Keeping a Bermuda lawn green is a year-round task. Depending on the season, different techniques will help your lawn remain green and colorful.
- Spring: Scalp your lawn, dethatch Bermuda grass, and provide fertilizer.
- Summer: Water twice per-week and fertilize your lawn monthly.
- Fall: Raise your mowing height and spread pre-emergent herbicide.
- Winter: Provide minimal water and prepare for spring.
By following the proper steps during each season you’ll ensure your lawn regains its green color quickly in spring, stays green through the summer heat, enters fall strong, and survives the winter with minimal setbacks.
Spring Tasks to Make Bermuda Grass Green Up Faster
If your Bermuda grass remains brown well into spring, then there are several steps you can take to make sure you have a green lawn sooner. The benefits of encouraging your Bermuda grass to green up faster include an improved appearance as well as weed prevention. Weeds struggle to get a foothold in spring if your lawn is already green and thriving.
Scalp Your Lawn
If your Bermuda grass goes dormant in winter, it can be tough to tell exactly when it will turn green again. However, scalping your lawn—which is just a term for mowing it extremely short—can speed up the greening process. Here’s how to scalp your Bermuda lawn.
- Time your Bermuda lawn scalping after the last winter frost but just before green-up begins.
- Set your mower so it will cut your grass to 0.5 inches (1 cm) in height.
- Mow the entire lawn and bag the clippings.
This scalping process will remove the dead, dormant grass blades in your yard. Without their presence, the new Bermuda blades will grow faster and transform your dormant lawn into a green paradise.
Dethatch Bermuda Grass
Spring is the best time to remove thatch from Bermuda grass lawns. The layer of thatch that forms between the growing grass and soil remains brown or yellow, ruining the green look of your lawn. Remove thatch using these tips:
- Plan to dethatch 1–2 weeks after your lawn starts to turn green in spring.
- If your Bermuda grass does not go dormant in winter, dethatch in March.
- Rent a dethatcher from your local hardware store or garden supply.
- Dethatch your lawn and remove the thatch clippings.
By removing thatch buildup you not only promote healthy growth and prevent grass diseases, you also strip away dead, brown material. All that’s left is new, green grass. Your lawn will instantly look more vibrant.
Provide Some Bermuda Fertilizer
Bermuda grass is fast-growing, hungry grass. It does best when it is fertilized throughout the growing season. Provide your lawn with fertilizer in late spring according to these guidelines:
- Make your first fertilizer application in May.
- Use this organic fertilizer to prevent lawn damage.
- Apply 15 pounds of Milorganite fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Organic Milorganite fertilizer will feed your lawn and soil microbes. Because synthetic fertilizer can overload your grass with nitrogen—which will kill areas of your lawn—we stick with organic fertilizer. This will contribute to a green lawn without risking fertilizer burn.
How to Keep Bermuda Grass Green in Summer
Once you’ve jumpstarted spring with scalping, dethatching, and fertilizing your grass it’s time to keep up that momentum. Summer is the primary growing season for Bermuda grass, so it needs plenty of water and fertilizer, as well as frequent mowing. This is also the best time to make sure you encourage thicker growth from your Bermuda grass.
The right amount of water for Bermuda grass depends on the time of year. During the summer months, you’ll need to provide 1.5–2 inches (4–5 cm) of water per week. This is best done by watering twice per week with these guidelines in mind:
- Give your lawn 1.5–2 inches (4–5 cm) of water per week from May through September.
- Split watering into 2 weekly sessions.
- Water in the morning to prevent evaporation.
- An average sprinkler delivers about 1 inch of water in 1 hour.
- Water 45–60 minutes for each watering session.
By watering twice per week instead of daily you will encourage water to soak deep into the soil. This causes your Bermuda grass to develop deep roots. A deeply rooted lawn has improved drought resistance and will stay green no matter how hot summer gets.
Provide Monthly Fertilizer
To keep your lawn growing green, continue providing fertilizer. Once per month from May through September, spread the same organic fertilizer recommended for spring. Provide 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of grass. If you are using Milorganite with 6% nitrogen, this will require 15 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of Bermuda grass.
