View Full Version : Help With Bermuda In North Alabama

04-04-2010, 12:58 PM
I am seeking advice for improving my lawn. I'm primarily concerned about dead spots, erosion, and scraggly grass in my front yard; the weeds have improved a bit since I hired a company to treat a year ago, so I'm not really worried about that.

I live in Madison, Alabama with clay soil and bermuda turf. I'm planning on making large planters around the base of each tree to help deal with the shady spots. I thought about tearing it all up and starting over, but I don't think it's in that bad of shape. What should I do to recover my lawn?

The grass is just starting to green up now. All these pictures were shot earlier this morning:







04-06-2010, 04:37 PM
I'm no expert, but think a lot more info is needed to make any assessment of your situation.
Does the company you hired to apply weed control also apply fertilizer?
What fertilizer has been applied in the past?
Do you have any soil analyses? Has any lime been applied?
Is the soil hard and compacted? Has it ever been aerated?

From the pictures, it doesn't look too bad in most areas, but hard to tell when it's just starting to come out of dormancy. You may want to do a little patching in the worst areas with either seed or a little sod, but that won't do much good if the soil and/or sun conditions aren't condusive for thriving bermuda grass.


04-07-2010, 05:23 AM
Bermuda is just about bomb resistant provided it gets enough water, fertilizer and is cut with a reel mower at least once every 7 days during the growing season. I do not want to hear about how it rains enough. In clay soil, that grass needs an inch of water every 10-14 days depending on temperature and humidity.

04-07-2010, 09:26 AM
Hi Brad,

The company does fertilize as well, but I'll have to go find the reports to see which fertilizers they uses. I hired them (based on the recommendation of a neighbor with a great lawn) shortly after I moved in, but I have no way of knowing how the lawn was cared for before that.

I did have a soil analysis shortly after I moved in which indicated that the soil was acidic and I applied the recommended amount of lime in response. Again, that was about a year ago.

I have not aerated, but I probably should.

Thanks for any advice!


04-07-2010, 01:00 PM
From what I know of that red clay soil in your area, plug aerating after the grass gets going a little stronger would probably be a good idea. It also wouldn't hurt to follow that up with some compost topdressing, maybe even with a little sand mixed in. Finding good quality compost in this area may be an issue. I've not found a nearby source for good bulk compost, so please let me know if you do find some. If topdressing the whole lawn is more than you can or want to do, I would at least buy some bagged compost to topdress the problem areas immediately after aeration.

With plenty of sun, water, and nutrients in decent soil, bermuda grass will usually spread quickly to fill in bare/thin spots, but if you do decide to patch some areas with seed or sod, make sure you coordinate the repairs with the company applying chemicals. They've probably already applied 1 or 2 rounds of pre-emergent this year, so you'll probably have to wait some amount of time before any seed or sod could successfully be used.


04-08-2010, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the help, I'll give it a shot and let you knowhow it goes.