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Bermuda Grass

March 2012

QuestionI have fought the Bermuda grass battle in my beautiful Iris bed for years. I am about ready to throw in the towel. Can you tell me if there is anything that can be used to kill the grass without harming the Iris?

AnswerGrass tends to be the most common weed in iris beds because we plant the iris rhizomes in full sun and cannot mulch them. Lack of mulch allows the grass free reign. I often think Bermuda grows better where it is not wanted versus in our lawns! I would recommend getting in there now with a sharp hoe and scrape off any dormant grass. Then pay attention this spring. As new growth begins and the grass begins to run, that is when you can use a grass specific herbicide such as Grass-b-gone, Ornamec, Over-the-top or something similar. It will say it kills grass within flower beds. It works quite well on Bermuda, but timing is important. It can kill a lot of grass at the end of the season, but then you are left with a lot of dead grass growing in your iris beds—which is not attractive either. Good luck.


QuestionOn common Bermuda grass, what do you recommend to fertilize this time of the year?


AnswerThe best time to fertilize Bermuda grass is after it is fully green and growing--no sooner than mid April. Fertilizing it now, will just make your weeds grow faster.

June 2008

QuestionI have a small flower bed, 4ft. X 8ft. max that has been taken over by the Bermuda grass in our lawn. When I cleaned it up this spring I put wet newspapers all through out and up close to the plants that are there and then mulched well with cypress mulch. The bed has some hostas, day lilies and a peony bush. This is our fifth summer in this house, the grass was sodded when we built the house, and little did we know how it would spread. I thought maybe this fall I would dig up my plants and treat the area and the border around it with something to kill it off. Any suggestions or help you could give me would be appreciated.

AnswerBermuda is a tenacious weed and often seems to grow better where we don’t want it. There are some grass specific herbicides you can use and now is an ideal time to use them. The key is to let the grass green up and start to spread and then treat. Brand names include Grass-b-gone, Over the Top, Ornamec and Vantage. This will kill the grass without damaging your daylilies, hostas or peony. Once the grass is killed, pull out the dead grass and mulch well. Keep a buffer zone between your lawn and flower beds to give yourself an area to keep clean.

June 2010

QuestionWe live in Mena. Our side lawn was pretty much destroyed by the uprooting of a dozen mature trees by the April 2009 tornado. In November 2009 we replaced the lawn with Zoysia turf. The adjoining front lawn has St Augustine. Bermuda grass is prevalent on all sides at the edges and interspersed in places. It moves aggressively into bare spots. In order to fill in areas where here is still no turf I am encouraging the Bermuda grass. THE QUESTION: Is Bermuda grass the turf of champions as it is so often portrayed or the invasive weed that my wife would like to ban from the lawn so as to protect her gardens? How would Zoysia, St Augustine and Bermuda grass coexist? We both recognize its aggressive nature -I as a benefit; she as a liability. I do not believe that I would be willing or able to ever gain complete control over it, so would prefer to take a "if you can't fight it, join it " attitude.

AnswerBermuda grass is the most aggressive grass when grown in full sun. It is the least adapted to shade. If you have full sun, I would encourage it, since it will grow nicely and would be hard to kill. It will blend in nicely with Zoysia, but St. Augustine is much more coarse in texture and actually doesn't like competition or traffic. I would make sure you keep a buffer zone between the lawn and the flower beds to help manage its spread and keep it from becoming a problem in the flower beds.

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