Last Updated on April 6, 2023 by Mattias
Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon Pers.) is a warm-season grass used for green, dense turfs that adapt to different soil and climatic conditions. It is a delight to have a bermuda lawn that grows without being disturbed by weeds because they compete with the grass for soil nutrients. While some weeds are only after these nutrients, other types of weeds could overtake the lawn in a short time if you do not take some control measures.
Are you having weed problems on your bermuda grass lawn? Read on; let’s discuss some of the most common weeds in bermuda grass and help find solutions to your weed problems.
Common Weeds In Bermuda Grass
The most common weeds in bermuda grass are in three categories: broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds, and sedges.
Broadleaf weeds are easy to notice because they look nothing like grasses. These weeds have large, wide leaves with thick veins and sometimes sprout flowers. Here are some common broadleaf weeds you can find in bermuda grass:
Dandelions are perennial broadleaf weeds with yellow flowers and broad leaves that grow close to the soil. These weeds are stubborn because they come back to life no matter how much you use your lawn mower or pull it up.
Common chickweed is one of the most common weeds you can find in a bermudagrass lawn. It has star-shaped small white flowers, oval flowers with pointy tips, and is almost hairless at the base. It is a cool-season annual plant, so you should expect it to grow among dormant bermuda grass.
Dollarweed is one of the warm-season perennial weeds that you won’t want to see in your bermuda grass lawn. It gets its name from its dollar-shaped leaves and is common in areas adjacent to water.
Henbit is a low-growing weed whose purple flowers could damage the appearance of your bermudagrass lawn. This weed starts germinating during fall, then the flowers and leaves spring up by early spring. Henbit is a weed you should watch out for because one plant is capable of producing about 2000 seeds.
Prostrate spurge is a low-growing broadleaf weed with small, oval-shaped leaves opposite along the stem. These annual weeds can grow a mat across your lawn, and the summer months are its growing season. Asides from bermudagrass lawns, prostrate spurge seems to grow anywhere.
Prostrate knotweed is an annual weed with slender, highly-branched stems that form mats around the lawn. These low-growing weeds are a nuisance when they grow in bermuda grass because they avoid lawn mower blades and spring back to life if you pull them up. Prostrate knotweed is identifiable by its blue-green leaf that sparsely appears on its long stem.
Many people do not consider clover a weed, but you should not welcome it in your bermuda turf because it could colonize your lawn and compete with the grasses for growth space. It has small, fragrant flowers that can be white or pink and small dry fruits that usually contain one or two seeds.
Grassy weeds are grasses like bermuda, but their growth can lower the quality and appearance of your turf. These weeds can be hard to spot and sometimes grow out of control before being noticed. Let’s take a look at some of the most common grassy weeds in bermuda grass:
Crabgrass is one of the most known grassy weeds because they grow in almost every region. These annual weeds are easy to notice when growing among bermuda grass for their yellow-green color. Crabgrass dies out in cold weather but recovers in favorable conditions.
Annual bluegrass (poa annua) is a low-growing grassy weed common in lawns and turfgrasses. It has a yellow-green color and a distinctive whitish flower head. This weed may be hard to control because each plant produces hundreds of seeds, so you should eliminate it as soon as you spot it.
Quackgrass is notorious because it can grow in almost every region, and this weed flowers in the early summer months when bermuda grass grows. They are easy to spot in bermuda grass because of their blue-green blades. Quackgrass is strong enough to survive in different growing conditions due to its ability to adapt to moist soil and cool temperate climates.
Doveweed is hard to spot if you have a St. Augustine lawn, but you should notice this type of weed if it grows among bermuda grass. It has narrow, linear leaves with parallel veins and has a blue, tiny three-petal flower when it grows long. They are found in mulched areas and plant beds but persist in mowed turfs.
Dallisgrass is a perennial weed that can grow in bermudagrass lawns. It is often mistaken for crabgrass when small, but it could grow up to five inches tall. Dallisgrass also has seed heads that resemble those of a barley grain.
Sandspur is a grassy weed with hairy blades that stretch up to four feet across the ground. They are difficult to identify among bermuda grass, but they should hurt your feet if you walk across your lawn while they are seeding.
