Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Mattias
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass variety mostly known for its sped-up growth rates. Bermuda has some characteristics that make it one of the most aggressive growing grasses out there, which means that grass is highly desirable if you want a pleasant-looking turf that won’t take much time to establish.
You can have a fully-established Bermuda lawn quickly because after the grass has received a healthy amount of resources to keep itself alive, the rest will be dedicated to the spreading process.
These facts are already known but have you ever wondered how fast does Bermuda grass spread? Let’s find out.
How Fast Does Bermuda Grass Spread?
Bermuda grass is a robust species that is one of the fastest-growing grasses. A newly planted bermuda seed can take around 6 weeks to spread on the entire lawn, and if all of the grass’s requirements are being fulfilled, it can have a growth rate of nearly ½ inch a day. Your Bermuda grass will be fastest to spread if it is grown by seeds rather than sprigging. However, if the conditions are not ideal, the seeds can take up to 14-21 days for germination to occur and 8-10 weeks for the lawn to establish.
Now that we have gathered that Bermuda grass has the fastest growth rate among warm-season grasses, this specific feature can act as both an advantage and a disadvantage for you. Bermuda’s aggressive growth rate can be hard to contain. It can even take over the other species on your lawn. On the other hand, Bermuda can endure heavy use and establish itself quickly.
Before we get into that, let’s see why this grass grows fast.
How Does Bermuda Grass Spread So Fast?
Bermuda grass can produce up to 230 seeds during the first 3 months of its development, and it mainly spreads by three means. Stolons, rhizomes, and Bermuda grass seeds.
Here’s how each works.
Bermuda grass is a perennial warm-season grass that has two types of shoots. Its above-ground stems are known as stolons and hugely contribute to Bermuda grass’s ecological invasion. They are long with a root-like appearance and are located parallel to the ground, just beneath the grass blades. As you’ll notice, about 3-4 grass blades emerge from each stolon.
How this stem affects the spreading rate is quite simple. These shoots can travel all the way across the terrain and root in the soil. While the stolons do this, a new clump of roots is left in its wake. The spreading rate increases as these newly sunk roots develop more stolons and continue the process. The most surprising part about this process is that even if stolons in between the clumps are severed, each plant will survive just as well. Furthermore, When stolons are cut and left on the moist soil, that also initiates roots and new plants.
In simple words, stolons are horizontal stems that are used as a way for your Bermuda grass to reproduce effectively. When the Bermuda grass sends out a stolon across the soil surface, it produces a clone of the original plant at the other end of it. The original plant sends stolons to the clone and the clone to the next. This process goes on and forth until your entire turf is covered.
Fact: stolons are also referred to as runners, but they are the same thing.
As said above, Bermuda grass spreads by two types of shoots. Stolons are the first, while rhizomes are the other primary method. Bermuda grass is often regarded as rhizomatous grass because of this characteristic.
Rhizomes are the below-ground stems of the grass that are also known as “creepy rootstalk.” They are horizontal, shallow, and about 1-6 inches deep in the soil.
Rhizomes enable the grass to form dense turf because they are used for asexual reproduction. Unlike stolons which are above-ground and relatively vulnerable, rhizomes are deep underground, and they’ll continue the propagation process even in difficult times.
Rhizomes’ basic function is to store starch for unfavorable conditions, but they can also shoot and strike the root system of new grass. They can root in the soil and make clones of the original plant. They increase the spreading process by shooting new stems upward and striking new roots downward.
Even though it is considered the slowest way, Bermuda grass can also germinate through seedheads. If you want to pursue this growth method, you’ll need to ensure that the plants have reached a full level of maturity and are capable of producing new seeds.
How To Make Bermuda Grass Spread Faster?
As mentioned above, the main factor that affects Bermuda grass’s spreading rate is the number of resources available. The fewer resources, the longer time it will take to spread.
Some simple methods can be followed to encourage your Bermudagrass to spread faster.
Choose plugs or strips
Seeds are the slowest way to spread Bermuda grass, as they can take over a year to establish and mature in your lawn. The better alternative is to use strips of Bermuda grass or matured rooted clumps (plugs) in your lawn for a speedy process.
Propagation by hand
If your Bermuda grass isn’t spreading to desired areas, you can simply cut out small sections of about 3 inches and plant them in your preferred part of the lawn. It will take one week for them to adjust, and they’ll start spreading shortly after that. You can speed this up by feeding the new section adequate water and fertilizers.
Bermuda grass usually requires an inch of water per week, but you can increase the amount of water to encourage fast growth. Deep watering each week and 5-10 minutes of daily watering will help the grass spread a lot faster.
You can use your sprinkler system or hose to water the grass for 30-45 minutes per week but remember that it is highly undesirable to water bermuda grass if it has rained recently or the water is still standing on the lawn. To much water can do more harm than good.
