Torching Bermuda Lawns

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by TotalCareSolutions, Mar 26, 2003.

  1. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    Anyone have experience burning a Bermuda Sod Lawn? Ive seen it done and the results seem incredible when the Lawn comes out of hibernation.
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    My dad says they used to do it a lot in the old days, and I vaguely recall seeing it done as a child. But as a fellow resident of Atlanta, I would say please don't add any more particulate pollution, it gets smoggy enough as it is. Besides, it's illegal to have open fires in most areas around here, and at the very least you'll tick off the neighbors.
  3. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    Thanks Bruce,
    I hear you on that 'particulate pollution'.

    Anyone else have experience burning a Bermuda Sod lawn?
  4. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    I once dethatched a bermuda lawn. Set the mower down as low it will go and use a dethatching blade. Sometimes these are called scalping blades too.

    Basically, it's just a steel spring on either end of the blade with a sibgle prong that drags along the ground as the blade spins around. Very dusty work.

    But when the Bermuda starts to green up, the lawn looks outstanding.

    I wouldn't recommend doing this, though. I just don't think you can get paid enough, especially if you bag or otherwise remove the clippings. I would think if you didn't remove the clippings, it just wouldn't look as good. Doubt many home owners would be willing to pay for that much work.

    DFW, TX
  5. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

  6. onemancrew

    onemancrew LawnSite Member
    from tn. #7
    Posts: 95

    Have seen my neighbor do it. It does work well.
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    It's a fairly common practice here. They hose down the parimeter and light it up. The results are good.

    I caution you though because I have seen a few of these fires get violent and out of hand. Dry dormant grass and a gentle breeze is all it takes. Plus you would be really surprised how big the fire can get.

    A few years ago I was doing some work around new construction home when a homeowner just up the street piled some old leaves in the ditch line. He set them on fire to intentionally burn the Bermuda in his empty adjoining lot. The Bermuda burned slowly and safely for a while. Then a little breeze came along. Next thing I knew there were 4 ft + flames rolling off it and was spreading really fast.

    I dropped what I was doing and stepped in to help the guy control the blaze. Within a minute it was totally out of control and was clearly a job for the Fire Department. We were only able to do so much to contain it.

    It was quickly across the property lines and on it's way to the brand new home I was working around. Luckily the side of the house that the fire reached first had not been back filled yet. Between the two of us and a very large trench [__ around the house, we were able to spare the house.

    The Fire Department arrived in time to relieve us from our positions before it got further out of control.

  8. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 518

    Thank you Envy
  9. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    About dethatching....yesterday I saw another example of why I'm glad I sold my dethatcher. A guy was doing a fairly small couple of lawns in a neighborhood, but he had a walker ghs so that was good for him. He did not look happy. His could dump on his trailer, which was good, but these two small lawns had completely filled it and he still wasn't done. What a dirty dusty nightmare.

    I also would advise against waiting to "scalp" bermuda all at once in the Springtime. Take the dormant stems down a half inch at a time, a little in the fall, and a little in the spring before greenup, to keep the amount of clippings manageable.

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