Mow Your Lawn Short
If Bermuda is allowed to grow too long, it will lose some of its vibrant green color. To keep your Bermuda lawn green through the hottest months, you should:
- Mow once every 1–2 weeks.
- Mow your Bermuda to a height of 0.75 inches (2 cm).
- Allow your grass clippings to fall onto the lawn, where they can decompose.
While it’s best to bag clippings when scalping or dethatching Bermuda grass, there’s no need to bag clippings when you are performing standard mowing. These grass clippings will quickly break down and recombine with soil to provide more nutrients to your lawn.
How to Keep Bermuda Grass Green in Fall
Bermuda grass lawns are typically cultivated in warm regions. In many of these places, fall can feel like a continuation of summer. However, there are some specific mowing and weed control rules to take note of in order to make sure you cultivate a thicker lawn long-term.
Continue Providing Water
Stick to the summer rules for watering your Bermuda lawn in fall. 1.5–2 inches of water per week will allow your grass to keep producing green growth. A lack of water in fall can cause your Bermuda grass to turn brown and enter dormancy early.
Raise Your Mowing Height
Beginning in October, raise your mowing height to 1.25 inches (3 cm). By allowing your Bermuda to grow a little longer in fall, it will become better prepared for winter weather. This means your lawn will be less damaged by cold weather, allowing it to green up faster the following spring.
Consider a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
If you live in a region beset by winter weeds such as poa annua, dandelions, and chickweed, spread a pre-emergent herbicide in fall. Timing your pre-emergent herbicide is essential, but this pre-emergent is great for Bermuda lawns. Spread it in fall according to the directions on the bag. It will stop weeds from sprouting, allowing your lawn grass to thrive late into the year. If you allow weeds to sprout, they’ll steal water and nutrients from your grass, which can cause it to turn brown.
Winter Bermuda Lawn Care for Green and Dormant Yards
If you’ve taken care of your lawn in spring, summer, and fall, the winter months should be a breeze. In most regions, Bermuda grass turns brown as it enters dormancy. Even in regions where it does remain green, Bermuda’s growth slows as temperatures drop. Here’s how to take care of your unique lawn in winter.
How to Care for Dormant Bermuda Grass in Winter
Once your lawn starts to enter dormancy, cease mowing. Mowing a dormant lawn can damage the grass and make it susceptible to fungal disease. Then, cut back on watering. Dormant Bermuda grass only needs 1 inch of water every 3–4 weeks. If you’re getting at least this much water from rain, you don’t need to water more yourself.
- Stop mowing once Bermuda grass begins to show signs of dormancy (brown blades).
- Provide 1 inch of water every 3–4 weeks to dormant grass.
- Do not fertilize a dormant lawn.
There’s no need to fertilize dormant Bermuda grass. So, enjoy the break from lawn care. By caring for your lawn throughout the growing season, you’ll encourage lateral growth and thicker grass. This means your lawn will have stored energy for a vibrant green-up in early spring.
How to Care for Non-Dormant Bermuda Grass in Winter
During winter, even a non-dormant Bermuda lawn slows its growth. Continue mowing at a height of 1.25 inches, but reduce mowing frequency to 1–2 times per month. Also, cut watering in half by providing about 1 inch of water in 1 weekly watering session.
- Mow 1–2 times per month.
- Water once weekly, providing about 1 inch of water.
- Fertilize your lawn in late November according to spring and summer guidelines.
- Do not fertilize your lawn from December through February.
If your Bermuda grass doesn’t turn brown, consider applying one more round of organic fertilizer around Thanksgiving. Then, you can cease fertilizing until spring. Winter Bermuda is relatively low maintenance. When cared for with these tips, it will remain green and have faster growth in spring.
How Do You Make Bermuda Greener Year-Round?
Although your Bermuda grass may enter winter dormancy depending on weather patterns in your region, you can do a lot to encourage a green lawn. Scalp and dethatch your lawn in spring to remove dead grass and make way for green blades. Provide ample water and monthly fertilizer applications in summer. For a greener lawn, mow at a height of 0.75 inches during the summer growing season. Once October arrives, mow your lawn at a height of 1.25 inches. Once winter arrives, cut back on watering, pause the fertilizer applications, and wait for that beautiful spring green-up.