Weeds & Aeration in Bermuda

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by khutch, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. khutch

    khutch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    Just picked up a very large HOA common ground area, bermuda with some areas much heavier with weeds (clover, oxalis, of course some crabgrass) than others. Turf condiation is fair to pretty good. I'd rather wait until fall to attack the weeds, but I feel I've got to clear out some of those areas to encourage bermuda growth. Still got to get a soil test, but I would like to a good core aeration ASAP. What's the theories about aeration and the spread of weeds in those areas that are pretty heavily infested?
    Also, I haven't had much experience w/bermuda....what is the best solutions to encourge it to spread?
  2. bluemoon

    bluemoon LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 114

    JMO, which most don't find valuable.
    I have a bermuda yard personally, and take of several others.
    I'm not a beleiver in soil tests, they are slow, and I have never met anyone residential or commercial willing to amend soil. Most folks want quick results.
    What has and always works is mowing 1.5 inches to 2.0 inches if you are mowing with rotary. If you have a reel mow at 1.0.
    Water, water, water, water.
    Lastly fertilize. I once met a golf super who told me that bermuda loves nitrogen.
    Of all the things I've said I believe the most in mowing low ( stimulates growth) and lots of water.
    I've found on my yard I only have weed problems where the bermuda is the thinnest.
    I believe if I had a reel mower and could mow at 1.0 I could make my whole yard look like a golf green.
    This stuff gets so thick and lush it chokes out weeds just like zoysia.
    Basically mow low , water and give it some N.
    good luck
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,968


    I am sorry sir but you have it all back wards. Actually Bermuda is very hardy and you can kill weeds now to eliminate the competition and increase the spread of Bermuda, try Drive 75 to kill the crabgrass and other weeds. A soil test is the only way to know for sure what is the best management practice. The days of grandpa holding a finger up and smelling the wind is over. we now have science. As far as cutting height goes, the shorter you cut it the more you stress it. Cut it high as you can get away with. More blades to product food from the sun, the better it grows. Golf Courses spend fortunes on Chemicals because member want to play on a fast rolling surface to improve scores. Because they cut it as low as .06 they must really treat it heavy. Grass in nature grows much taller than we keep it.

    Hollow core aeration is great for any plant it opens the void spaces in the soil and allows both water and air to infiltrate to the roots. Roots also grow in these void spaces. This the same theory of why Farmer once plowed there fields. Today No-Till methods are used to stop erosions.

    Because the soil about Atlanta is made up of a lot of clay you might want to consider Sand top dressing after aeration.

    Yes Bermuda does like a lot of Nitrogen but it also needs all the elements. Get a soil sample and follow the Laboratory's advice.
  4. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    Like has been said cut it low (never over 2"), lots of water, 1lb of nitrogen/month in the growing season, and use post emergent for weeds. Drive is good for grassy weeds and some broadleafs. Speedzone is good for a wider variety of broadleafs.
  5. khutch

    khutch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    Well, that's 2 for cut in low, 1 for cut in high........
  6. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    we should clarify the type of bermuda - common, or tif, or another variety?

    I'm with Avery regarding tif, and with Ric regarding common and some of the other varieties.
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,968

    I don't think you will find tifdwarf on a commercial property. Maybe 419 or as I first read a common area, which I took as common bermuda. Even if it is tifdwarf cutting higher will help it come back Yes 1 inch is higher on tifdwarf.
  8. AuburnGuy

    AuburnGuy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    I had a similar situation in my personal yard. I moved in last year and it was nothing but weeds, with some large areas of centipede. I killed everything with MSMA. I have a few large bare spots. , but even where you see no bermuda in the weeds it is probably hiding and will start comming back. Cut it short (2 inches or less) and give it a lot of fert and water. It will come back pretty quick. This year my yard is thick, healthy and weed free.

    My only mistake is i did not take any before pictures. I went from one of the worst yards in the neighborhood to getting compliments from many neighbors, saying that is the best they have ever seen it. One girl accross the street said it looked like carpet.
  9. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    I rarely disagree with Ric, but in this case I must chime in.

    In Atlanta you will normally see 419 Bermuda in landscaped areas, so we will assume that is that cultivar. This turf should be mowed at 0.5 to 1.5 inches because of its growth habit. When mowed in this range, the turf becomes more dense which chokes out nearly all weeds. In addition, when mowed at that height the weeds become heat stressed much faster.

    When Bermuda is mowed too high, it becomes thin, more thatch prone, and also welcomes weed infestation.

    Here is what I would suggest:

    Lower the mowing height gradually as close to that range as you can get. I'm assuming you do not have a reel, so do the best you can with the rotary. Trust me, the weeds will not like this practice.

    As Ric said, you can attack weeds with a herbicide.

    Aeration would be very good for it, and topdressing also if the budget is there.

    Apply 1.5 (yes 1.5) pounds of N per 1000 sq ft per month until mid-September. Your first application could include a full analysis (32-5-7) with Iron included. After that, all you need is N.

    Ideally this should be mowed every 5 days if possible.

    Water deeply twice per week. Since we have clay, if you try watering only once per week you will have excessive runoff. Clay simply won't absorb water much faster than 0.2 inches per hour.
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,968


    I might be wrong about the height of cut on 419. My head spray tech is a former Greens keeper who got tired of all the hours and committees. I will ask him about 419 which is on all the fare-ways here. I have done very little 419 work. However Bahia gets thicker if you cut it shorter so you are more than likely right. My theory is higher cut helps deeper root growth.

    When the local high school ask me to help on the football field Pro Bono. I hollow cored top dressed and raised the height of cut for a few short weeks and fertilized the heck out of it and weed control as well as mole crickets. Because of poorly maintianed reel equipment they went to a rotary mower and cut at 1.5. At the end of Football season all interest in the field stopped and I was not going to fight city hall. The next year they call me again one month before season, I told them to find some else, grass is a year round project.

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