7

I am having trouble controlling Bermuda grass through my cool-season lawn (grass type Fescue).

I live in Lancaster, PA USDA Zone 6.

Is there an effective method of removing it without effecting the good grass?

  • 3
    You're not going to find a selective chemical (organic or synthetic) or biological approach. If something will kill one grass, it will kill another. You will have to find something that distinguishes types - eg. Flowering times would allow to remove flower heads for the Bermuda. Failing that you'll have to selectively kill the worst areas and re-seed. – winwaed Sep 25 '11 at 1:53
  • @jmusser What is your good grass? Also any idea how the unwanted Bermuda grass got into your lawn in the first place? – Mike Perry Sep 25 '11 at 2:32
  • I like the different fescues better. The bermuda grass has always been there. – J. Musser Sep 27 '11 at 1:13
  • @jmusser So you have or want a cool-season lawn (Fescue) & wish to remove the warm-season grass (Bermuda). Where do you live (general area) & what is the Hardiness zone there? – Mike Perry Sep 27 '11 at 4:32
  • I live in Lancaster,PA, in zone 6. The cool season grass is good all year here, and the bermuda is extremely weedy and coarse. – J. Musser Sep 29 '11 at 1:09
2

First, let me say I've no experience doing battle with Bermuda grass.

Second, I've spent the past 24 hours reading up on removing Bermuda grass from a cool-season lawn, for the moment lets just say there's no easy answer, solution... Eradicating Bermuda grass from a landscape takes a lot! of work and time, there really doesn't appear to be a quick fix...

What makes Bermuda grass so difficult to remove are a number of factors:

  • Being a warm-season grass it thrives in the heat.

  • It's considerably drought tolerant (for a grass).

  • Has an extensive and deep root system.

  • Spreads by stolons (above ground) and rhizomes (below ground), therefore making itself very good at repairing itself ie Filling in (large) spaces. It's not a clump forming grass like Fescue which is very slow at filling in bare spots and limited to small areas (approximately 4inch/100mm diameter maximum).

Small areas of Bermuda grass can be tackled via:

  • A proper and thorough cool-season lawn care program eg

  • Remove by hand (digging out).

  • Target infected areas by Solarization.

  • Target infected areas by burying under thick layer of mulch.

  • Selective post-emergence herbicides eg

    • Fusilade II, active ingredient fluazifop.
  • Non selective post-emergence herbicides eg

    • Roundup, active ingredient glyphosate.

Large areas of Bermuda grass can be tackled via:

  • Target infected areas by Solarization.

  • Target infected areas by burying under thick layer of mulch.

  • Selective post-emergence herbicides eg

    • Fusilade II, active ingredient fluazifop.
  • Non selective post-emergence herbicides eg

    • Roundup, active ingredient glyphosate.
  • If the infected area is really large ie 60% or greater of total lawn area is (unwanted) Bermuda grass, it could possibly make more sense to start over again, remove everything...

For successful removal of the unwanted Bermuda grass all of the above methods require careful planning, correct timing, thorough execution of the chosen method, cut any corners and the success rate will dive toward zero...

If you would like me to document (expand on) any of the above methods, please let me know which method you're interested in...

Below are some of the articles, documents I read while researching this topic:

| improve this answer | |
4

To paraphrase a common saying, "One man's weed is another man's lawn". Bermuda grass is low maintenance and drought resistant. If sown with other thin bladed grasses that are more cold resistant it can result in a lawn that stays green all year long.

That being said, if you are determined to eradicate it from your lawn here are some steps you can take:

  • Overseed - Bermuda grass is dormant in the winter so when the temperature starts dipping below 60F cut it short and overseed with a variety that has a lower dormancy temperature. Then again in the spring before the temperature climbs above 60F.
  • Pre-emergent herbicide - This type of herbicide doesn't kill plants. It simply prevents seeds from germinating. Timing is key. Pre-emergent herbicides are indiscriminate so you'll want to give your overseeded variety a chance to sprout.
  • Let your desired variety grow 1/2 - 1 inch taller during the winter months. Bermuda grass is a short variety and is shade intolerant so letting your grass grow taller will allow it to overtake the Bermuda grass while it is at a disadvantage.

If you live in a very warm climate like Central or South Florida or Southern California you'll have a tougher time because its the ideal climate for Bermuda grass throughout most of the year.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.