fescue to bermuda transition

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by netcentric, Aug 10, 2002.

  1. netcentric

    netcentric LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I've come to the conslusion that I really don't want fescue anymore due its instability in the zone (z7 N. Alabama), high water bills, disease, and the constant creep of crabgrass and bermuda. Despite having one of the nicer fescue lawns in the neighborhood and not wanting a brown lawn in the winter, I've concluded that I want to make a transition to bermudagrass. From what I've read, Triangle is a good blend for this area and will yield good results. Questions are:

    1) Can I make a suttle transition (over the next year or 2) to bermuda by overseeding in the spring? (Note: I dug up enough bermuda to be replaced by 3 palettes of fescue this last spring and I have even more this year).

    2) Is Triangle a blend anyone can recommend?

    3) Do I need to kill off the fescue first? Or by overseeding bermuda and neglecting/abusing the fescue (reduce watering and cutting shorter), can I make a successful transition to bermuda?

    4) If I need to till it up first, what would the recommendation be for either sodding or seed or hydromulching it (.5 acres)?

    5) Can it be tilled up without trashing my sprinkler system?

    6) What soil preparation should be considered before seeding or sodding? (clay)

    Any assistance would be most appreciated. Thanks to all.
  2. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I assume the area is full sun? Bermuda doesn't handle shade very well. I would over seed with bermuda right now. Very early in the year next year I would spray the fescue out. Then as soon as it gets hot again I would overseed with bermuda again to thicken it all the way up.
  3. netcentric

    netcentric LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks. Yes most of it is in full sun. I've got a few bradford pears that are about 20 footers along the south side and 2 mature wild cherry trees on the east side of the lot but thusfar, it hasn't stopped the bermuda from creeping in around the fescue. The rest of the yard is open. Do you think I've got enough time to get the seedlings started before the first freeze? What about the seed type, any recommendations there? And, which chemical should I use to spray out the fescue? I used roundup on some crabgrass recently but it appears to have killed everything (fescue and bermuda). Any one else have a comment here? Sorry for your loss.
  4. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    You won't need to till it or kill off the fescue. When you're ready to plant, just take your mower and set the blades as absolutley low as they will go and buzz the fescue down to the nubs. As I understand, unlike fescue, you don't need to topdress bermuda. It germinates better if exposed to direct sunlight. So aerate to loosen the soil and go for it. I've found that because bermuda seed is so tiny, I mix it with lime in order to get a better pattern with my spreader. Otherwise, it just falls through even when the spreader is completely closed.

    There is something you need to know about bermuda. If you take a handful of bermuda seed, throw it on the lawn and walk away, in time, you'll have an entire yard full of bermuda. (Except the really shady areas....ok.)

    When you're making this transition, don't sweat it. Leave the fescue there so you have some green but don't worry about the rest.

    Hoss is right, though. I'd also spray out the fescue in the late spring, IF I was looking for a uniform look NEXT YEAR. If you don't spray out the fescue, it just takes longer but it WILL take anyway.

    Let's face it. This is why, in our southern climate, fairways and athletic fields are bermuda. The stuff is tough as can be, wonderful on bare feet, survives droughts like nothing else (ok, it can brown out, but give it a little bitty bit of rain and it bounces right back) and will eventually choke out the fescue, weeds and everything else. It's easy to take care of. Personally I love the stuff. It keeps me mowing way into a dry spell.

    A lot of people really hate it! In many circles, it's considered a weed. But start looking at the ones who are the most vocal about how bad it is, and you'll see some commonalities. Virtually none of the complainers are in the business, no pros. They're old people who had to fight it when the tools weren't available and they haven't become aware of all the new tecniques available for keeping it manicured.

    Therefore, if you plan on going all bermuda, learn about pre-emergents for your mulch beds, soil sterilants for your asphalt/gravel driveway and plan on keeping Round Up around for the cracks in the sidewalks. If you don't like the winter brown out, go to Lesco and get some turf dye or overseed in fall with annual rye.

    Last but not least, enjoy.

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