Bermuda care in Lubbock

lawnwardenAugust 20, 2013

Hello all you Bermuda experts! First time poster here...

As you can see in my photo I need some assistance with my front yard (first photo). The yard was established common Bermuda when I moved in 3 years ago. I think I've determined that the root of my problem was mowing too low. The neighbor's lawn (top left) is mowed with a reel mower, where I use a rotary mower.

I water 3 x week (Tue,Thur,Sun) for 6 minutes at each station, but have just switched to 2 x week (Wed, Sat) for 10 minutes at each station. The original 6 minute time was set because anymore resulted in run-off, but I'm hoping that by only watering 2 days a week that the soil will be more thirsty?

After research, it appears I have some Dallisgrass and clover weeds, as a result of
1. No premergent application this year
2. Moving too low

As far as fertilization goes, I use Milogranite 2-3 times a year and that seems to have really made my backyard look amazing (2nd photo). A few days ago I mowed the backyard to it's 2 inch height and bagged the clippings and sprinkled them across the front yard. So should I just wait it out and let the front yard grow to maybe 2.25 inches before mowing again?

Thanks for listening!

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This is my backyard for a comparison photo that was taken the same day as the front.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:54PM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

I think your yard looks really good for this awful drought we are having.
I guess we need to have what your goals are on what you are trying to achieve with your lawn.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:26PM
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Thanks apundt! My goal would have to be make my front yard look like back yard. I know the Bermuda Bible says to add 34-0-0 or 39-0-0 for a boost of nitrogen, but I'm afraid the Bermuda in the front is not stronger than present weeds.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 4:55PM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

Clover in the yard is usually a sign of low nitrogen.
dallisgrass will need to be hand pulled or controlled chemically.

I don't really think you are mowing too low. especially for hydrid bermuda. if the mower blade is not hitting the dirt then you are at about the right height.

you might want to start stretching out the water schedule to once a week at 1". you will need to use cat food or tuna cans to figure out the time for that with your sprinkler system.

I need to do some more research on dallisgrass control just to see what ideas are available out there.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Appreciate the feedback apundt. I think I will throw down some more milogranite on the front to add some slow-release nitrogen to the soil. I'll also get the Dallisgrass out by hand. I'm afraid if I add the 34-0-0 fertilizer, it will burn the already weak Bermuda and I'll switch to watering once a week. Forcing the root system to grow deeper and make my front yard to start looking more like my back yard.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:51AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Runoff is killer to deep watering. Try this: spray 3 ounces per 1,000 square feet of any cheap, clear shampoo right before you water. Then do what it takes to get a full inch of water down. You will probably have to water at short intervals to get a full inch. Water 5 minutes and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Then repeat until you get a full inch. In a week water normally but try to water longer. After 2 weeks repeat the shampoo. After the second app of shampoo your soil should be completely different and accept as much water as you can give it. If not you can repeat the shampoo weekly or increase the dose. One of the gurus on another forum applied 50 ounces per 1,000 every week with no ill effects.

Ideally you should be able to water a full inch all at one time. In the summer heat you would water once per week and transition back to once per month in the cool months. Continue watering even after the turf goes dormant. The soil microbes need the moisture.

Have you driven north out of town to Abernathy and seen the signs for Frontier Hybrids? Stop in there sometime and ask about the grasses they have. If you are lucky someone will take you into Abernathy and show you the grasses in use. They sell Turffalo and Shadow Turf. Both are pretty amazing.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Wow - dchall thanks for the tip. I'll have to give that shampoo trick a try, very insightful about how it changes the soil to accept more water! I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 12:18PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

DcHall, I've gone as far as 10-14 days between waterings during the summer so I am not sure if it is really needed to be watered once a week (unless you get hit by water restriction where you have two choices... water every week or water every two weeks with dead grass spots.) My soil at the previous house was in pretty good shape before we moved. I'm having to start all over again... Bermuda grass here fizzled out rather quickly compared to st augustine lawn. Oh well.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:06PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Oh DcHall, for the fun out of it, I threw a bucket of baby shampoo solution into one spot in the front yard and see what happens over the next two weeks. Front yard doesn't seem to be taking much water at certain period of time right now.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:08PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The only trick to the shampoo is to use shampoo instead of spending $70 per gallon for the surfactants used by golf courses.

Hi Lou. So you're a bermuda kind of guy now, huh? Maybe the bermuda fizzled because you only watered it every other week ;-)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 4:23AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


Admittedly, I go too long between watering. My focus is on maximum tree growth so once they get big, bye bye bermuda. Kinda pointless to put all the work into keeping lawn looking great...

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 6:31PM
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