Plant Answers  >  Bermudagrass Seeding of Lawns

Planting Grass Seed
By Calvin Finch, Director, Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center


If you were waiting until the right time to plant Bermuda grass seed, now is the time. It is warm enough in June for the seed to germinate, but not so hot that it is impossible to apply adequate water. If you follow the recommended practices, the Bermuda seeded lawn can be well established before the end of June.

Bermuda grass is an excellent choice for lawns in full sun. The grass is drought tolerant, relatively pest free and can be beautiful. Golf courses and ballparks in our area use Bermuda grass. They mow them low and frequently for a surface that looks like a carpet.

There are several Bermuda grass seeds from which to choose. Common Bermuda is the least expensive. Black Jack, Cheyenne and New Mex Sahara are selections of common Bermuda that are supposed to have better color and are more dwarfed. They also cost twice as much. These selections are available at many nurseries but definitely available at Douglas King Seed Company (near Interstate 10 (East) and W. W. White).

If there are weeds on the site of the new lawn to be seeded, they must be identified to determine what you must do to control them. If they are just winter annual weeds such as rescue grass, dandelions and henbit, they can be tilled into the ground. Perennial weeds like dallis and Johnson grass, and hot weather weeds like crabgrass and sand burs must be killed with glyphosate or Finale before they are tilled. Next September, apply a pre-emergent herbicide like Amaze to prevent the crop of winter weeds from germinating.

Lawn grass requires at least 4 inches of soil to prosper. Two inches of compost should be spread over the surface and tilled in. Apply 5 pounds of lawn fertilizer per 1,000 sq. feet and rake the surface smooth. Apply the seed at the rate of 2 – 3 pounds per 1,000 sq. feet. Rolling the seed helps make soil to seed contact, but never attempt to cover it. Your seed supplier or rental store will have a roller that you can rent or borrow.

After spreading the seed, you should water twice per day for the first week. If your community is in drought restrictions, you may have to irrigate by hand unless you obtain a variance. The variance is especially important if you are planting seed in a large area. You should water before 11:00 a.m. in the morning and after 7:00 p.m. in the evening. Use the sprinkler on your watering day and water by hand the rest of the week. Irrigate to a shallow depth, five to ten minutes on most irrigation systems. For the second week, water every day and then water every three (3) days in the 3rd week. By the fourth week your lawn will prosper on one deep watering per week and you will be mowing the new lawn.

Mow Bermuda grass at 1.5 inch or less. A rotary mower works but the most beautiful lawns are mowed at 1 inch with a reel mower.

 


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