Sedge weeds are like grassy weeds but have different structures, including solid stems. Let’s take a look at some of the sedge weeds you can find in bermuda grass:
Nutsedge is one of the common weeds you can find growing in bermudagrass lawns. Its root system goes deeper into the soil than the roots of bermuda grass, making it get nutrients meant for the grass and also hard to eliminate. Nutsedges are identifiable by their shiny, yellow-green, V-shaped stems.
Mullumbimby Couch is a grass-like weed that thrives in moist areas. It grows to about 15 cm high and has dark green, glossy, strap-like leaves. This weed may be hard to control due to the strong network of rhizomes that regenerate from individual plants.
How To Control Weeds In Bermuda Grass
Weed control for bermuda grass is essential for a healthy lawn. Though weed growth may be inevitable if you do everything right, the growth habits of healthy bermuda grass make it hard for these weeds to thrive. Bermuda grass grows a thick carpet in the right conditions, preventing the new growth of weeds by not allowing sunlight to get to them.
Here are some of the steps you can take to control the growth of weeds in your bermudagrass lawn:
Test Soil PH And Balance It If Needed
Bermuda grass grows well in soil with a pH between 5.8 and 7.0. A soil becomes too acidic for the grass if its pH falls below 5.8, and it could invite weeds that thrive in acidic soils. You should regularly test the pH of your soil and apply lime to raise the pH if it is less than 5.8.
Have A Proper Watering Schedule
Watering is essential to preventing the growth of weeds in bermuda grass lawns. Bermuda grass requires about 1 to 1.25 inches of water weekly, so you can water it twice a week, keeping a 3-day space between each 30 to 45 minutes watering session. This warm-season grass is drought-resistant, but overwatering or underwatering could hinder its growth and cause the growth of weeds.
Apply Fertilizer Frequently
Bermuda grass grows thick and fast, but this growth means it requires more fertilizer. You should fertilize your bermuda grass thrice a year; during spring to keep it strong during summer before cold weather sets in, mid-summer, and late summer during its growing season. Frequent fertilizing is also a way to increase the soil’s pH when it becomes acidic.
Raise The Mowing Height
The recommended mowing height of bermuda grass is about 1 to 1.5 inches, but this low mowing height allows sunlight to get to the weed and encourages their growth. You can raise the mowing height to around 2 to 2.5 inches and mow weekly to encourage the grass to grow at this height.
Dethatch Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass grows aggressively, encouraging the build-up of layers of thatch between grass and the soil. This thatch causes the growth of weeds, so dethatching needs to be done. You should dethatch bermuda grass once a year, preferably during spring.
Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicides
You can apply pre-emergent herbicides to the soil to kill weed seeds before they grow. These herbicides should be applied twice a year; first, during spring when the soil temperature is around 55°F and second, during fall when the soil temperature is around 70°F. Each application of pre-emergent herbicides should last for about 2 to 3 days.
Apply Bermuda-Safe Post-Emergent Herbicides
You can use post-emergent herbicides when grasses have invaded the lawns, but choose the ones that do not harm bermuda grass. Broadleaf weed killer is one of the post-emergent herbicides that bermuda grass is sensitive to, and prolonged exposure to it can kill the grass. You should follow guidelines on the labels of post-emergent herbicides before you use them and ensure you choose a product safe for bermuda grass.
How To Kill Weeds In Bermuda Grass Without Chemicals
You can kill weeds in bermudagrass lawns without chemicals, but the best option is to pull them out of the soil using your hands.
You can try mixing vinegar, salt, and liquid dish soap, but you may harm the grass. Burning is also not an option because the flames could become uncontrollable and consume the entire lawn.
Common Weeds In Bermuda Grass Summary
Bermuda grass is one of the most commonly used turfgrass, and weeds growing among the grass can affect its healthy growth. In this article, we have identified some of the most common weeds in bermuda grass and discussed how you should control them. We have also discussed how digging out these weeds is a good alternative to killing them with chemicals.
Did you learn anything from this article? Why not share it with friends and help them identify the most common weeds in bermuda grass?
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.