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kbm777 07-22-2011 12:43 PM

Fescue to Bermuda grass conversion procedures.
I live in Chattanooga, TN and have seen other posts where the fescue lawn looks absolutely breathtaking during the mine does.

I actually had fescue sod laid several years ago and am going to convert t to Bermuda hell or high water. I fertilize and seed every single fall no no avail. All of my neighbors have Bermuda land their lawns look great during the summer months where mine dies out.

What are the procedures for this conversion?

Kent Mears

user1007 07-22-2011 04:30 PM

Are you sure? My bermuda lawn in N California was spectacular in the summer but very high maintenance and took gazillions of gallons of water we couldn't get when rationed. It went dead straw color in the winter. Golf courses dye it but I never got to that point.

It needed close cropped mowing (like an inch max height) to look nice and if you did not bag and dispose of the clippings? Because it grew so shallow the thatch would steal water and food and breed all sorts of bugs and fungus. Regular de-thatching and aeration were mandatory. It was always hungry and needed more fertilizer than other turfgrasses. Typical fertilizer tended to leach right past the shallow root system so plan on tossing at least some nitrogen in quick release format at it once a month during the summer.

To answer your question of how to transition? Fescue (especially the creepy kinds) crawl a bit but the sprigs root deeply. You can probably amputate it with a sod cutter, till the soil and lay down bermuda sod or plant sprigs. You can grow from seed too.

Bermuda grows through rhyzomes, or runners, that spread and attach along the soil surface and also just under the surface. The grass roots very shallow from either growth in short order. It will never root down or have drought resistance like other turf. Realize it will be in your flower beds and crawling up inside of ornamentals almost as fast as kudzu so plan on header boards between your lawn and flower and ornamental beds. And have a trimmer handy to wack the surface runners.

Hope you rethink or at least think twice about this. Or at least know what you are getting into. Like mentioned, as long as my gardener kept it under control and I drenched it with water it was beyond a gorgeous lawn. You could wrestle elephants on it and it would snap right back. It has to be one of the most expensive turfgrasses to maintain. And, it looked dead in N. California winters. Not because they were harsh. The turf just goes dormant for the winter months.

srb1194 07-23-2011 01:35 PM


Are you planning to sod the bermuda? How much square footage do you have? Do you have irrigation? I am a retired Golf Course Super and have made that very same conversion to my lawn in Greenville, SC. My approach was to begin the process in the spring with applications of Round Up or Revolver. The Revolver was used to eradicate the fescue in areas where I had existing bermuda grass. The Round Up was used in areas that had no bermuda. In you case the round up may be the best option. You may want to consider Zoysia instead of Bermuda. If you can afford it it is well worth it. The main thing you want to make certain of is that you completely eradicate the fescue before you make the conversion. I would think probably 2-3 applications of round up spaced at 10 day intervals to make certain it's gone. Definitely do not apply any pre-emergent herbicides in the spring for summer annual weeds as this would affect the establishment of the bermuda. Let me know what other questions you have.


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