It’s time to soak up the sun 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.
1. Keep Up with Summer Mowing (and Reduce the Time Spent on This Chore)
One of the most dreaded outdoor chores is summer mowing. No one looks forward to getting up early and 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.
Bermuda grass mowing heights during the summer generally range from about 0.5–1.5 inches in height. The mowing heights pretty much remain the same for Solutions’ improved bermuda grass varieties below.
- Celebration Bermudagrass: 0.5–1.5 inches
- Discovery Bermudagrass: 0.5–1.5 inches
- Latitude 36 Bermudagrass: 0.5–1.5 inches
- NorthBridge Bermudagrass: 0.5–1.5 inches
A good rule of thumb is to never remove more than a third of the leaf blade at a time. 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.
Note: Get ahead of summer mowing and check out our tips on reducing time spent mowing your lawn as it gets hotter outside: How to Mow Your Lawn Less During the Summer.
2. Keep Your Heat-Stressed Bermuda Grass Strong with the Right Summer Fertilizer
Bermuda grass, as well as any type of turfgrass, requires different nutrients as seasons change. This is because outdoor temperatures change throughout the year and, as a result, so do soil conditions.
Your bermuda grass lawn will more than likely endure some form of stress from the summer heat. It’s important to feed the grass with the appropriate amount of nutrients to help out with this stressful period.
Grass requires less nitrogen in the summer than it would in the spring when it’s 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.
Tip: Consider aerating your bermuda grass lawn before applying fertilizer for a more effective application.
Sod University recommends two different fertilizer options for the summer, however, 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.
Option 1: Our first recommendation is the Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box, a liquid fertilizer program designed to give bermuda grass 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 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 bermuda grass get through the dog days of summer.
Each bottle of Lawnifi easily hooks right up to the end of your garden hose for an even spray application.
Option 2: The next recommendation we have is Lawnifi Foundation, a granular fertilizer option that comes in a 25 pound bag and feeds 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 bermuda grass 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?.
3. Make Sure Your Bermuda Grass is Hydrated…But Not Too Hydrated
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 to measure one inch of water, consider conducting an easy irrigation audit. If the lawn seems to become too warm or starts accumulating scorched, brown spots, 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.
4. Be Cautious with Weed Control
The summer season is one of the worst seasons for herbicide applications on any type of turfgrass. When temperatures reach or exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, herbicide chemicals will damage the grass.
It’s best to wait until it gets cooler and apply a post-emergent herbicide to any weeds that are currently in your yard. In the future, apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to reduce summer weeds and 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.
If temperatures are consistently below 85 degrees, it’s generally safe to apply post-emergent herbicides for any summer annual and perennial weeds. However, we suggest waiting until it gets closer to the fall season. If temperatures are low one day and exceed 85 degrees in the following days, the grass is still vulnerable to damage from the herbicide.
Learn more in How to Control Weeds During the Summer.
A few common bermuda grass weeds you might see during the summer are white clover, knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, crabgrass, goosegrass, nutsedge and sandspur. 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.
Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns + Crabgrass Killer$16.95
SpeedZone Southern Herbicide$99.95
5. Watch Out for Insect Infestations or Damage
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 grub worms, sod webworms, fall armyworms, billbugs and mole crickets.
Pictured above from left to right: A grub worms, sod webworm, fall armyworm, billbug and mole cricket.
Symptoms of an insect invasion differs from insect to insect. For example, a common way to identify a grub worm problem is by noticing an increase in burrowing mammals like moles, that are feeding on them. You can also dig a little in your lawn and spot them that way.
June is about the time to apply a preventative insecticide for grub worms because the adult beetles like the Japanese beetle or May/June beetle start flying around and drop eggs at this time. Apply a systemic insecticide like Merit 0.5G to prevent grub worms.
Sod webworms, on the other hand, are known for munching on bermuda grass blades as opposed to the root system. They are little green worms that skeletonize the leaves on grass blades, leaving a windowpane look in the blade.
Fall armyworms tend to leave the same kind of damage, but they are either green or a muddy brown with a wide, horizontal black stripe running down each of their sides. They are around 1–1.5 inches in length and have a lightly colored upside-down “Y” that marks the head of the worm.
Billbugs can be a problem in lawns during the summer as well. Signs of a billbug infestation can often be confused with drought or poor irrigation. Rule out poor irrigation by conducting the “tug” test. Pull up from the middle section of the damaged grass and be sure to grab as much grass blade as possible. You should be pulling from the base of the grass blades. If it comes up very easily, that is a sign of billbug damage.
Lastly, 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.
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.
6. Relax About Disease Control in Your Bermuda Grass Lawn
Disease outbreaks in bermuda grass lawns are pretty uncommon at this time. They can still happen though—especially if you overwater your lawn during the summer. The most common of them in bermuda grass at this time are large patch and dollar spot, which occur when conditions are warm and wet.
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. We will see you back here in the fall for our updated fall maintenance tips for bermuda grass lawns!