Seeding common Bermuda

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by Landscape Poet, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    I have a client that has several rental properties. This properties are geared to make a profit and not win any awards for lawn of the month. One of his properties is essentially all crabgrass and is going to die off I would assume with the first freeze.

    Again cost is a concern so doing any kind of sod is out of the price range. Rye would offer a temp solution and would be cost effective as it can simply be overseeded and very little prep is actually needed.

    So what I was thinking if this would work is the following. Overseed with Rye now to get something that will be there when the CG dies out during the freeze. This stops the HOA from giving him fines. Cheap and cost effective.

    Then as the spring comes and the soil temps are correct - overseeding with common bermuda while the rye is still thick and lush and give the bermuda a place to be held until germination has occured.

    I figured at that point - given the aggressive nature of bermuda - if it has even taken in a patchy form - hitting it with a good shot of High N fert in the spring will get it spreading and growing like crazy.

    I have to admit that is a perfect world - raking and prepping the soil would be better to get the bermuda to take and the lawn to establish better - but we are not talking in a perfect world - we are talking in the rental world - were profit is all that matters.

    Your guys thoughts? I have very little experience trying to seed any of our southern turf grasses and have never attempted to overseed bermuda. What is the likely hood of this happening well enough to establish a good utility turf lawn for the rental home?

    Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Your plan should work but be sure to tell your customer to account for a Fertilizer and Herbicide service. Crab Grass being a annual will grow faster than the Bermuda. Bermuda is a Nitrogen and water Hog. Water and Nitrogen make Crass grass grow faster.

    But the good thing is, There are several Cheaper Herbicides for Bermuda
  3. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    I will try Ric...but the way he sees it, that is lost profit. On the few rentals I have with him ...there is no extras...ever. I figured as aggressive as Bermuda can will give the best chance with just a regular fert as it has taken over good stands on some other rentals we do that get nothing but regular water....again not the idea lawn but it is a lawn of turf that holds up well to rental conditions.
  4. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,200

    I hate cheap profit only guys. You end up mowing dust bowls and non fert and irrigated lawns.Most pay late ect. Even though you have a hard freeze I dont think crab grass is completly dead. It may just look dead. Most Bermuda will only germinate in late spring and even then it will take some time to fill in. By then the crab grass is nice and green again . Rye will probably be best to keep the HOA away until the lovely crab grass kicks back in. You will just have to mow it more often . Good luck.
  5. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    I can not blame the guy - profit is what it is all about in any business venture. As far as paying, I have worked for him for three years and his check is always one of the first ones in as he has it set up on auto pay for all his accounts and the check is generally here on or slightly before the 1st of the month.

    I am just interested in this and how it will come out. Having never even attempting to seed properly Bermuda, let alone just overseeding I wanted to hear from others their success or failures in doing so. On this property anything will be a improvement as it is literally 90% crabgrass at this point. If I can get 30% of the lawn filled in this year and get it to grow another 20% the next year with just straight fert - I will be happy as I know I am limited in what I will be able to get this guy to fork over. I figure mowing over sh8tty common bermuda has to be better than mowing over great crabgrass any day. :clapping:
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Bermuda was one time only considered a Weed in Homeowner yard in my area. Yet all over the South It is a Popular turf grass. Because Bahia does very poorly in my area's Alkaline soil, Bermuda Seed is now the Economic replacement grass for those failed Bahia lawns. In a down turned economy a wise businessman might want to look at the "So Called" ""Lesser Markets"". I know everyone claims to do nothing but top quality work. But Business is about making money and their is money in other markets besides Fine Irrigated Lawns.

    Talking with a 30 year veteran of the green industry, BTW a man who has done the Top Quality landscape designs and installs etc. We both agreed we can now make more money with less hassle from doing blow and go type work. I don't regret doing Fine Lawns, but if I had it to do over again I would have gotten into blow & go type work a long time ago. In my case as a Pest Control guy Blow & Go work is Straight Fire Ant kill will out all the hassle of tree huggers about Fertilizer or Herbicides.

  7. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,471

    The rye grass will work to get you through the winter and HOA.

    But if you think you will get a half decent germination and cover by just throwing bermuda seed out when the temps warm up you are probably wrong, at least from my experiences. My own lawn is common bermuda and can be made to look top notch if I choose.

    Bermuda is the cheapest and easiest warm season grass to establish but it will require a fair amount of input at least to get it established. You will need to kill or cut low the rye when the timing gets right and do something the get a decent soil to seed contact with the bermuda. Don't know what your rain is like but without consistent moisture you may have little success. There will be need to be some herb apps as bermuda does not block out weed very well. Once it is established it is hardy and somewhat easy to maintain but in reality it is not a something for nothing grass the owner is wishing for.
  8. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    I have tried seeding many of my crappy lawns with Bermuda on my dime just to cut down on soft spots and sand flying around and haven't had much success. I just started using Bahia instead. It sucks to cut of course but I'll take it over sand any day. Have you tried planting any rye yet? I just had a customer ask me about it today so I was going to call around and get some prices and hopefully be able to do my backyard with it too.
  9. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Thanks for your input. Cutting the Rye short should not be a issue that time as I will be hoping it will die out. The Moisture can be controlled as the lawn does have irrigation. The Herbicide applications I really doubt will happen as it is unlikely the owner will pay someone for it, but I can hope.
  10. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    I have not put the rye down yet this year on anyone. The temps are getting better for it IMHO as you want it in the very low 80's or below I think.
    Did one last year that turned out very very well, cinch bug damage in the front in spots, HOA was on the home owner who could not afford to resod at the time. did whole lawn in rye overseed to keep HOA off their back. Looked real nice all winter will into early spring. I did one really really heavy for this reason and not only did it look good for the winter and spring but by summer the cinch bug spots has grown in enough that they were not really easy to notice from a roadside view of the property so no more HOA issues.

    If you have a nice back lawn I do recommend going sparse on overseeding as it does stick around during our spring time and competes with your SA for all the inputs you put in. Good temp cover for several months out of the year however and it very cost effective for the quality you can get by simply overseeding with a broadcast spreader.

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