Field Guide     Weed Management     Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon)

Crop Impacts: Turf grass

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About Bermuda Grass:

This grass originated from the savannas of Africa and is known for creeping along the ground and creating a dense mat of grass wherever nodes of this grass touch. It has been grown as turf grass, along with grazing grass for livestock; however, for most people it is considered a fairly invasive weed. Interestingly enough, this grass can reproduce from its roots underground which can grow from 47 to 50 inches deep and typically sits about 24 inches under the surface of the soil. Through the spread of seeds, runners, and rhizomes, Bermuda Grass reproduces. 3 months after being planted, the grass will start to release seeds that are about 2 inches long and that germinate in 20˚C temperature. You will be able to see it start to grow within 2 weeks of it being planted and in 150 days it can cover an area of 3 square yards.

Family: Poaceae

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Bermuda Grass Scouting and Prevention:

This gray-green grass with rough edges on its blades is typically about 4 inches long. It has .3 to 1.3 feet erect stems that are somewhat flattened with an inflorescent purple colour to them.

Common locations

  • - It thrives in poor, dry soil
  • - Prefers warm climate and moist soil
  • - Woodlands
  • - Orchards
  • - Pastures

Bermuda Grass Control:

Bermunda Grass is very difficult to keep under control due to the fact that it gets mixed in with desired turf grass and landscaped areas.

Cultural control

If you are interested in taking a cultural control approach, you can withhold water during the hotter months or cultivate the contaminated area if it is large enough. Putting down landscape fabric and 3 inches of mulch in the early months before germination is a good prevention method to make sure Bermuda Grass does not get into your gardens. If there is already grass in your gardens, you can pull it by hand or carefully spray it with herbicides and then use landscape fabric and mulch.

Chemical control

If you are going to use herbicides, it is recommended that you use post-emergent herbicides during the spring and summer.

Grass-selective herbicides have active ingredients such as sethoxydim (Grass Getter) and fluazifop (Ornamec, and Grass-B-Gon). These are a few of herbicides that will kill Bermuda Grass. If you cannot find these in stores, look for other brands that have the same active ingredients in them. The best time to apply grass-selective herbicides is in early spring. For best control over Bermuda Grass, apply the herbicide when the new grass is less than 6 inches long, and then reapply before the re-growth is longer than 6 inches. You may have to do this several time throughout the spring and summer.

Nonselective herbicide is a slightly stronger treatment which kills the plant all the way down to the roots. The suggested herbicide is Glyphosate (Roundup and other brand names) and must be applied near the end of the summer when the weed is strong and storing food in its roots. Do not apply when there is a drought and the weed is under stress. Make sure that you do not mow the weed area 2 to 3 weeks before applying the treatment. After you have finished the application, wait 7 days to mow or cultivate it. It is very important that you cultivate the area after you have treated it to bring up, and dry out the roots. If the area is left uncultivated there is higher potential for regrowth.

Latin / Alternative Bermuda Grass names:

  • - Cynodon dactylon
  • - Bahama Grass
  • - Devil's Grass
  • - Couch Grass
  • - Wire Grass
  • - Indian Doab

Additional Bermuda Grass Resources

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/bermuda_grass.htm

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=cyda

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7453.html