When I first moved to a house with a big open area in the front, I imagined having a lush green lawn and walking on it barefoot. However, even after several tries, the lawn just remained a patchy sad affair.
I tried planting many types of grass, used the best fertilizers, and watered regularly but it remained an unfulfilled dream.
One day I finally asked for advice from a neighbour, whose lawn was the envy of all in the area. He told me that he had planted Bermuda grass and found it just right for the climate.
I was so happy to be let in on this secret. I immediately went and got Bermuda grass seeds and this time the grass grew evenly but not thick enough.
So, I went back to the expert neighbour and asked him as to how to make Bermuda grass thicker? Here are a few things he told me and I am happy to share these with you.
What Is Special About Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass or Cynodon dactylon is an East African grass and was brought to North America in the mid-1800s.
It is extremely popular because of its excellent tolerance levels even in extreme heat and drought-like conditions and the ability to quickly recuperate even after heavy use.
Many house owners with lawns prefer Bermuda grass for its resilience and find it a good option. These are some of the key features of Bermuda grass
- It is a warm-season grass
- Grows well when full sunlight reaches it
- Good drainage is a must
- Highly resilient and tolerates heat, drought, salt, and high traffic
- Requires proper nutrients
Why Does Bermuda Grass Get Thin?
When I first planted Bermuda grass, I did not fully understand all the factors that make the grass lush and thick. I did not bother with the topsoil and just let it be.
This was the reason why the grass was thinner and not growing well. However, there are other reasons, as well. Let us look at some of the reasons why Bermuda grass gets thin.
Watch this video to learn more.
- Compacted topsoil can make it difficult for the nutrients, air, and water to reach the roots.
- Too much shade is not conducive for Bermuda grass
- Less or inadequate fertilizing can also cause problems.
- Infestation or disease can be a problem.
How to Make Bermuda Grass Thicker?
Like we mentioned earlier, there could be many reasons why the Bermuda grass in your lawn is thinning out. If you are keen on seeing it looking healthy and lush, you need to take care of it. There are some things which you can try for getting thicker Bermuda grass.
1. Mowing the Grass
Here two things are essential: to mow the grass regularly, and the other thing is to mow the grass close. Mowing close to the ground will make the grass grow and spread sideways and become thick.
Experts suggest mowing the grass down to between one and 2 inches. Use a mower that will give you cleaner cuts instead of chopping the grass.
Regular and frequent mowing will promote faster and thicker growth as well. Remember to always
- Follow mowing with watering
- Increase fertilizing levels
2. Watering the Grass
Lawns require a regular and right way of watering to keep them in good condition. This is the reason many people use sprinklers or timed watering devices, especially for bigger lawns.
Even a healthy, good-looking lawn full of dense, green grass can start to look scraggly with irregular or inadequate watering. The roots have to get the right amount of water to provide nutrients to the plant properly.
Water has many natural substances and also carries the nutrients from the soil to the roots. Though Bermuda grass can withstand heat, it does require regular watering for it to grow well.
3. Good Ventilation
Unless aeration happens, the grass will not grow well. If you plant grass in compact soil or in an area of your garden where airflow is not free, you will notice that the grass does not grow to its best.
Air is crucial for all plants and Bermuda grass as well. Keep the soil well-drained at all times. Regular weeding is also vital to let the soil breathe.
It is best to aerate when the grass is still short. Good ventilation helps in the roots spreading and growing stronger.
4. Fertilizing the Lawn
Just as good nutrition is essential for our growth, it is crucial for plants and grass growth. Even if the soil quality is outstanding, you have to fertilize regularly and maintain the right nutrition levels.
Some specific fertilizers are meant for Bermuda grass, and using them could give you the desired results.
While using a fertilizer, keep the following things in mind.
- Do a soil test to find the level of nutrients
- Apply Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium (NPK) in a 4-1-2 ratio
There are many benefits of applying the right amount of fertilizer, including stopping diseases and weeds and making the grass more resilient. The condition of the topsoil is crucial for Bermuda grass to grow well.
5. Control the Weeds
Weeds can be harmful to the growth of Bermuda grass. It prevents the grass from getting thicker and timely steps are to be taken for necessary good growth. Removing the weeds can prevent its spread.
Apply pre-emergent herbicide
If the grass looks thin and has patches, then you need to apply pre-emergent herbicides. You should apply it early in the spring to stop the weeds from germinating.
If there is a heavy infestation, then apply the pre-emergent every 2 to 3 months. If you successfully stop the weeds early, then you don’t have to worry later in the hot months. Crabgrass and quack-grass are the worst weeds for Bermuda grass.
Apply post-emergent herbicide
When you see weeds already growing in the yard, you will need to use post-emergent herbicides. These weeds can be uprooted or pulled out as well. Applying herbicides in specific areas can yield better results.
6. Sowing the Seeds
You can get dense, lush Bermuda grass only if you sow enough seeds in the ground. You rarely get 100 % results even from the best seeds, and you must sow more than the instructed quantity to get more output. Cover every inch carefully and ensure that you don’t leave any bare patches.
7. Treat Diseases Quickly
Lawn disease can spread very quickly if left unattended, and it could be the reason for thin Bermuda grass. Fungal infections like dead spring spots, brown patches disease, etc., usually cause slower and thinner growth.
Bermuda decline is another disease that affects the roots and causes root rot. Some insects can also cause havoc, like the Japanese beetles and grubs. At the first sign of a problem, take corrective measures, and keep an eye on any recurring problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it easy to maintain Bermuda grass?
A. Bermuda grass is relatively easy to care for if you give it the right attention at the right time. Mowing, aerating, fertilizing, and watering the grass as and when needed, can provide you the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood.
Q. Is there such a thing as too much shade?
A. Bermuda grass requires a lot of direct sunlight, and if there is too much shade, it can cause stunted or thinner growth. If there are too many trees, buildings, or other structures affecting the lawn and sunlight, you may see the grass’s slow growth.
Q. How often should you water Bermuda grass?
A. Watering Bermuda grass once in three days is more than enough, even in summer. During the hottest time of the year, you can water it every alternate day. During winters, Bermuda grass can go dormant and requires no extra watering. It is water-efficient grass.
Taking care of Bermuda grass is not at all problematic. If you want the grass to grow thick, then you may have to put in some effort.
The steps are easy to follow and to ensure the best results, you must follow them according to schedule. Proper and timely maintenance will give you the thickness that you desire in the grass.
- Daily watering when it is establishing
- Later the frequency to be reduced, but the amount of water increased
- Mow the grass as soon as it reaches 2 inches in height
Following these basic things, apart from taking care of the soil with aeration and fertilization, will help you get a lush lawn. We are sure that you will find this information useful.
Feel free to share it with friends and family facing similar problems. If you have any doubts or questions, you can contact us, and we will be happy to answer and solve them for you.
Bermuda grass is a popular type of grass for lawns, and with just a little bit of care, you will be able to have a dream lawn laid out with dense and green Bermuda grass.
Thursday 7th of January 2021
Thanks for posting this incredibly detailed blog! Bermuda grass is popular here in Central Florida, and there’s nothing more beautiful and lush than a full, healthy lawn. If I may add a suggestion, keeping your mower blades sharp is the best way to ensure that your mower cleanly cuts the grass rather than shredding it. It’s a good idea to get your blades sharpened about twice a year!