If there’s one thing that can spoil an otherwise healthy, thriving bermuda grass lawn, it’s weeds. While weed control may seem overwhelming and complicated, there are simple ways to control and prevent all types of weeds in your bermuda grass lawn.
Bermuda grass is known for its aggressive growth habits and its ability to form a thick canopy. You may even notice bermuda grass growing along the edges of sidewalks or even into someone else’s yard. This same aggressive growing habit and thick canopy allows bermuda grass to choke out weeds.
This doesn’t mean weeds will never appear in your bermuda grass lawn. Some common weeds that tend to make an appearance in bermuda grass are common chickweed, dandelion or yellow nutgrass. Having the ability to know which types of weeds are growing will tell you a lot about your soil. It will also give you the chance to come up with a treatment strategy for the specific kinds of weeds you’re seeing.
Read on to learn about common bermuda grass weeds, non-chemical control methods, preventative solutions and treatment strategies.
Common Weeds in Bermuda Grass Lawns
There are two types of common weeds: grassy weeds (includes crabgrass, nutsedge, Poa annua, foxtail, goosegrass, barnyardgrass, witchgrass) and broadleaf weeds (includes purslane, pigweed, goosefoot, London rocket, spurge). Grassy weeds look like grass and can sometimes go undetected while broadleaf weeds grow actual leaves and are much more obvious. Grassy weeds emerge from seed as a single leaf whereas broadleaf weeds emerge from seed with two leaves. Both types of lawn weeds are harmful to your bermuda grass and should be handled correctly to ensure a healthy lawn.
Pictured above from left to right: Dandelion, chickweed, doveweed, white clover, purslane and spurge.
Pictured above from left to right: Crabgrass, dallisgrass, yellow nutgrass and annual bluegrass.
If you are able to identify the weed you are seeing at home, you can make a more informed choice of which products to use by reading their labels. Be sure to read the product labels thoroughly so that you know if the chemical can be applied to your lawn without damaging the grass. Follow the product label’s instructions upon application. For more information, read Identifying Common Lawn Weeds. It is important to know that there are a few cultural, non-chemical control methods for weed control you can use as well.
Cultural Methods For Weed Control In Bermudagrass
There are a few things that you can do in the maintenance and care of your lawn that will help keep weeds from popping up in the first place. These simple care tips are good for your bermuda grass lawn even aside from chemical weed prevention and treatment!
Mow at the correct height: Allowing bermuda grass to get too high or scalping it too low can create room for weed issues. Bermuda grass mowing heights may change from season to season, but generally speaking, bermuda grass should be kept at a height of 0.5–1.5 inches.
Control shaded areas: Extremely shaded areas that result in bare spots where grass won’t grow is the perfect place for weeds to invade; it is important to take measures to ensure that grass is able to thrive even in the shadiest of areas to keep weeds away.
Hand-pulling: When you see the first signs of weeds here and there, go ahead and pull them by hand as a first line of defense measure instead of letting the weeds spread before you can get ahead of them with other measures.
Pre-Emergent Weed Control In Bermuda Grass
A pre-emergent is exactly what it sounds like—a way to control weeds before they even begin to pop up in your bermuda grass lawn. There are several different kinds of pre-emergents that can be used successfully on different kinds of bermuda grasses and weeds.
Pre-emergents should typically be applied in the spring as temperatures start to warm up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and in the fall when soil temperatures are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping. Take a look at a few of the recommended pre-emergents below.
Coverage: 0.5 gallon covers between 87,000–228,000 sq. ft.
Active Ingredient(s): Dithiopyr 24%.
Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with a sprayer.
Best Used On/For: Established turfgrass before broadleaf weeds appear.
Post-Emergent Weed Control in Bermuda Grass
In comparison to pre-emergent herbicides, post-emergent weed control formulas are useful when a weed problem has already occurred and you need to get it under control. There are many different kinds of post-emergents depending on the kind of weeds you want to kill and the variety of bermuda grass you need to protect. It should be noted that you shouldn’t use Tenacity or Fusilade II on bermuda grass lawns as they are labeled to control invading bermuda grass and can damage your lawn.
After you’ve identified the type of weeds that are appearing in your bermuda grass, you can begin researching the best herbicide for that weed. Our blog on The Best Weed Killers for Home Lawns suggests a list of some of the best ones available.
It is important that you understand the difference between selective and non-selective herbicides as well. A selective herbicide will only kill the weeds listed on the product label. An example of a selective herbicide would be SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf or Drive XLR8. A non-selective herbicide, like glyphosate, will kill any and all plants the solution comes in contact with—including your grass. Be careful not to apply a non-selective herbicide to your bermuda grass unless you’re wanting to kill it too.
Here is a list of some recommended post-emergent herbicides.