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Seasonal Guides for Your Bermuda Grass Maintenance
During the fall, mowing will occur less often—keeping your bermuda grass slightly higher will encourage deeper root growth which helps it survive in colder temperatures and during winter dormancy.
Water less as temperatures drop—too much water will lead to disease. Water to prevent drought stress while grass is actively growing and after the beginning stages of dormancy to prevent dehydration.
It is recommended you apply a fungicide at preventative rates as this will help the grass enter colder months in a healthier condition. If you have had a fungus before, you may need multiple applications in affected areas. If spring dead spot was a problem, apply a fungicide at high rates to the problem area(s). Consider mapping those areas because fungicide treatment can be expensive. If you use a granular variety, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption.
For the first mow of the spring, remove dormant grass leaves to promote new growth by dropping your mower down a notch and giving it a “buzz-cut” with a rotary mower that has a sharpened blade. Bag up all the material to keep excess clipping from clumping or causing disease.
After your initial “buzz-cut”, begin mowing your bermuda grass at the desired height of 0.5–1.5 inches.
Don’t overwater. In the active growing season, bermuda grass needs about 1 inch of water a week from natural rainfall or irrigation. If you apply any granular fertilizer or control product, you will need to water it in. This is a sufficient amount of water for the week. Overwatering may promote disease outbreak. Conduct an irrigation audit to evaluate how much water is being delivered to different areas of your lawn.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will prevent summer annual weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass from plaguing your lawn and garden. Apply post-emergent herbicides in May as needed to control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like white clover, knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Products containing multiple broadleaf active ingredients are more effective in controlling broadleaf weeds.
Apply a systemic fungicide at a preventive rate to keep disease from taking hold of your lawn. You may begin to see circular brown or yellow patches as your bermuda grass begins to green up. This may be a sign of spring dead spot or some other turfgrass disease. Do not apply fertilizer until you’ve applied a systemic fungicide at a curative rate and your grass has recovered.
Bermuda grass mowing heights during the summer generally range from about 0.5–1.5 inches. When mowing during the summer, never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time. If you remove more than that, you will stress the grass and it may go brown for a short time. Taller blades provide more shade for your root system to stay cool and retain moisture during the hot summer days. If you are returning from vacation, you may have to mow multiple times to get the grass back to the desired height. Wait about 3–5 days between each mowing.
Do not overwater the grass. Bermuda grass only needs about one inch of water weekly. Water for longer periods of time, less frequently and in the early morning hours. Take rainfall into consideration.
Check for and control any white grubs. Apply Merit to prevent grub worms and apply GrubEx or Dylox 6.2 to treat grub worms. If you use a granular variety, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption. Calculate that watering into your weekly watering amount. August is the best time to control grubs because they are small and feeding near the soil surface. Other insects to look out for include sod webworms, fall armyworms, billbugs, mole crickets.