Bermuda grass is a warm-season perennial turf grass that grows in temperate, tropical, and subtropical climates. Bermudagrass is prized for its heat and drought tolerance, as well as its ability to recover quickly.
This combination of qualities makes Bermudagrass a popular lawn choice in the US. Bermudagrass may be a good choice for you, depending on your location and lawn usage. Bermudagrass is more sensitive to cold than Zoysia grass or turf-type tall fescue. Its low cold tolerance limits its use north of the “transition zone,” where Bermudagrass is a popular lawn choice.
Bermuda grass thrives in full sun and good drainage and can tolerate heat, salt, and humidity well. Bermuda grass is also drought-tolerant. However, it is the notion of, will Bermuda grass take over weeds?
In our guide, you can find the answer to will Bermuda choke out weeds without weed killers? By the end, you’ll see how to keep a healthy lawn, and it can do just that and help with your weed control while offering a great lawn. (Find the Best Fertilizer For Zoysia Grass)
What Kind Of Grass Will Choke Out Weeds?
The best grasses for weed control in your lawn vary by region. Bermuda grass, also called wire grass, is the best warm-season grass for a weed-resistant lawn. It spreads by runners and roots, preventing weeds from taking root.
- Bermuda grass is the best warm-season weed-choker.
- Kentucky Bluegrass is the best cool-season grass for weed control.
Kentucky Bluegrass spreads the fastest of all cool-season grasses. It self-thickens and fills bare spots by producing roots that form new plants in spring and fall. Choose KBG to control weeds in your northern lawn.
The dense turf created by zoysia reduces summer weeds. Amazoy smothers cultivated wild grasses, including Bermuda and St. Augustine, so you will need to keep these grasses away from newly planted zoysia plugs for best results.
Despite its reputation as a weed, healthy Bermuda lawns can outcompete most other weed species in existing grass.
Cut Bermuda grass to a height of one to two inches. Raising the mowing height to 2 1/2 inches will shade weeds, seeds, and plants. Mowing high stops weeds conducting photosynthesis and weeds growing, so it weakens or kills them, giving Bermuda the upper hand. Use a catcher on your mower to prevent re-seeding on your lawn.
Water your Bermuda lawn regularly to keep it lush. Apply 1 inch of water weekly in one or two deep watering sessions. To saturate the Bermuda root zone, you can water your soil to a depth of 6 inches. Use more water in dry climates and less in wet climates. Avoid drought stress, which can encourage weed growth.
Pull the weeds by the roots after watering the lawn and moistening the soil. Grab the weed by its roots and pull it up and out of the soil with a firm tug; ensure you dispose of these rather than using them in your compost bin.
Fertilize your drought-resistant Bermuda grass monthly for healthy growth and a beautiful lawn. Make sure you add a basic lawn turf fertilizer rich in nitrogen and not exceeding 1 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet of overseeded Bermudagrass lawn. After each application, soak the top few inches of soil deeply. (Find the Best Fertilizer For St Augustine Grass)
Aerate or dethatch your Bermuda grass lawn once or twice a year to remove excess thatch and ensure water and nutrients reach the root zone. Make two passes with the dethatching fork across your Bermudagrass lawns, the second at a 90-degree angle to the first. When finished, rake up and discard the excess thatch.
Make two passes over the area with the aerating tool. If you want a neater look, leave the soil plugs on the soil to act as fertilizer. Give your Bermudagrass lawns plenty of water after either procedure.
Will Bermuda Grass Choke Out Crabgrass?
Bermuda grass is among the best grass to choke out weeds, and in particular, crabgrass. A crabgrass preventer fertilizer will help prevent new lawn weeds from sprouting in the early spring.
Apply before crabgrass seeds germinate at 55°F soil temperatures. In the far south and west, it can be early February or even late January.
Here are a few methods to choke out weeds in Bermuda Grass naturally.
Bermuda is often cut at a mow height of 1–1.5 (2.5–4 cm) inches. However, this mow height allows a lot of light to reach the soil and may encourage weed seeds to sprout. If weeds are present, raise your mowing height to 2–2.5 inches.
Mow weekly, as this can encourage grass to grow thickly; never mow more than a third of your grass lawn as mowing your lawn too short gives most weeds plenty of chance to get a foothold in your lawn.
