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I want to kill bermuda grass and replace it with tall fescue

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by CRJCAPT, Jan 15, 2005.


    CRJCAPT LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 2

    I am replacing 10 year old Bermuda grass with tall fescue sod. What does it take to kill the Bermuda? Some have suggested removing a layer of soil and replace it with new dirt. That sounds rather expensive. Removing and replacing approx. 12,000 SQ. FT. Whats the best time of year to do so? Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks a lot in advance.
  2. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    you will have to wait until it greens up in the spring.
    wait until the third mowing and spray with either a glyphosate (roundup) or you can use fusilade, or vantage.

    i would go with roundup, it will be much less expensive. also buy it in a large commercial size from a landscape supplier, NOT lowe's, etc...

    wait two weeks and spray again any spots that are growing.

    also do not mow the grass for several days before you spray. roundup HAS to enter through a leaf. the more leaf area, the more roundup will enter the root system.
  3. I ended up fumigating it! Roundup made it sick, very sick, but it came back!

    I took a new job, inherident a rebuilt green that was seed too late in fall to creeping bent. We reseeded in April, had spotty germination, doing well, about to open green for play, when we discovered COMMON bermunda growing. We applied roundaup with a paint brush on individual bermunda plants, several times, but it came back! Come to find out, the greens mix was stockpiled in front of green, turf was a mixture of cool season and bermunda!

    The weakest time for bermunda is when breaking dormancy!
    what about ornomec and roundup?
  4. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963


    Good luck! I had a berm. yard in amarillo, TX that I converted to fescue and it was a job. This was before I was into lawn care and my own house but it was a couple year job. I sprayed roundup after a weeks worth of growth (as much leaf as possible as stated above), waited a week then rototilled the whole yard. Let it set for a week and hit anything still looking alive. Rototilled again then planted and put down a good fert. (12-12-12 maybe) to help with the root growth. What sucked is the stuff still tried to come back and its something you will have to stay on top of. My neighbors also has berm. on both sides. Good luck. I think you could water with gas and you still would not kill it all off.
  5. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 1,796

    Bermuda has both rhyzomes and stolons so it is tough to get rid of. Round Up Pro even will take several applications. Here people kill it off to install desert lawns. It almost always survives though. Most of what we have is seeded types and the seed will blow in from other yards all the time. Soil removal will not get it either. The water department has found roots going down several feet on occcasions according to a city representative and Dr. Kopec at the U of A Karsten turfgrass research facility. COntact your local extension and get their veiw on how to get rid of it. If it is healthy and you can get a full lawn out of it, it will probably be less costly to just accept it and make a nice lawn out of it.
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Bermuda is going to take several applications of roundup to get rid of. My suggestion is to wait until mid summer. Apply roundup and wait for it to turn brown. Till and water the soil to encourage the bermuda to come back as some will come back from seed and some from roots. Roundup with a second application. Wait 2 weeks to see if any additional bermuda returns. You may have to repeat the roundup and watering cycles several time to completely erradicate the bermuda. Once you are sure that no Bermuda is left you can then lay your sod with minimal disturbance of the soil. If you rake or till the soil again before laying sod you will bring additional bermuda seed to the surface and have to start all over again. Some will spray and till several times before prepeing for sod. The only reason to wait for mid summer to start the renovation is so that you will be killing the bermuda during its growing season and laying fescue at the start of its main growing season when the bermuda will be going dormant. By spring you should have a good stand of established fescue tht will be harder for the bermuda to compete against. Once the fescue is established use a tall mowing height to further discourage the bermuda.
  7. Just get it fumiged!
  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    A lot of good people here, giving some not so good advise.


    You have to look at the whole process of the grow in and maintenance of a Fescue lawn to get rid of Bermuda. Yes Roundup will only suppress Bermuda and it takes several application at a high Active ingredient rate to do that. Universities recommend A combination of High Rate Roundup and Fusilade applied 3 to 4 time, two weeks apart during the growing season to control it.

    Now you also must understand Fusilade is a selective herbicide for Bermuda on Fescue. To my knowledge there is no other turf other than Fescue that Bermuda can be selectively controlled. Therefore you have made a excellence choice in selecting Fescue to replace Bermuda.

    Therefore Kill out you Bermuda several times with The combination of Roundup and Fusilade and wait a minim of 7 day or more days, to plant Fescue. Yes you will get Bermuda regrowth. But this can be controlled with Fusilade alone. But Under stand that Fusilade is not totally without harm to the Fescue. It does have a residual that depends on the Chemical holding ability of you soil (CEC). This may cause that area to need reseeding. First season you should get a nice stand. But not until the second season will you have a rich turf.

    BTW you will still have many Bermuda seeds in you lawn that will germinate over the next few years.


    Fumigation is out of the question for a home owner. Golf Courses Have both the budget and location for it. Yes it is the best way to go.
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    fusilade and vantage are the same, so if he can't fing fusilade, vantage will do the trick.

    They are both labled for centipede as well. I don't work with ANY fescue at all, and was unaware of the labeling for fescue.

    we use vantage to control our 419 in beds and on zoysia and centipede lawns ( oops, it's also labled for some zoysia.'s (at least vantage is))
  10. TotalCareSolutions

    TotalCareSolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    -Your Bermuda should be dormant now.
    -Rent a large dumster ($100?)
    -Rent a Skid Steer ($250?), it won't take you long get used to.
    -Scrape it off to one side or go ahead and put it in the dumster
    -Order a couple dumps of dirt and top soil mixed for the afternoon.
    -Spread the dirt w the tractor
    -Have everything picked up and finish grade w a rake
    -Overseed in spring and then again in the fall

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