28 May Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Bermuda Grass Lawn
Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Bermuda Grass Lawn
It’s time to soak up the sun this summer season! Around this time last year, most of us were actively quarantining with the outbreak of COVID-19. Now that the majority of the United States is currently being vaccinated, it’s no surprise that we want to make the most of this summer season. Whether you’re inviting neighbors over for an afternoon cookout, throwing a pool party for your kids or playing soccer out in the yard, a gorgeous lawn that stands out from the rest of the neighborhood can make a really great impression. Get your bermuda grass in perfect shape for the summer by following our summer lawn maintenance tips below. Be sure to also check out our individual homeowner maintenance guides for generic bermudagrass, Celebration® Bermudagrass, DiscoveryTM Bermudagrass, Latitude 36® Bermudagrass and NorthBridge® Bermudagrass.
Bermuda Grass Summer Mowing
One of the most dreaded outdoor chores is summer mowing. No one is looking forward to getting up early or pushing the lawn mower in the hot sun. For a lot of areas in the South, temperatures easily reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit or more by 10:00 a.m. What’s worse is if you miss or skip a week of mowing, the grass gets taller and the lawn mower gets harder to push.
Keeping bermuda grass mowed at a height between 0.5–1.5 will prevent this from happening. Bermuda grass also performs best and really thrives at this mowing height during the summer months.
If your bermuda grass is located in partial shade, keep the mowing height at about 1–1.5 inches as slightly taller blades perform better in shade. Never remove more than a third of the leaf blade from the bermuda grass. If more than this amount is removed, the grass will stress and turn brown for a short period of time.
If you are returning from a summer vacation, you may have to mow multiple times to get the grass back to its desired height. Be sure to wait about 3–5 days between each mowing. Lastly, our blog on reducing mowing inputs during the summer may help you spend less time and energy outside mowing the grass. Click here to learn more.
Bermuda Grass Summer Fertilization
Bermuda grass, as well as any type of turfgrass, requires different nutrients as seasons change. This is because outdoor temperatures change throughout the year. As a result, so do soil temperatures. Your lawn will more than likely endure some form of stress from the summer heat—especially if you’re located in hot, humid climates. Although most varieties of bermuda grass are bred to withstand heat, it’s still important to feed the grass with the appropriate amount of nutrients to help out with this stressful period.
Turfgrass in general requires less nitrogen in the summer than it would in the spring. In the spring, warm season turfgrass is coming out of dormancy and trying to green up. Nitrogen promotes new growth, which will not survive in the heat of the summer. The wrong fertilizer combined with excess sunlight during the summer can easily cause scorched spots in your yard. Sod University recommends two different fertilizer options for the summer. You will only need to use one of the two options for summer fertilization. Using both at the same time may result in burns in your lawn.
The LawnifiTM Summer Fertilizer Box is a liquid fertilizer program designed to give lawns the nutrients they need to survive and flourish during the hot summer months. With one bottle of Maintain and two bottles of Recover, the Summer Fertilizer Box’s application schedule will give your bermuda grass appropriate nutrition all summer long. Maintain’s 16-0-4 formulation works to fortify your lawn with potassium, amino acids and carbon. Recover’s 13-0-0 formulation was created to provide the optimal balance of nutrients to lawns as temperatures start to rise. In addition to nitrogen, Recover delivers critical micronutrients like soluble manganese, iron, sulfur and carbon, which help your lawn get through the dog days of summer. Combined, these three bottles of liquid fertilizer are the best bermuda grass fertilizers that reduce heat stress and promote overall plant health as temperatures peak.
Lawnifi Foundation is a granular fertilizer option that comes in a 25 pound bag and lasts for three months. With a 29-0-5 NPK formulation, Lawnifi Foundation is the perfect granular fertilizer for lawns and gardens. The two percent iron included in Lawnifi Foundation’s mixture helps plants carry oxygen throughout the leaves, roots and other parts of the plants to promote a green, healthy lawn. Featuring slow-release nitrogen, Foundation gradually feeds your lawn over an extended period of time without overwhelming your lawn with nitrogen during the summer. Both Lawnifi Foundation and the Summer Fertilizer Box cover 5,000 sq. ft. Learn more in Granular vs. Liquid Fertilizers or by clicking on the two products below. For more generic information about the Lawnifi brand, read Why Use Lawnifi Fertilizer?.
Bermuda Grass Summer Watering
The summer season comes with significantly warmer temperatures and a longer amount of time with sunlight. This frequently tempts homeowners to water the lawn more often to make sure it’s hydrated. This is not always recommended as waterlogged soils in warm climates are ideal environments for disease outbreaks. Despite the hot temperatures that occur during the summer, bermuda grass should only need about one inch of water on a weekly basis. This is best accomplished with one or two waterings a week. Water in the early mornings for longer periods of time, less frequently and take any rainfall into consideration. Watering your lawn in the early morning decreases the dew period. As a result, this also decreases the amount of time the grass blades are wet, which is a helpful disease management practice. If you aren’t sure how much water your bermuda grass is receiving, consider conducting a simple and cheap irrigation audit. If the lawn seems to become too warm or starts accumulating scorched, brown spots, instead of adding more water, consider adding a layer of top dressing to keep it shaded and cool. Read more about this in How to Top Dress Your Lawn with Compost.
