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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to help out my Dad and his issues with his Bermuda lawn. It's not growing in tight and he has some spots that look like it's losing a battle with NC heat despite regular watering. I had him start mowing a little shorter, and it has helped a little, but it's not coming in thick.

Anyone use a growth inhibiter/regulator to tighten up a generic Bermuda lawn with success? He's looking for that fairway look, without being as short a cut as a fairway if that makes sense.
 

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I don't put TNexx down until the lawn looks pretty close to perfect and I want to keep it there without cutting 2x a week. What height is the cut?

If its not filling in, I would not put PGR down, I'd fertilize it, or figure out why it wasn't filling in with a soil test.
 

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If NC has been as short of rainfall as DFW, it's not going to help at all and may even hurt. Like the advice above ... lots of water is the cure right now. And it takes a LOT of water once Bermuda gets stressed. What is "regular" watering? Unless it is getting close to an inch a week it's not going to do anything for it, and it needs to be done in 2-3 sessions. Stretching 1" out over 4-5 days isn't what you want. And an irrigation system can be deceiving just to the eye. It may look like a lot but unless you actually measure it you'll never know. He can use anything to check the volume. I've used dog food cans, tuna cans, etc when a rain gauge isn't handy. And the shorter cut actually hurts it when lack of water is the problem. It allows the soil to dry out faster. Is the grass greener 1-2 feet from the irrigation heads? If so ... water is most of the problem.

Cut it a bit higher than normal and throw the water to it. He can cut it back little by little when it isn't stressed so much. My Bermuda was pristine and looked fantastic last year. This year it looks terrible. Lack of rain and 100* temps make it hard to manage.
 

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I agree it would be easier to use water as a growth promoter in those areas that need it.
You'll likely have to get high tech here...

In terms of watering itself, length of exposure is critical...
It does little to no good to water twice a day for 10-15 minutes at a time.
That's regardless of hose or irrigation system, the exposure isn't enough for the water to seep down into the soil to reach the roots, for that to happen water needs to seep...

If on a hose it makes a lot more sense to dump a 2-3 hour long watering session once a week.
To achieve this they sell inline hose timers that look like a kitchen timer, hook it up inline with the hose, set it to max (usually 2 or 3 hours), turn the water on and walk away... The advantage here is that you don't forget to turn it off, you still may want to turn it off at the faucet at some point that day as it might drip quite a bit but the inline water timer will help you from inadvertently leaving the water running for 20 or so hours...

Here's what a 2-hour timer looks like:

Measuring instrument Gas Cylinder Gauge Circle


One of those drip irrigation hoses might work, but it can be a pita to set this up.

For an irrigation system, I'd say set the corresponding zone(s) to 30-45 minutes...
On most controllers you could run back-to-back 20 minute sessions by using Program A + Program B but that can get tricky, probably best to use the KISS principle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't put TNexx down until the lawn looks pretty close to perfect and I want to keep it there without cutting 2x a week. What height is the cut?

If its not filling in, I would not put PGR down, I'd fertilize it, or figure out why it wasn't filling in with a soil test.
He cuts twice a week on avg normally. 1.5-2" if I were to guess. ....Puts down some Scotts weed n feed every couple of years. Zero weeds, just isn't growing in thick. His watering habits may need some attention as he only waters when he "feels the grass needs it." Which may be the problem....????

Like mouse mentioned, I may have to verify his watering habits

But does anyone use a growth inhibitor, will it tighten up to fairway Bermuda???
 

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He cuts twice a week on avg normally. 1.5-2" if I were to guess. ....Puts down some Scotts weed n feed every couple of years. Zero weeds, just isn't growing in thick. His watering habits may need some attention as he only waters when he "feels the grass needs it." Which may be the problem....????

