Can Bermuda Grass Choke Out Weeds

Last Updated on April 9, 2023 by Mattias

Weeds aren’t even preferred in the bare spots, so letting them take over your entire lawn is completely out of question. They gradually invade your lawn and compete with grass for elements such as air, water, and nutrients. Apart from their untidy appearance, weeds are also disliked because they are much quicker than lawn grasses and soak up nutrients before the other species even get a chance. They outgrow the pleasant-looking species and cover your lawn in messy clumps.

Bermuda grass, being one of the most aggressive warm-season grasses, is known to perform well in this situation. Does it kill weeds? Does it simply resist their adverse effects? The question today is; can bermuda grass choke out weeds? Let’s find out.

Can Bermuda Grass Choke Out Weeds

a newly weed straw in a bermuda grass lawn

Bermuda grass (cynodon dactylon) is a grass variety closely associated with weeds. This grass has a fast growth rate, but despite its tendency to invade, it is well-liked because of its ability to establish a thick canopy and dense turf in your lawn. A well-maintained bermuda lawn will choke out tough weeds as they sprout and reduce their likeliness to compete against them. Little do you know, Bermuda’s disliked aggressive growth habit is the very same characteristic that enables it to choke out invasive weeds.

Did you know that bermuda grass grows through its stolons and rhizomes? Bermuda is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing grasses out there, and it is the best option if you want quick results. It is naturally adaptable to various soil types but prefers sandy soil and high temperatures. This grass shoots its stems above and below ground, enabling it to spread and reproduce quickly. It shoots stems, and then clones of the original plant resurface in various areas. 

If you choose bermuda as your primary lawn grass, your lawn will be established as a thick turf quickly. Even though zoysia grass is considered the best grass to choke out weeds, the fast-growing habit also makes bermuda grass perfectly capable of accomplishing the task.

However, you should remember that a weak or neglected bermuda lawn cannot do the same. If you want the best results, then follow the tips listed below.

Natural Methods To Choke Out Weeds In Bermuda Grass Lawn

As mentioned above, bermuda is a type of grass that can most certainly choke out weeds, but what can you do to increase its strength? Basic lawn care and maintenance fulfillment are the only two things that your lawn needs. 

Let’s see which practices will particularly help in this situation.

Mowing height

Mowing is an extremely important step in lawn maintenance because if the grass isn’t kept at the right height, weed seeds will also be nourished unintentionally. 

Generally speaking, your bermudagrass should be kept at a height of 1 – 1.5 inches, but if there is an active risk of weed infestation, the height requirements should be changed accordingly. Scalping the grass too close to the ground and allowing it to get too high is equally dangerous. Both these ways attract weeds, so you must find a middle ground.

We recommend a mowing height of 2.5 inches so that long bermuda blades will shadow the weeds. This may seem much longer than your usual preference, but the weeds can receive and enjoy full sunlight when the grass is mowed to close. The light reaches them easily and encourages them to grow further. 

When you raise the mowing height, unwanted weeds will not receive their essential growth requirements. Because they are weaker in shady areas, it will be easier for bermudagrass to choke them out. This simple change in your routine will cause the weeds to starve and die.

Balance soil ph

As you must know, bermuda grass prefers a soil ph that ranges from alkaline to neutral (6-7). This grass doesn’t grow well in acidic soils; any value below 5.8 indicates poor and unhealthy growth. Understandably, an unhealthy bermuda lawn will not have the same level of toughness as usual and will subside to weed infestation. Since the quality of its growth will also be lower, the aggressive growth habit will fail to perform as intended, and bermuda won’t be able to choke out the weeds.

Meanwhile, acidic soil is good for weeds because it encourages growth and weakens bermuda. Several varieties, such as horsetail, dandelions, and plaintiffs, thrive in such conditions. You can fix this problem by conducting soil tests, examining your soil’s ph levels, and adjusting them accordingly.

If the test results are below 5.8, it’s time to incorporate the necessary material in the grass and balance the ph. You can use weak or calcitic lime to do the job for you.

These are good options because:

  • Lime doesn’t have toxic
  • It raises soil ph
  • It reduces the acidity of the soil
  • It weakens the weeds
  • Incorporates calcium into the soil surface
  • It strengthens bermuda grass to choke the weed out.

Provide adequate water

Water remains one of the most important factors in grass growth and maintenance. Overwatering is dangerous because it leads to shallow roots and a slow growth rate. Whereas underwatering is just as threatening. If you don’t water the grass enough, it will begin to go dormant, and the growth will stop. Either way, the weeds will get an opportunity to invade further.

Water is beneficial for choking out weeds because it will promote a healthy lawn strong enough to outgrow unwanted perennial weeds. 

Some things that you need to remember while watering bermuda grass

  • Water deeply but infrequently to promote a deeper root system
  • Your bermuda grass needs at least an inch of water per week
  • Do not water when the sun is at its peak
  • Early morning is the best time to water bermuda grass
  • Do not water daily because it will encourage weed growth
  • Take rainfall into consideration

Dethatch your lawn

Thatch is a layer of dead grass tissue, decomposed stems, living stems, grassroots, and excess material that builds up on the top layer of soil. Because it is a thick layer, it prevents essential materials such as water, sunlight, and nutrients from reaching the soil underneath. This tangled layer attracts weeds and allows them to invade your lawn.

