View Full Version : Help Overseeding Bermuda (Pictures)

04-07-2011, 04:49 PM
Front Lawn

I've got a lawn that was primarily fescue and that was neglected for a year (because of travel for business). This year I'm around a lot more and I want to get this thing back on track. We've put down pre-emergents about a month ago and the company I'm working with scheduled to have the yard core aerated on April 18th. My goal is to plant bermuda across the whole yard and take over the fescue with time. I don't want the hassle of trying to keep a fescue lawn alive in full sun in South Carolina. So, I'm wondering what my strategy should be from here.

I understand that the soil needs to be really warm before I plant anymore bermuda. Should I have the turf maintenance company wait until later? Or will it be ok to wait and plant the bermuda a while after the core aeration has taken place.

Also, I've got some dips in the yard. So, I was planning on getting some sand and filling in those areas as well as doing some top dressing along with the seeding.

Side "Yard"
In my side yard (pictured). There has really not ever been grass. There I'm wondering if core aereation, topdressing, broadcasting the seed would be the way to go. The bermuda did begin growing last year, I'm thinking it may begin taking over.

Side Yard Close Up - Dormant Bermuda & Weeds

04-07-2011, 08:48 PM
Bermuda is not suited to shade (in case you have any shade problems). It may be best to kill the fescue so that you will not have a mixture. The pre emergent applied for crabgrass any prevent any seed from germinating. Perhaps the Bermuda will spread by itself. Of course, you can always help it along by planting small sprigs in thin areas. Better quality types do not produce seed. But I am up north--local advice is better.

04-07-2011, 10:20 PM
the pre-emergents were put down almost a month ago, and i was thinking about waiting another month to sew the bermuda. Do you think that would be enough time to wait?

04-09-2011, 10:54 AM
I am also in the north, so I haven't had experience with warm-season grasses but here is my experience with seeding after pre-emergent.

I actually got a 50/50 mixture of KBG/Rye to germinate and fill in about 4 weeks (late April) after pre-emergent was put down (granular form in late March). Filled in quite nicely actually...I was surprised. However, I had to baby the crap out of the spots I seeded because the temps were turning warmer and wind this time of year is stronger in Illinois.

I know it's hard to wait, but Fall is BY FAR the best time to do all of these things. Even in South Carolina the temps are cooling a bit. But, if you have to do it now I would double aerate and overseed. Much of the seed will get into the holes created by the aeration. Spend the extra loot and get a GOOD quality seed that will be more drought hearty and will have a slightly higher germination rate. It's my experience that spending the extra money will result in much less frustration! Good luck!

04-09-2011, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the reply. I'm hoping that I can have some success getting the bermuda to germinate some this year. What's tough is that bermuda germinates best when it's warm (down here in SC, late may / early june is the best time to sew it). The problem is that the weeds come in early spring and the easiest thing is to put herbicide down which is what the turf management company did to eliminate the weeds. It's kind of a catch-22

I'm thinking that next year I'll just spot treat all of the weeds with round up until I can put out a lot of seed early summer. I'm planning on aerating in about 2 weeks, overseeding late may, then watering and fertilizing the rest of the summer. I'm hoping the bermuda will just begin to run across the lawn.

Hook and Ladder
04-11-2011, 07:59 PM
Wait until late May (as stated) depending on your pre-em there is a stated time frame before seeding. By looking at the pics it looks like some animals may be using it as a restroom (dark green patches) of course that is never good. Also get a soil test, determine shade times, check for various insects. (chinch bugs, nematodes, mole crickets) oh man Bermuda can go forever with the problems. Shoot me a pm and I can better communicate with you and get a better description as to where you are in SC and what you are dealing with.

04-12-2011, 06:39 PM
I've figured out my game plan. I'm going to hold off in the spring on aerating. Instead I'm going to kill off all the fescue on the other half of my lawn, then till up the soil where the fescue was once it's dead. Then I'll sew in my bermuda there.

