transitioning common bermuda to an improved variety

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by lilmarvin4064, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    how do you do it?

    I live in the transition zone, and most of my expertise is in cool-season grass. My buddy has a lawn with full sun, close to good sized river, so the soil is a little sandy, but still mostly clay (like everything else around here). Most of the lawn is common bermuda which completely takes off and flourishes in the summer. I told him he should just not try to fight it.

    I just aerated and overseeded it with some perennial rye so he can have some green this winter, plus I'm also considering painting it once it goes dormant. I ralso ecommended he plant an improved variety next late-spring/early summer.

    I'm guessing mid-May would be a good time to plant, right?

    Is it possible to keep the common bermuda under control enough to plant an improved variety? any experience, suggestions?

    Is this even worth considering?

    oh, and yes I know how to suppress bermuda chemically (glyfosate, triclopyr, fluazifop-p-butyl, fenoxaprop-p-ethy, ethofumesate, et. al.).
  2. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Improved variety bermuda seed is expensive and most have a 15-20 day germination period, also night time temps need to be above 65. Hope he has a sprinkler system and a small area. You might try a growth regulator on the bermuda next spring if you decide to go ahead. If you can get the improved variety to take you will need to keep it cut short (3/8-5/8) to keep the bermuda down and weak and eventually gone. That will probably require a reel mower and a relativly smooth area. You may be better off killing the bermuda and sodding either way its not going to be cheap and easy. Fertilize the bermuda and topdress it and cut it short it will look great. I can go 4-5 days between watering here in Phx. in the summer when its 110+. I come across many lawns here that were originally tiffway or tiffgreen that other maintenance contractors have cut with rotary mowers at 1" + and the common has creeped in. The only way to get rid of it is to mow low and frequently, but it can be done.
  3. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    thanks for your help.

    yeah, I knew the seed was expensive. He has an area of no more than 3000 sq. ft. probably more like 2000.

    I recently came back from the beach (vacation) a few hours south of me, and the most beautiful lawns looked like what I thought was improved bermuda; very fine, mowed short, dark green. I guess that's the best option around there due to the sandy soil and high salinity. The biggest problem seemed to be lots of nutsedge and uneven mowing.

    Do you recommend using any supressing herbicides like acclaim, or should I just try the growth regulators. Timing?

    The common bermuda around here tends to green up in the beginning of May or so and goes dormant around Mid Oct.
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Any thing that will kill the bermuda will also kill the improved varieties too.. My thought is the regulators will only hit the bermuda leaves because the improved varieties will be so small. when its hot and you are watering enough to keep the seed moist you could probably watch the bermuda grow. You might have more success killing off the majority of the bermuda then coming back in with seed or sod and deal with the smaller % of bermud you are not able to completely kill.
  5. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Interesting thread here.....

    I seeded Riviera Bermuda in my lawn this year. It is indeed challenging to grow bermuda from seed, especially if you are without irrigation. There was some common Bermuda already in my lawn to some degree.

    First of all, you should spray out the Ryegrass next Spring to avoid competition with the new seed. I would suggest verticutting the exsiting Bermuda because any existing thatch will not allow the seed to make soil contact. Seed-to-soil contact is critical with Bermuda. Avoid any Nitrogen fertilization to keep the common Bermuda at bay as long as possible.

    Riviera (and other improved types) are very agressive in growth, so if you mow it low with a reel it would eventually take over the common Bermuda. Keep in mind that common does not perform well at the lower heights anyway.

    After the Riviera germinates, it can be fertilized every 10 days or so with Ammonium Sulfate or equivalent product with free Nitrogen. Be prepared to mow every 2-3 days during the grow in period.

    I have a picture of some of the Riviera seeded earlier this year. Mine was mowed with a rotary at 1.5 inches.

    <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" /></a>
  6. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116 could also consider using Glyphosate just prior to seeding. This would certainly set back the common for quite some time. Glyphosate would not interfere with your seeding process.

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