Annual Bermudagrass Maintenance Program

Frame2-101904

Common Bermudagrass

Annual Maintenance Program 

January

1. Maintain mowing heights of 2 inches.
2. Maintain adequate moisture during the winter period to avoid winter injury; do not let the soil become dry, especially when freezing conditions occur.
3. Take a soil sample to prepare for the upcoming growing season’s fertility program for your turf.
4. Calculate the square footage of your lawn to prepare for upcoming pesticide and fertilizer applications.

February

1. Maintain mowing heights of 2 inches.
2. Maintain adequate moisture during the winter period to avoid winter injury; do not let the soil become dry, especially when freezing conditions occur.
3. Purchase and apply the proper pre-emergent herbicide to control germinating annual grassy and broadleaf summer weeds. (mid to late February)
4. Prepare your mower and weed-eater for the upcoming growing season—sharpen or purchase new blades and properly service the equipment.

March

1. As your turf begins to green-up, mow at a height of 1 inch.  This will promote leaf growth by allowing sunlight into the canopy and will destroy the old dead leaf tissue from winter dormancy.  Some will consider this as “scalping” the turf.  It is o.k. to do this, though, with bermudagrass—it should come back just fine.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequently.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Begin studying up on your soil analysis to prepare for spring fertilization.  It will most likely be too early to fertilize in March, so be patient.  You do not want to apply fertilizers too early in the growing season.  Wait till you have mowed at least 3 times. 
4. Watch out for and treat diseases such as brownpatch during the month of March and April, especially if you have cool and wet/humid weather conditions.  We do not see brownpatch too often with common bermudagrass, but it is susceptible to this disease.

April

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.25 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. After you have mowed three times, it is time to consider fertilization.  Based on the soil analysis taken in January, apply the proper fertilizer evenly throughout your lawn.  Do not apply less than 0.75 pound or more than 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet with a quick release fertilizer; do not apply less than 1.0 pound or more than 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen with a slow release fertilizer.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.).
4. Begin applications of post-emergent herbicides on annual and perennial weeds when they are immature and actively growing.  Annual weeds will germinate from seed each year while perennials come back from their root system.  Always read the labels on the herbicides carefully—some herbicides may cause damage to your turf because your lawn grass may not be tolerant of that herbicide—it should state this information on the label (i.e.  MSMA herbicide will cause damage to St. Augustinegrass, but will not damage bermudagrass or zoysiagrass if applied properly).  Be careful when applying herbicides around trees and shrubs as well.

May

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.25 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Apply a second application of pre-emergent herbicides in early May to kill late-germinating annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.  Read the labels carefully so as not to cause injury to your turfgrass and surrounding trees and shrubs.
4. Core aerify your lawn in the month of May.  This is an excellent cultural practice that helps alleviate stress to your lawn from thatch accumulation (spongy lawn) and soil compaction.  It will also improve water infiltration/percolation deep into the soil profile which, in turn, promotes a deeper root system.

June

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.5 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Based on the soil analysis taken in January, apply the proper fertilizer evenly throughout your lawn.  If you already applied a balanced fertilizer in April, (i.e. 15-5-10), then use one that has only a nitrogen source, such as ammonium sulfate (21-0-0; quick release fertilizer).  Do not apply less than 0.75 pound or more than 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet with a quick release fertilizer; do not apply less than 1.0 pound or more than 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen with a slow release fertilizer.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.).  Consider using a chelated iron application from June thru August on a monthly basis.
4. Begin observing your lawn for signs of insect damage.  Examples of problematic insects include:  white grubs, sod webworms, cutworms, mites, etc..  After you have identified the insect causing the damage to your turf, immediately apply the proper insecticide.  Again, always read the label carefully.

July

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.5 to 2.0 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Watch out for sod webworm and white grub damage from July thru September!  For white grubs, you normally get a straw-colored, dead appearance.  A good method for testing for these ugly white grubs is to pull up on the turf—if it comes up easy, then it could be white grub damage.  Dig into that area to check.  For sod webworms, take a gallon size container and fill it with water and one ounce of liquid dishwashing soap.  Apply this mixture to the infected site—the sod webworms will come to the surface if they are present.  After you have identified the insect causing the damage to your turf, immediately apply the proper insecticide.  Again, always read the label carefully.
4. Look out for diseases such as Helminthosporium Leaf Spot from July thru October!  This fungus has symptoms of small spots on the surface of the leaves, leaf tip scorching, and a slow “melting out” of your common bermudagrass.  After you have identified the disease causing the damage to your turf, immediately apply the proper fungicide.  It will normally take at least two applications.  Again, always read the label carefully.

August

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.5 to 2.0 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Core aerify your lawn in the month of August.  This is an excellent cultural practice that helps alleviate stress to your lawn from thatch accumulation (spongy lawn) and soil compaction.  It will also improve water infiltration/percolation deep into the soil profile which, in turn, promotes a deeper root system.
4. Fertilize your lawn with 0.75 to 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in early August.  This can be accomplished with either a quick or slow release product—if you use a slow release product, you can increase this number to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.).

September

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.5 to 2.0 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Purchase and apply the proper pre-emergent herbicide to control germinating annual grassy and broadleaf winter weeds. (early to mid September)
4. Apply a preventative fungicide for diseases such as Brownpatch, Take-All Root Rot, Helminthosporium Leaf Spot, etc.

October

1. Maintain your mowing height at 1.5 to 2.0 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Apply your last fertilizer of the growing season in early October.  If your soil analysis called for nutrients other than nitrogen, make sure you use a balanced fertilizer (i.e. 3-1-2 ratio).  Fertilize your lawn with 0.75 to 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  At this point, a quick-release fertilizer should be used.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.). 
4. If you plan to overseed your lawn, remember that there are pros and cons.  The good thing about overseeding with a cool-season grass like annual or perennial ryegrass is that you can have a green lawn throughout the winter.  The bad part is that you have to mow and irrigate throughout the winter.  Other concerns are that the overseeding turf will compete with your lawn, especially when your common bermudagrass is coming out of dormancy.  In other words, don’t do it unless you absolutely have to!  Your common bermudagrass will thank you for it!

November

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2.0 inches.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. If you have had a real problem with winter weeds in the past, apply a second application of pre-emergent herbicides in mid November to kill late-germinating annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.  Read the labels carefully so as not to cause injury to your turfgrass and surrounding trees and shrubs.
4. If you choose not to use pre-emergent herbicides and you start seeing winter weeds establish, begin applications of post-emergent herbicides on these annual weeds when they are immature and actively growing.  Annual winter weeds will germinate from seed each year.  Always read the labels on the herbicides carefully.  Be careful when applying herbicides around trees and shrubs as well.

December

1. Maintain mowing heights of 2 inches.
2. Maintain adequate moisture during the winter period to avoid winter injury; do not let the soil become dry, especially when freezing conditions occur.
3. Clean up and put away all lawn tools and equipment. 
4. Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

New Comment

Not Publicly Displayed
Leave Blank