You’ll notice that a healthy Bermudagrass lawn grows and spreads faster than a long, untidy one. Mowing regularly will ensure that your lawn is clean and healthy. Using a mower is also recommended because it removes the thatch buildup from your landscape.
In case you didn’t know, thatch is the excess material on the top surface of grass that hinders the ability of rhizomes and stolons to spread properly. You can ensure a fast spreading rate by mowing the grass down to 1-1.5 inches.
Do not mow young grass because they do not have anchored roots, and you can damage them greatly. A good way to judge when to mow is by examining the height. If it has a vertical growth of 2 inches, then it’s safe to use a mower.
Examine the growth conditions
Bermuda grass has a rapid growth and spreading rate, so if your lawn still has bald spots, that might result from unsuitable growth factors.
Different grass types have contrasting needs, meaning your Bermuda grass needs a specific set of growth factors to establish and spread properly. Be it sandy soils or clay soils, Bermuda grass is a type of species that can adapt to various soil types, but despite that, you should do a soil test, by spot testing to evaluate the soil pH, consistency, and nitrogen levels. Doing so lets you check the results and see whether the factors suit Bermuda grass.
Conducting spot tests on various parts of your lawn rather than a single area is recommended, as it will help you judge whether the entire landscape is under ideal conditions.
If your testing shows problematic results, fixing it will surely speed up growth.
If you want your bermudagrass to spread faster, fertilizers might be a good solution. It will add nutrients to the soil, and new clumps will grow faster and healthier.
Nitrogen fertilizer is a good choice to show the best results if you want the grass to spread faster.
When applying fertilizer, remember that almost all warm-season lawn grasses naturally stop growing under the dormancy period. This means that even fertilizers will not be able to speed up the growth in the winter months
How To Contain Bermuda Grass’s Fast Growth?
As you know by now, several disadvantages come with Bermuda’s aggressive growth. No one wants their lawn to be invaded, so let’s look at ways to contain the grass.
- Bermuda grass needs high temperatures and full sun to grow and spread. If you increase the shade on this grass, soil temperatures will decrease, and its growth will be prevented. However, it is important to remember that only tall trees and shrubs can accomplish this task. If they are small, your Bermuda grass will take over them and continue spreading.
- Another method to contain Bermuda grass’s fast growth is by placing black plastic over the grass. Before proceeding with this method, ensure your lawn is mowed and well irrigated. The plastic will block the sunlight and hinder Bermuda’s ability to spread further. The best time to follow this method is during the hottest summer months. Remember to place the plastic for over 6 weeks without worrying about adverse effects.
- The best way to slow down Bermuda grass’s growth is regular mowing. You don’t want the grass getting too long or creeping up to places where it is not desirable. By doing this regularly, you can notice the grass clumps when they start getting out of their allocated area and remove them before it gets out of hand. Another advantage of regular mowing is that your lawn will always look manicured and tidy. Just ensure your mower has a sharp blade. Unsharp blades tend to harm the lawn.
- If your goal is to reduce its invasion rather than the entire growth, then edging may be a better option. As discussed, Bermuda grass tends to harass and take over other species. Luckily, that won’t happen as long as you establish crisp gravel edges around your garden beds. Depending on your lawn design, you can go with an alternate method. Rather than edging areas where you don’t want grass, you can edge the area where you want it. In simple words, allocate a designated area where you want grass and edge it properly so the roots and clumps won’t shoot out.
Advantages and disadvantages of Bermuda’s Fast Growth
As we briefly mentioned above, several advantages and disadvantages come along with Bermuda grass’s growth rate. Take a look at them below and choose for yourself whether this grass will be suitable for you.
|Establishes a vigorous and dense turf||It can invade your landscape rapidly and take over flower beds|
|It fills in bare spots pretty quickly||Can harass and grow over other species|
|It can endure heavy use and foot traffic||Aggressive growth is hard to contain|
|Quick to bounce back after damage||Speedy growth encourages thatch buildup|
|It can outcompete several weeds||Hinders precise landscaping applications|
|Suitable for sports fields, athletic fields, and golf courses||High maintenance|
How Fast Does Bermuda Grass Spread Summary
We understand that you may have a plan in your mind and would like to know when exactly the grass will spread and carpet your lawn. Bermuda grass is one of the fastest-growing warm-season grasses that are high maintenance. Before you choose this grass variety for your lawn, ensure you are ready to handle its fast and hardly containable growth.
Now that we have covered its growth estimation, factors that cause it, and other common queries. We hope this article helped you understand the nature of your Bermuda grass lawn.
By following the above-listed ways, you can speed up its growth and decrease it, too, so save these tips for later.
If you found this article helpful in any way, share it with other lawn owners and acquaintances and lend them a hand.
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.