Balance Soil pH
Acidic soil attracts weeds like dandelions and plantains. Bermuda grass thrives in many soils, although typically, it would be less acidic soil. Adding natural lime to your soil will help the grass grow, and weeds die.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Do a soil test to see how acidic it is. Bermuda grass thrives in soil pH 5.8–7.
- Acidic pH below 5.8 means Bermuda struggles and weeds thrive. Apply calcitic lime as directed on the bag to raise pH and lower the acidity.
- Lime comprises pulverized limestone with no added chemicals. Adding lime to your soil raises your pH and is a natural way to make your lawn grass-friendly and less weed-friendly.
Fertilize Bermuda Grass Frequently
Bermuda grass is a voracious feeder. It grows thick and quickly, ideal for eradicating weeds, but all that growth needs fuel. During the summer growing season (May–September), Bermuda benefits from monthly fertilization.
Bermuda Watering Schedule
Fertilizer isn’t the only thing Bermuda desperately needs. It’s also essential to provide enough water to support thicker Bermuda grass and weed control. Water your Bermuda grass in the following manner:
- Bermuda should be watered twice a week, using 0.5–1 inch per watering session at around 30–60 minutes using a sprinkler.
- To avoid water evaporation, water first thing in the morning.
- Watering deeply and infrequently promotes deeper roots and stronger grass.
- Do not water daily, yet increase the duration of your twice-weekly watering sessions if your Bermuda grass appears to be dry. Daily watering favors shallow roots and weak grass and increases the pace at which weed seeds germinate.
Bermuda’s greatest vulnerability is thatch, which is caused by all the fertilizer and water growth. The thatch layer comprises decomposing Bermuda runners and stems that take a long time to disintegrate. Your grass will struggle and grow patchy if you don’t dethatch, and weeds will take over.
It is best to do this on existing cultivated grass in late spring or early summer to remove excess thatch when there is more than a half-inch of thatch. (Read Does Bermuda Grass Spread)
Your lawn will receive an instant boost as water and fertilizer can now reach its roots rather than sitting on the top of the thatch. Don’t worry if you have thin lawns after this as your Bermuda grass flourishes and be much thicker and stronger, as well as weed-proof.
Bare soil patches, however, can be an introduction to weeds as the seeds can get to the soil. Luckily, Bermuda grows so fast after you put down grass seed, it can be your natural weed killer until you cut your grass.
Do Weeds Grow In Bermuda Grass?
The best way to smother weeds in Bermuda grass is to increase the cutting height to 2 1/2 inches to shade seeds and weeds rather than doing a short mow.
Like most grasses of this type, once they are thick and long and in the direct sun, weed seeds can’t germinate, and the weeds can’t take hold.
However, Bermuda dominates where summer temperatures rise above 85 degrees F.
If you grow plants, you can find your grass encroaching on your flower bed. To prevent excess grass growth, use a glyphosate solution, and make sure you hold the nozzle close to the grass to prevent drift.
Will Bermuda Grass Kill Other Grass?
Most lawns comprise multiple grass species to keep a year-round green color; one enters hibernation while the other thrives with vigorous growth.
Tall fescue and Bermuda grasses prefer USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 6, and 7 to 10, respectively.
Bermuda grass can readily overtake fescue because each grass has a unique growth pattern.
Bermuda grass are warm-season grasses that quickly supplant fescue as Fescue is a cool-season grass that will thrive in the spring and fades come summer.
Bermuda, commonly used in sports fields and golf courses, quickly recovers from foot traffic by aggressively expanding through above- and underground grass roots and stems, also known as stolons and rhizomes.
Thanks to these stems, Bermuda can occupy both the top surface and the lower soil structure with vegetative growth. Bermuda is a warm-season grass that thrives in full sunlight between spring and fall.
Any fescue grasses added into a Bermuda lawn become covered when stolons grow across the ground, allowing more sunshine and photosynthetic activity to reach them.
Bermuda is frequently mowed as short grass to heights of 3/4- to 1 1/2-inch height, which causes fescue to die back quickly since its blades cannot photosynthesize when mown so close to the ground.
Come late fall and winter, your fescue thrives. When temperatures drop, the Bermuda lawn goes dormant, allowing fescue to grow above the browning blades seeking access to sunlight. Fescue thrives in dappled sunlight and winter precipitation as cool-season grass.