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Pawl 08-26-2012 12:45 PM

Can I green up the Bermuda grass question
I moved here in 1986. The house was built in 1965. I am assuming this grass has been here since 1965. The rectangular front yard grass is not green green. It has the faded green look with patches of brown all over the place. I could grab the brown grass with my hand and easily pull it out of the soil.I water it twice a week in the morning, have occasionally used Scotts feeds but sometimes it will appear to be greener but no dramatic changes.
I keep reading about de-thatching and aerating but I can only be certain that neither of these procedures have ever been done on this lawn.
I notice when I was watering I don't see the water sinking into the soil. It appears to be pooling more and then slowly is absorbed. My next door neighbor has the same grass but his lawn is much greener and he never does anything but water it.I have about 700' of grass out front. Any thoughts?

Pawl 08-26-2012 12:54 PM

I live in southern calif

user1007 08-26-2012 02:04 PM

I lived in N California and was a turfgrass manager and consultant for a time. Not necessarily by choice at first, 2500sf of front yard was a bermuda grass. With proper maintenance and lots of attention it did look spectacular when in season and of course totally dead when not.

It took lots of water and nitrogen to look lush and green and bermuda is one of the most expensive lawns to maintain. I put a pound of nitrogen per 1,000sf per month on it. Some months it got only nitrogen (ammonium sulfate for example). Every bag or bottle of fertilizer has the percentage of the three primary plant nutrients on the label in the form of the NPK ratio. It is that three digit string. The first number tells you how much nitrogen is available.

The Scotts program is really not aggressive enough for Bermuda so you should shift buying fertilizer in bulk and get a consult from a turf person. UofC ag extension should be able to help or just stop by a golf course or park maintenance shed for suggestions on what to buy and where. The good news is buying in bulk will be lots cheaper.

I was diligent about having the lawn dethatched and aerated. Bermuda needs to be mowed close to the ground or it gets lanky and bad looking.

Bermuda has shallow roots and grows primarily by runners called rhyzomes that grow along the surface of the ground sending down roots in places. As you know, if you turn your back on it, it will entwine your shrubs in no time!

It sounds like you have terrible clay soil to match my situation as well. You could not deep water turf even if you wanted to because it plugged up instantly. Aerating will help but rake up the plugs and then rake in organic material like mulch to replace them. A soil test would be a good idea and is not expensive. It sounds like your soil may not be metabolizing the nutrients you are adding to it or is just too clogged up to give the turf a fighting chance. Ph may be off too but is easily corrected.

Every winter when it turned brown I thought of killing the Bermuda and starting over with something else but classic case of the shoemaker's children never having shoes I never got around to it. And in the spring it would look nice again. It is hard to get rid of once established without using a temporary soil sterilizer.

If redoing the landscape is in your future do think about getting rid of it though. Water issues are going to become big time in California again and you may not be able to keep it alive. Southern California got away without being rationed the last times but Northern California is not going to let you again.

chrisn 08-26-2012 04:41 PM

forget all he ^ said and go here


user1007 08-26-2012 05:15 PM


Originally Posted by chrisn (Post 996981)
forget all he ^ said and go here


Believe it or not a fair amount of the stuff gets sold to the point I wonder why in all the years somebody has not tweaked the color to be more natural. It is kind of like old lady hair color!:laughing:

Somebody bio engineered a bermuda to be "self-mowing" too but the downside was it turned purple when it hit a certain height! People who did not grow mushrooms thought purple a strange color for turf.

pwgsx 08-27-2012 01:12 PM

:thumbsup: Try some ironite

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