store this year. Cross my fingers!

My next round of fertilizer will be going down in a couple of weeks. Does it make sense to apply a more balanced product to encourage root growth? 80+ daytime temperatures are the norm here through at least the end of September, and often well into October. Very rare to have any freezing weather before December.

Thanks for all your help.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 12:04PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Have you already used a Starter Fertilizer, or done a soil test?

P&K are pretty stable in soil. So if there is sufficient amounts in the soil adding more will do no good at all. In fact it can do more harm than good. You got time left, send samples in for testing.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 12:26PM
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