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What's the best way to overseed Bermuda?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by FIRESCOOBY, Apr 15, 2007.


    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    As the title says, what is the best technique for overseeding bermuda?

    I was thinking of two different techniques, but they may both be bad.

    1 - Spread the seed, then follow with sand in the broadcast spreader to cover the seed slightly.

    2 - Mix the bermuda seed and sand together in the spreader and broadcast.

    Please give me any ideas here.

  2. Nik_Danger

    Nik_Danger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Before you do this make sure that the soil is consistently at or above 70 degrees. This will help ensure that the seed germinates and doesn't just turn to bird seed. This factoid is coming from a horticulture professor at Texas A&M University.

    1. Scalp the lawn on the lowest setting your mower has. Probably one inch. Bag the clippings, you are trying to remove as much matter between the existing grass plants and the soil as possible.
    2. Rake the remaining thatch "everything that is dead or in between the current green grass plants" out of the yard. You can use a power rake or a core aerator to open up even more areas of exposed soil. Don't purposely try to destroy the living grass plants that are there...but don't be overly protective of them either. Remember that if you do rake out any living grass plants you are only opening up space for the new seedlings to thrive =) Remove everything from the lawn except living grass plants. It should look like soil with green grass only and nothing beneath. Get all the thatch out.
    3. Now is where objective procedure comes in. You can either put down an organic mulch as a seed bed or you can just spread the seeds directly onto the existing soil. Either will work and if you have been maintaining that yard for a while and fertilizing you probably have a sufficient seed bed. REMEMBER! YOU MUST SPREAD THE SEEDS DIRECTLY ONTO THE SOIL! This doesn't pertain to the existing grass that is there but when you start to spread the seed it has to land in between all the little grass plants on the SOIL...not the thatch layer. So do yourself a favor and remove as much as possible. Seeds WILL NOT germinate unless they are in the soil.
    4. You can either run a roller over them, lightly rake them into the soil "I prefer this method" or spread a thin layer of topsoil over them. By thin I mean between 1/8th inch to 1/4 inch. It is imperative that no more than 1/4 inch of soil be above the seedlings.
    5. Lightly water just enough to keep the soil moist. Not a full watering but just enough to keep things damp. You will probably have to water 2 or 3 times a day to keep an equilibrium. Do it and things will work, don't do it and you wasted your time ;-) As soon as the soil gets dry, you messed up. If it is you or a customer make sure that they understand that the soil containing the seeds must stay moist!

    Depending on what kind of Bermuda cultivar you purchased and whether you bought hulled or unhulled seed you will notice a different germination period. Anywhere between 7 to 20 days and you should notice seedlings emerging. It takes more time for hulled seeds to germinate but they are more hearty with the protective sheath. DO NOT MOW until the new grass plants are at the desired mowing height. Depending on the soil temps you may need to wait for spring to unfold a little more before you plant your seeds. Don't do it unless the soil is consistently at 70 degrees F. Your seeds will germinate much faster and you will have a much higher success rate. If you have any other questions let me know. I am currently about to over-seed two common Bermuda lawns with Triangle variant. If I screw up I will loose good customers so I have researched this very much. This is the procedure that everyone tells me to follow. I have done less in the past and had ok results, but when you spend the green to have a nice hybrid Bermuda lawn you have to put in the effort. Let me know either way :usflag:
  3. Nik_Danger

    Nik_Danger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    you can also google "overseeding" and get plenty of info. Just make sure you aren't reading about overseeding for winter cold season grasses. It is the same procedure...but you aren't doing that so you might as well read about what your particular application is!:weightlifter:
  4. Nathan Robinson

    Nathan Robinson LawnSite Senior Member
    from 47712
    Posts: 317

    just aerate and overseed. Dont scalp nothing at all. Bermuda will smother out all other grasses. Bermuda doesnt need much fert. 1 lb. of nitrogen per k per year. Thats all. Bermuda wil grow in the most fertil defecient areas
  5. Nik_Danger

    Nik_Danger LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    yeah it will smother out the seedlings too. By scalping the yard you are allowing the seedlings to receive light. You also scalp so it is easier to remove the thatch. Seeds will not grow on thatch...you will waste your money if you don't remove it. Bermuda will grow just about anywhere and is considered a weed out of the lawn...assuming it germinated in the soil.

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