Bermuda Grass Seeding Rate – How to Calculate

Last Updated on March 14, 2023 by Mattias

Establishing grass through seeds is a fairly common method several lawn owners use. Everyone has different preferences regarding the density of a bermuda lawn. While some people like a scarce lawn that takes up fewer resources, others may prefer a thick and pleasant-looking turf.

Luckily, this decision is in your hands. By choosing the adequate Bermuda Grass seeding rate, you can have a Bermuda grass lawn with your desired density. Let’s see the right one for your bermuda grass.

Bermuda Grass Seeding Rate 

Bermuda is a warm-season grass famously known for establishing a dense turf. Regarding acres, you’d need 5-10 pounds of pure live seed (PLS) for hulled bermuda and 15-20 pounds of pure live seed (PLS) for unhulled bermuda. As for a new lawn, 3-4 pounds per 1000 square feet will ensure satisfactory growth, and if you plan on overseeding, you’d need 1-2 pounds per 1000 sq. ft and 45-90 per acre. These seed rates might increase if your growing medium is saline soil.

Now that you know the standard bermuda grass seeding rate estimations, we hope it helps you determine the right quantity for your lawn. However, there’s much left to discuss regarding this topic. Keep reading to learn all the essential details about the bermuda seeding rate and become an expert.

Everything You Need To Know About Seeding Rate

Bermuda Grass Seeding Rate 

If you are a new turf owner, you must wonder what the seeding rate is and why it is so important in gardening. We are here to answer your questions, so let’s get into it.

The seeding rate refers to the number of seeds required to obtain a specific density level on your property. These estimations change based on the size of your desired area, but they are quite easy to measure. The seeding rate is generally measured as pure live seed (PLS) pounds per acre, and it helps you receive the best results.

In simple terms, the seeding rate helps determine the pounds of seeds needed for healthy growth and preferred density.

A few things are closely associated with the seeding rate, and you must remember them. Bermuda’s peak growing season takes place in late spring and early summer. You should get an estimation before then so that no time is wasted. The best time to start the process is in the summer months because the bermuda grass seed needs warm weather and full sun to grow properly.

Hulled And Unhulled Bermuda Grass

Hulled seed refers to the type of bermuda grass seed that doesn’t have an outer coat. Uncoated seeds have several advantages, and the hull can be easily removed through mechanical methods.

Meanwhile, unhulled seeds have their outer coat intact. The coat adds to the bulk of the seeds and increases their weight. On a rough estimation, an unhulled bag of seeds will have 40% less seeds than a hulled seed bag.

Hulled seeds are planted in early spring or summer at a rate of 1-2 pounds per acre and are preferred for several reasons. These seeds are low maintenance, ideal for southern regions, and they can survive periods of drought stress. Even though hulled seeds are best suited for well-drained soils, they are adaptable to several soil conditions and can easily grow in various soil levels, types, and temperatures. It is mostly used for hay production in southern states, and its great traffic tolerance makes it a good option.

Unhulled bermuda seeds, on the other hand, can be planted in the early fall or winter months, and the recommended seeding rate is 3-5 pounds per acre. Their seeding rate is higher than hulled bermuda seeds because the coat will make up for most of the bulk, and the rate would have to be determined after considering that. 

Furthermore, you should remember that just because the seeds are planted in the winter doesn’t mean your bermuda grass will grow in that season. No matter the type of seed, every single one of the bermudagrass varieties has poor cold tolerance. Hence, they go dormant in the cold and can’t grow or germinate.

Unhulled bermuda grass seeds wait for adequate weather to arrive, and once all the ideal conditions are fulfilled, the grass starts growing on its own. This means that despite fall plantings, your grass will germinate in the summer when warm temperatures are available.

The answer is quite simple for people who wonder which seed is the best. If your site has high soil moisture, hulled seeds will establish quickly and deliver the best results. Since hulled seeds do not have a protective layer/ seed coat over them, the water reaches them faster, and they germinate quickly.

Unhulled seeds are much cheaper than hulled seeds, but they take a long time to germinate. You’d need to be patient with them, but once they are fully established, you could enjoy a green lawn that is easily maintainable.  

