Bermuda grow in - opinions needed

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by ThreeWide, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Would like some opinions from the group on a Bermuda grow-in project. This is being established from seed. Seed germination has been rough due to a lot of factors, one of which was constant torrential rainfall. Some coverage has been established, but not near enough. Soil condition here is poor, so I anticipated this project would not be easy.

    Here is a picture of where it stands as of August 14. Click the thumbnail for the full photo.


    Fertilizer has been applied on about 10-day intervals since the seed initially germinated. Here is what has been applied thus far:

    • 18-24-12 (twice)
    • 19-19-19 (twice)
    • 46-0-0 (multiple times)
    • 28-5-12
    • 39-0-0 SCU
    • Bolster stimulant

    You can see huge bare areas in the photos where the Bermuda has yet to spread or germinate. Some of the other junk you see in the photo are sparse areas of ryegrass that somehow survived the heat and chemicals, and some crabgrass as well. You can only spray so much Drive without going broke.

    16 inches of rain has fallen since July 1, so moisture has been abundant. It has also been irrigated from time to time during dry periods.

    Based on our traditional climate, I only have about 4 good growing weeks left to get as much coverage as possible. If this was your situation, what would you do? Aside from sodding the bare spots, any other action is possible. Sod is just too costly. Whatever might get it done, liquid or granular, is within my means to apply. My assumption is that 46-0-0 is about as good as it gets.

    Do I have a chance in heck of getting this to grow in before the soil temps cool off?

    If I had this to do over again, several things would have been done differently. Just have to work with the situation as it is now.
  2. excel25

    excel25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    Have you done a soil sample ??
  3. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Soil sample was done late last year, so the pH situation is good and the correct actions were already taken with regards to P and K.
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I have done very few seed planting jobs, so what I say might not be the best advice.

    I believe lack of drainage has caused some root rot and germinated seed to die. The area looks Flat and like it is prone to standing water. If this is the case maybe some quick drenches could eliminate that problem. Bermuda has a high demand for water and after establishment many soak up that poor drainage problem. I want to believe you have Clay soil which has infiltration issues to start with.

    I also feel over fertilization can be a problem with any start. Bermuda has a high salt tolerant, but immature plants will always be more susceptible than mature ones. The TDS can measured with a PPM meter or by a EC meter right from the standing water.
  5. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Situation is quite the contrary.

    Although you cannot determine from the photo, the area is gradually sloped. There isn't much flatland at all here in North Georgia. We never see standing water on our property, but the problem actually has been keeping the seed from washing out before it germinates. We've had constant torrential rains this Summer, which is one of the reasons for spotty germination.

    And I do indeed have clay soil, so compaction is always a concern.
  6. TMarch

    TMarch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    All your rain and lack of sunlight has made it difficult to grow in bermuda this year. Looks like you got a pretty good stand to work with and you can make a lot happen in a few weeks. I've seen an athletic field seeded in zone 5 on Aug. 18th with 100% cover before winter last year. Not sure of your budget but I would pull cores (get some air in there), overseed the holes, hit it with 1lb N/M per week with ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 and hope for good weather.
  7. br1dge

    br1dge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I would think less N more P. Without seeing it is hard to judge, but I would think you are looking for more root growth. Triple phosphate or something in the range of 0-52-0 may give it a boost, especially if you decide to seed again. I know it is late, but it is very possible to still get a stand in before frost.. The P will help enormously. jeff
  8. DR. Lawns

    DR. Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Have you ever thought to let the grass grow tall first. Bermuda grass grows by sending out stolens. The bermuda must be allowed to grow almost 4 inches tall when first growing from seed to allow for thickening. Remember that you should almost be treating this like sod. You might also try pulling some of the other bermuda apart and use those for plugs.
    Good Luck
  9. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    FWIW, I got some input from one of Georgia's more prominent sod farmers.

    He suggested pushing the envelope with N by applying 1#/M twice per week until the second week of September, and mow at 3/4 inch.

    I may not quite go that strong with the N, but at least 1# per week.
  10. Pro Lawn LLC

    Pro Lawn LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Speaking as a veteran golf course superintendent of 15 + year and having successfully grown in several courses, I must say I agree with TMarch and your local sod grower. You can push your bermudagrass every 5-7 days with 1 lb N/1000 from 21-0-0 (ammonium sulfate). You can safely do this for 3 consecutive weeks. Also try slicing - any cultivation that cuts the stolon in the internodal region will stimulate meristimatic activity and encourage the plant to exude naturally occurring plant growth hormones. Be careful to harden off your bermudagrass prior to dormancy with reduced nitrogen and a good K application. Best of luck!

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