Like mouse mentioned, I may have to verify his watering habits

But does anyone use a growth inhibitor, will it tighten up to fairway Bermuda???
I use it every summer, depending on product, it inhibits the plant hormone that causes most vertical growth. It doesn't stop vertical growth, so instead of 1-2" a week in 90+ temps, more like 0.5" a week. It does put more energy into horizontal growth vs vertical, but this is still lessened. Once the bermuda fills any blank areas, then it can tighten, but expecting a PGR to force it to tighten and thicken against an unknown problem is a false hope.

You use PGR to make it hold that energy and not grow out any Iron you put into the fert, so it stays darker green longer under PGR than without, particularly under drought conditions when you know it won't get watered enough. PGR helps keep it looking great once its healthy, it does not make it so.

Bermuda needs 0.5-1lb N/1000 every 6-8 weeks, some Scotts fert every few years is nowhere near what it wants. You need to continously feed it N and K, K does help fill in blank areas a bit more, and is particularly necessary for plant health in summer drought.

1.5-2" is right where it should be, I might raise to 2" if not watered enough, but no further. It thins out more when cut tall, counterintuitively.

See to it that he's watering enough, 1" a week minimum, preferably a couple long duration (20-30 min) runs early in the AM. Feed the grass, it'll fill in. Then put down PGR AFTER its where he wants it, and then you can cut back cutting to once a week.
 

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I know people say you can use a PGR to make the grass spread, and it will. It will also leave yellow or discolored spots if you do it wrong. If you spent the same money on water and manure you would be better off.

Key to Bermuda is manure, heat and water.
Bermuda loves poop. Don't ask me why. Cow, chicken, horse or human, it doesn't matter.

I use

I have turned thin common Bermuda lawns into dense, thick green lawns.

Start with the ph, make sure it around 6.5.

Next, spoon feed the poop to it.

Next 1 inch of water a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Just to preface, I'm in SC and my folks live in NC. I just got off the phone with him and had him take some pics.....Last year his grass looked good....It had a little 1' spot initially in the front but generally looked decent all around.

He's tried the overwatering approach on the zone(s) of the areas that look like **** now.

The backyard was always pretty good, now looks like this:

Plant Grass Land lot Groundcover Plain


Front yard (fungus?):

Plant Property Building Sky Cloud


Side yard still holding up for now:

Plant Window Tree Road surface Flooring


Now that my Dad sent me pics and chatting about what he's tried, I can see more of what's been going on. Looking like a fungus as far as I can tell. His watering was good, sprinkler heads all good, even watering in all zones unless he turned on the extra for the spots above.

Thanks for any and all replies!

Edit: He mentioned his Bermuda was a hybrid -401 or -419 or something of that sort. I have no idea what he had put in. But maybe this helps to give more info.

Edit #2: He's had a chemical guy treating it the past two years. And I responded, "talk to the chem guy, he SHOULD KNOW!"
 

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Tif419 is a typical hybrid, same advice applies, it actually wants more fert than common bermuda to look its best, prefers shorter mowing, touch more sensitive to post-emergent herbicides in some cases. Thats not the issue here.

Yes the chemical guy should have seen it and done something about it, or he needs to be fired. I've seen it look like that early in a season when winter damage has occurred, or when way too much Pre was applied, still seems like its worse in front there than when I've seen that.

I'd agree this is probably a disease or fungal this late in the year, and no PGR isn't going to help this at all. We'd need to see very up close pics of the blades to properly diagnose. It would not hurt to apply a spray of Propicanizole (fungal) along with Grub-Ex & Bifenthrin (bugs & grubs) to be safe, and I'd absolutely hammer it with fertilizer, probably 1.5-2lbs N/1000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Can't tell from the pics, but is it small enough pellets to spread with a spreader or does it have to be broadcast by hand?
[/Q
It's dry brown pellets about size of non organic fertilizer.
I think
Going to try some of this stuff on my personal lawn next week. Everything I've read makes it sound good. Thanks (y) for mentioning it.
I think I will try some too! Even though my grass is St Aug and centipede mix....I like the idea of using poop as fertilizer.
 
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