Bermuda Grass Summer Weed Control
The summer season is one of the worst season for herbicide applications on any type of turfgrass. When temperatures reach or exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, herbicide chemicals will damage the grass. It is best to wait until it gets cooler and apply a post-emergent herbicide to any weeds that are currently in your yard. Be sure to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall to keep fall and winter weeds out. Learn more about the timing for herbicide applications in The Best and Worst Times for Herbicide Applications.
This doesn’t stop you from removing weeds during the summer altogether, though. You can always hand-pull or dig out the weeds. You can also spot-treat them with a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate or other non-selective alternatives. Be careful though—non-selective herbicides will kill any plant it comes in contact with whereas a selective herbicide, as its name suggests, will kill off certain types of weeds it’s labeled to treat. Glyphosate and other non-selective herbicides will kill any vegetation it comes in contact with…this includes your grass.
A few common bermuda grass weeds you might see during the summer are white clover, knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, crabgrass and goosegrass. If temperatures are below 85 degrees, it is safe to apply post-emergent herbicide for any summer annual and perennial weeds. Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application.
Pictured above from left to right: White clover, knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, crabgrass and goosegrass
- Coverage: One bottle covers 5,000 sq. ft.
- Active Ingredient(s): 2,4-D, Dimethylamine salt 3.74%, Quinclorac 1.79%, Dicamba, dimethylamine salt 0.43%, Sulfentrazone 0.22%.
- Ease of Use: Hooks up to the end of your garden hose for even spray application.
- Best Used On/For: General outdoor weed control and crabgrass.
- Coverage: One gallon covers between 71,000–171,000 sq. ft.
- Active Ingredient(s): 2, 4-D, 2-ethylhexyl ester 9.02%, Dichlorprop-p, 2-Ethylhexyl ester 5.19%, Dicamba acid 0.59%, Carfentrazone-ethyl 0.47 %.
- Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.
- Best Used On/For: Broadleaf control in established grasses.
Bermuda Grass Summer Insect Control
This time of year is the absolute worst time for insect invasions. Bugs like fire ants or mosquitos aren’t the only ones to watch out for—there are a lot of insects that can cause severe damage to your lawn. Some of the most common summer insects include chinch bugs, grub worms, mole crickets, billbugs and nematodes.
Pictured above from left to right: A chinch bug, grub worm, mole cricket, billbug and nematode.
We highly recommend keeping an eye out for white grubs at this time. Although small, white grub worms have the potential to completely annihilate an entire lawn given the right amount of time. Preventative treatments for grub worms can be made anytime around June, which is around the time adult beetles are flying around and laying eggs. Apply a systemic insecticide like Merit 0.5G to prevent grubs from taking over. If you notice grub worms in your lawn, Scotts GrubEx or Dylox 6.2 Granular Insecticide can be applied as treatment.
A chinch bug invasion will become more likely in July through September. Signs of a chinch bug infestation include a spotty pattern of patchy grass that almost looks like drought damage. On the other hand, a mole cricket infestation can be identified by their tunnels which push up soil and grass, as well as the presence of brown and dying grass due to mole cricket feeding habits. Nematodes can be a little tricky to spot because they are located below the soil in the roots and they are microscopic. Signs included stunted plant growth, premature wilting and the yellowing of leaf blades (chlorosis).
Some of the insect control products listed below are labeled to treat these common insects. Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application. Learn more about different types of lawn insects in Insect Identification.
Bermuda Grass Summer Fungus Control
Disease outbreaks in St. Augustine lawns are pretty uncommon at this time, however, they can still happen—especially if you overwater your lawn during the summer.
Although certain chemical solutions found in fungicides have the ability to cure lawn disease, there are a few cultural methods you can perform to keep disease outbreaks from occurring beforehand. These cultural methods are common maintenance practices found in our Bermudagrass Homeowner Maintenance Guide. Overtime, these maintenance practices promote a healthy lawn that can withstand stressors and fight off things like insects or disease.
However, there are a few recommended disease control products we’ve listed below. Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application. You can learn more about these diseases in Identifying Common Lawn Diseases.
- Coverage: One bottle covers 2,500 sq. ft.
- Active Ingredients(s): Propiconazole 1.45% and Lamda-cyhalothrin 0.08%.
- Ease of Use: Hooks up to your garden hose for an even spray application.
- Best Used On/For: Outdoor topical/contact fungus and general insect control.
Summer maintenance tips for your bermuda grass lawn are mostly about keeping it healthy and stress-free during the hot summer temperatures. This will help it continue to thrive when temperatures eventually cool down and we enter into the fall season.
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