For the side yard. I'm just going to kill everything on that side, and till that up and clear all of that old mess out. A lot of rocks weeds, just junk. Then I'll sew that entire side lawn with bermuda. I've got enough time now where I can kill and clear all that I don't want, and seed the first week of june.

This will require more work, and an unsightly lawn for a couple weeks while the old fescue is dying. Hopefully this was, I can begin to establish the kind of lawn I need instead of turning it into a 2 year gradual process.

04-12-2011, 06:44 PM
On a side note? What would be a good grass to mix in with the bermuda for shady areas? I've only got a couple areas (maybe 2-3% of the total area). Would it be best to put out a little fescue in those areas in the fall? I'm planning on overseeding with ryegrass eventually. So maybe that will be the best bet to have in the shady areas. Suggestions?

Hook and Ladder
04-13-2011, 09:39 AM
How much sunlight does it get? Zoysia is good St Augustine is the best. There is a strand of St. Augustine that will be good for your area upstate. Haven't forogt about your message just extremely busy and I saw the email this morning.

Pull a soil sample first before doing anything!

04-19-2011, 06:38 PM
Just sent off my soil sample today. Results will be back in 2 weeks. Just applied Eraser to the side of the yard with all the fescue. The timing will hopefully be just right. I'm giving the grass 2 weeks to die. Then I'll have a week or so to clean everything out and amend the soil.

Should I till up and rake out the existing bermuda (200 sq. ft. section in the first picture nearest to the driveway) and reseed it all together for a more consistent look?

04-19-2011, 06:40 PM
Hook and Ladder, the yard gets a lot of sun. Practically no shade. I really like the grass at furman which I believe is bermuda. They have some sort of ridiculous breed and i'm sure mine wont look like theirs. I just really like bermuda and so does the misses. :)

1.2.3. green
04-20-2011, 07:59 PM
aerate it...aerate it then aerate it again

04-28-2011, 06:04 PM
Ok. I've killed off all of the other species of grass in my lawn. It should be totally dead in a week or so. But I need advice from those of you who are bermuda experts. I have a really good stand of bermuda that you can see in the photo. I have not applied any round up to that area. Should I till everything except that area or should I till the entire lawn including that area so that everything will have a uniform look?

Then once everything is tilled and raked out, I'm gonna seed the bermuda seed in the lawn in front of my house and the side lawn that's never seen any real grass.

04-28-2011, 06:19 PM
Also, here is another view of my lawn (sorry for the crappy blackberry quality). The spot of green close to my jeep is the bermuda. It's a pretty small percentage of the lawn. The last picture mistakenly looked like the bermuda was the majority of the lawn.

04-28-2011, 06:21 PM
Thanks for the advice 123 GREEN. I will aerate on a annual basis once the lawn is established. I was going to now, but I figured tilling everything up afterward would make the aeration a waste of money. I'm definitely going to aerate in the spring of next year.

05-03-2011, 07:44 PM
Any advice? To till up the bermuda or not?

05-04-2011, 11:02 AM

This is from a Bermuda sod farmer...never till or you'll be dealing with a lumpy mess for years.

05-24-2011, 11:34 AM
Wanted to give an update. I tilled the side lawn that had never seen grass. It was an all day job. I tilled that entire piece of the lawn then raked the entire thing to get out all of the old dead weeds. In the existing lawn, with the bermuda stand, my neighbors helped me to drag all of the old dead grass and weeds with a piece of fence with cinder blocks on top. Basically, we hooked it up behind a riding mower and dragged across the whole area, then I raked out all the old grass with a leaf rake. Afterwards, we aerated that entire lawn with a slit type aerator.

I seeded and applied a light covering of wheat straw.

That was about a week and a half ago and I'm starting to see baby bermuda emerging. Here are some pics.




Been watering about 2 times daily depending on the rain, and I'm going to put down some fertilizer in about a week or so.