How and When to Plant Bermuda Grass Seed
Bermuda grass seeds need warm, moist soil to germinate, grow, and spread. During cool temperatures (generally below 50 degrees Fahrenheit) bermuda grass seed will not germinate; it becomes dormant. This means that early summer in southern climates is the best time to plant bermuda grass seed while fall and winter are the worst.
Proper soil preparation, including a test for pH, can make a noticeable difference in the speed with which your new lawn grows, the hardiness in winter and drought, and the ease of on-going care and maintenance. Nevertheless, bermuda grass seed does well enough in clay, sandy mixes, and rich, loamy soil that assuring a clean, tilled soil bed is usually sufficient to get your bermuda grass seed off to a good start.
Our simple, easy-to-follow chart below offers a suggested bermuda grass seed planting plan that should be quite OK for most home and business owners. Remember that local conditions and the amount of care you put into the planting process can affect your results and you should make adjustments accordingly.
Many steps for planting grass are the same. For all of our planting charts, however, we highlight the steps that are specific to the type of grass that is being discussed with a ±so you can quickly focus on the unique planting aspects.
Clear the area. Remove current growth by using a brush or non-selective grass kill product and waiting several days for it to take effect. Alternatively bring in several inches of screened top soil and grade accordingly.
Prepare the soil. Be sure the soil is tilled and loose to a minimum depth of 2 - 3 inches, but ideally 3 - 5 inches. Remove large rocks and roots. Be sure the surface is smooth and angled to direct water run-off away from buildings and to avoid puddling.
Test the soil. Determine the pH of the soil. While many homeowners skip this step, your bermuda grass will establish and grow better with proper pH. For bermuda grass, soil pH ideally should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Soil pH that is much below 6.5 should receive an application of lime. While retail soil test kits are available, your local university extension office can provide a much more accurate analysis and recommendation for your lawn.
Fertilize - A typical "starter" fertilizer common to both big box and mom and pop retails stores is adequate to assure proper nutrients for the new bermuda grass seed.
Distribute the bermuda grass seed over the prepared soil per the instructions provided on the package. If no instructions are provided, most bermuda grass seed will provide acceptable coverage at a rate of one (1) pound per 1,000 square feet. Use a mechanical spreader to assure the most even coverage.
Water your bermuda grass seed immediately after planting. Thereafter, the soil should be kept moist until the seed germinates and begins to grow. Once the new growth consistently covers the planting area, gradually trim your watering back a day or two at a time. Watch the grass for wilting or discoloring to help monitor when you have reduced your watering too much.
Under ideal conditions, bermuda grass seed will establish nicely within 60 - 90 days but expect a full, hearty turf to take a year or more.
Mow your new bermuda grass. Allow the blades of your new grass to reach 2 to 2.5 inches before mowing. Set your mower height to remove no more than 1/4 of the length of the grass. Continue to cut only small fractions of the grass length with each mowing which may mean that you need to mow your bermuda grass twice a week for the remainder of the growing season. Next season your bermudagrass should be established enough to cut it shorter (to 1 inch) if desired.