How To Determine Seeding rate

As we mentioned earlier, the typical estimation of the bermuda grass seeding rate is quite accurate, but that doesn’t mean it always remains the same. Seeding rate changes based on the size of the seed, the area that needs to be covered, and some other factors.

Calculating the seeding rate is much more reliable than going for vague estimations. The good news is that a standard method can be used for various species. However, since we are talking about bermuda in particular, let’s see how you can check the rate.

You can calculate seeds per pound by making 2 or 3 samples, each of 100 seeds. Afterward, you will weigh those samples and get an idea of how much 100 kernels typically range. Multiply that number by your property’s area measurements, and you’ll get your answer.

Importance Of Determining Bermuda Grass Seeding Rate

There are a lot of benefits that come along with calculating the seeding rate before the plantation. Seeding rate doesn’t only help you decide the number of seeds required to ensure high crop yields but is also important in terms of bermuda grass growth.

The main objective of calculating the seeding rate is that it helps you maintain higher-quality turf. If you plant abundant seeds in the soil surface, the new plants will fight each other for essentials such as sunlight and water, and none will receive it properly. This will cause your bermuda lawn to have low quality and yield, the turf won’t be as dense as you expected, and more resources will be needed for primary growth.

Other than that, the seeding rate is also important because it reduces the wastage of seeds. If you buy seeds without estimating your need, you may end up with a higher quantity than necessary, and they will go to waste. It is a cost-effective way that helps you understand just how many seeds are needed for a specific area. You’d have bought the necessary amount, which would also reduce the chances of running out during the plantation process.

The seeding rate will also decrease your cost of production by ensuring a dense and uniform turf. Your turf’s potential increases to a great extent when the seeding rate is calculated accurately. Its weed competition will enhance and become more tolerant to insects, diseases, and frost. The yield will be higher, and compensation rates will also improve. 

Factors Affecting Seeding Rate Calculation

Additional factors can often influence the suitable seeding rate for your lawn, which is why calculating the rates on your own is much more reliable. Your calculations will be made after considering specific conditions. Even though the general estimations listed above are certainly accurate, that’s an answer given, considering that no other elements are at play. Let’s see which factors affect your seeding rate calculation.

  • Desired plant population 

You can have a personal preference, but if you want a guaranteed high-yielding, tough, and uniform field, you should target 300 live plants per square meter. If you want a higher plant population, then the seeding rate will also increase

  • Percentage of germination

Percentage of germination refers to the number of seeds that turn out to be healthy out of the total planted seeds. There is a huge possibility that several seeds don’t even take root in the soil. When deciding your seeding rate, you’d need to consider the germination percentage properly.

  • Size of seed

As insignificant as it may seem, seed size is one of the most important factors influencing germination percentage, germination time, growth, and survival. Large seeds are generally better than small seeds in all areas, including field performance. Since large seeds cover a bigger portion of the field and work more efficiently, the seeding rate will decrease if you use them.

  • Age of seed

As the seed ages, its general performance and efficiency decrease. The newer the seed, the higher the percentage of germination. A new seed will have higher germination than a seed in its 3rd or 4th year. Because older seeds have lower germination, the seeding rate will certainly increase. Meanwhile, the seeding rate will decrease if you are using newer seeds.

Other factors may include 

  1. Purity percentage
  2. Weight of seed
  3. Growing season
  4. Performance of the seed
  5. Method of plantation 

Bermuda Grass Seeding Rate Summary

Bermuda grass is an extremely popular grass that is used for diverse functions. This grass is not only used in the United States but around the world. Since it is highly adaptable to various soil types, you can use it on sports fields, athletic fields, golf courses, house lawns, and more.

However, each surface has a different growth and density requirement than the other; pastures may need higher density than golf courses. Investing your time in evaluating the perfect seeding rate is extremely important.

As mentioned above, it helps you achieve your desired lawn and ensures adequate growth.  It is an easy task that can be performed readily. Follow the method listed above, and you’ll face the least difficulties.

Did you find this article helpful? We hope it helped you understand all about the bermuda grass seeding rate. Share it with your friends and clear their doubts as well.

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