Dethatching is extremely important because you need your bermuda grass for healthy growth. If the grass doesn’t receive essential growth requirements in the first place, it won’t be able to survive the weed invasion, let alone choke it out.

You can check the depth of thatch layer by digging in a single spot. If it’s deeper than 0.5 inches, then you should rent a dethatcher and remove it immediately. Just remember that removing excess thatch gives your lawn a chance to soak up energy boosters properly.

Apply fertilizers

Bermuda is known for overpowering and choking weeds in your lawn, but it won’t accomplish that task if it isn’t healthy. Simply put, even this hardy grass needs energy and nutrients to conquer weeds and maintain fast growth. Fertilizers are the most effective way to do that, and the best time to apply them is during peak growing season i.e, early summer months from May to September.

You should apply adequate fertilizers once a month during the entire summer season, and if you feed your grass about 1.5 lbs of fertilizer during mid-spring, the growth will be weed-choking and vigorous. 

Few precautions to remember 

  1. Use sustainable fertilizers to avoid grass burn and other adverse effects
  2. Refrain from excessive use
  3. Conduct regular soil tests to ensure that fertilizers aren’t decreasing the ph levels
  4. Don’t apply fertilizer during winter because it will increase the risk of drought stress

Pull out stubborn weeds

One of the best ways to avoid weed invasion in your lawn is by always watching for them. This method is more of a protection measure against weed that guides you to eliminate the problem before it gets out of hand.

Instead of giving weeds a chance to spread in your lawn and causing an interruption in grass growth, it is much better to pull them out as soon as you spot them. 

The best time to pull weeds by hand is right after watering. Since the soil surface will be hydrated and moist, it will be much easier for you to pull the stubborn weeds out. Make sure to pull out the entire thing by roots and remember to dispose of it properly, or it will just pop back up.

Artificial Methods For Weed Control On Your Bermuda Lawn

It is unlikely that your grass will be invaded to the extent that you need chemical assistance. Still, in rare situations where the above-listed methods fail to perform well, you can use the following options. Remember that weed killer is a great way to get rid of weeds, and even though it won’t be natural, the weeds will be choked out.

Pre-emergent weed killers

The first step is to choose a suitable pre-emergent herbicide. As the name suggests, this is a method that is used to prevent weeds before they even occur. Lawn maintenance and natural methods listed above typically do the same thing, but pre-emergents are much more reliable.

You can say that a pre-emergent herbicide will block weeds before they sprout in your lawn. Several types are available, and you can use the most suitable one for your bermuda grass variety.

It is recommended to apply pre-emergents in spring when the temperature rises and the weather gets warmer. Applying it during this time ensures that your bermuda grass passes through its growing season without interruption. You should also use it during spring; this way, grass will grow healthier and more vibrant.

You can also apply pre-emergents when the soil temperature falls below 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the late fall. You must do it during this time because bermuda is expected to enter a state of dormancy as soon as the winter months arrive. The aggressive growth that chokes the weeds out will entirely stop, and weeds will get a chance to invade. Simply put, you must apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall so the weeds can’t attack bermuda grass while it’s weak.

Post-emergent weed killers

Post-emergent herbicides, on the other hand, are the complete opposite of pre-emergents. If natural methods weren’t followed, maintenance was neglected, and pre-emergents weren’t used, weeds were imminent. At this point, post-emergent herbicides are one of the few options that are left. Fundamentally, They are used when the weeds have already emerged, and the situation is out of hand.

They will not choke the weeds out but kill them once and for all. It is as dangerous as it sounds, so you need to double-check that you are using the right variety. You need to choose the right product because some post-emergents can also kill your bermudagrass.

It is also crucial to choose between selective and non-selective herbicides. The former will display several names on its label and only target them. This herbicide is highly recommended for your bermuda grass lawn because you do not want to kill your bermudagrass. After you identify the weed species sprouting in your lawn, you can choose the most suitable product. Meanwhile, a non-selective herbicide will kill any and all plant species that come in its way. 

You can apply post-emergent when you notice weeds in your lawn, but the best time to apply it is from early spring to late spring. The weeds are actively growing during this season but are not invasive and strong enough to resist the herbicide. 

Before using any variation of weed control products on your lawn, read the label thoroughly. Some products can harm your lawn, so you need to be certain that they are suitable for your grass type and site conditions. Always follow the instructions and avoid excess use.

Can Bermuda Grass Choke Out Weeds Summary

Because weeds can severely affect your thriving lawn, it is important to watch for them. This article discussed “can bermuda grass choke out weeds?” Now that you have read the article, we hope it helped you understand the reasons behind it.

We also shared some of the most effective methods to encourage your bermuda grass to choke out weeds. Conclusively, we can say that you can increase your bermuda grass’s choking abilities by mowing it at the right height, fertilizing it properly, taking care of the water supply, and following other general maintenance steps. 

Proper lawn care is extremely important because a thick, dense, and healthy bermuda lawn can choke out weeds as they grow, and you won’t have to allocate specific resources toward the prevention. 

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