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I live in Knoxville, TN. My back lawn sees a lot of action year-round with two medium-sized dogs. I think much of it is Bermuda grass, since it runs close to the ground, is very thick and soft in summer, and goes completely dormant (dead-looking) in the winter. If I have the wrong grass, please let me know.

Here are some current pictures of a patch in different lights:

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Secondly, when the dormant season hits, my dogs are pretty rough on this grass. Since the soil is loose they dig at it, and even the spots that are just high traffic get very muddy. When it rains, I pretty much have to bathe them every time they go outside to save my carpet.

My question is, can I somehow "toughen up" these areas of the lawn with supplemented grass breeds, or should I just herbicide the whole thing and roll out new grass? Obviously, I'd rather take the cheaper route of just dropping some new seed, but I've heard Bermuda is like a weed that will choke out almost everything else.

Disclaimer - I'm pretty much as far from an expert in this field as you can get. :)

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    Doesn't look like bermudagrass, at least how it looks here, but it is a warm season grass. While cool season grasses will look better in winter, they will also be almost dormant all winter, so you will see a lot of wear/desiccation on it if you traffic it a lot in winter. If you do intend to replace it, you'll need to completely kill the warm season grass first unless you want to use a selective herbicide.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 17, 2015 at 23:40
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    Doesn't matter what grass you use, unless its artificial - dogs/kids constantly playing on grass in winter will always produce a mucky mess. Restrain the dogs from using it in winter, give them a run or an area to use instead.
    – Bamboo
    Jan 22, 2015 at 10:24
  • In Phoenix we grow winter and summer grass. They seed the winter rye grass around October. They usually will aerate the turf before seeding. Then they thatch in the spring when the bermuda is coming back. We don't really have a mucky mess issue...
    – Tim Nevins
    Aug 10, 2017 at 22:27

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If it’s a summer grass like Bermuda or something similar, Ornamec may be effective. But you can only apply it during the grass’s fastest growing seasons. It might take up to 3-4 seasons before it dies completely. For a tougher lawn, try Perennial rye mixed with some fescue. And if the area is always muddy and you need something to dry out the area, plant a tree or two.

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