In order to encourage your Bermuda lawn to choke out weeds naturally, without the aid of weed killers or chemicals, follow these tips:
- Mow Bermuda at a height of 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) to shade weeds.
- Test your soil pH and apply lime as necessary. This will make your lawn less weed-friendly.
- Fertilize Bermuda grass monthly during the growing season to promote weed-choking growth.
- Water Bermuda grass twice weekly, to promote healthy growth and disease-free grass.
- Dethatch your lawn to allow grass to grow more thickly and crowd out weeds.
Each of these methods requires only natural compounds and remedies. By following this guide, you will grow a healthier Bermuda lawn and eliminate weeds at the same time.
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5 Methods to Choke Out Weeds in Bermuda Grass Naturally
Rather than attack weeds with chemical sprays that can be harmful to your grass or garden plants, you can encourage your Bermuda lawn to eliminate weeds on its own. Because it grows so thickly, Bermuda is one of the few types of grass that can be cultivated as a barrier against weeds. Here’s how to do it:
Raise Your Mowing Height
Bermuda is often mowed at a height of 1–1.5 (2.5–4 cm) inches. However, this allows a lot of light to reach the soil and may encourage weed seeds to sprout. To deny sunlight to these weeds:
- Mow Bermuda at a blade height of 2–2.5 (5–6.5 cm) inches.
- Mow weekly, to encourage grass to grow thickly at this height.
This simple first step allows your lawn to soak up all the sun and starve invasive seedlings of sunlight. Once you do this, you’re on your way to choking out weeds in your lawn.
Balance Soil pH
Weeds like dandelions, horsetail, and plantains love acidic soil. Meanwhile, grass flourishes in a less acidic environment. You can boost grass growth and hinder weeds by amending your soil’s pH with natural lime. To do so, follow these steps:
- Use a soil pH tester to determine your soil’s acidity level.
- Bermuda grass grows well in soil with a pH of 5.8–7.
- pH below 5.8 is acidic, meaning Bermuda will struggle and many weed species will thrive.
- To raise pH (reduce acidity), apply calcitic lime according to bag rates and instructions.
Lime is pulverized limestone and contains no artificial chemicals. Using lime to raise the soil pH and reduce acidity is a natural way to make your lawn more friendly for grass growth and less survivable for invasive weeds. By strengthening the lawn and weakening weeds, you make the invaders much easier to choke out.
Fertilize Bermuda Grass Frequently
Bermuda is a hungry grass. It grows thick and fast, which makes it great for conquering weeds, but all that growth requires fuel. Bermuda benefits from monthly fertilization during the summer growing months (May–September).
- Fertilize once per month in the peak growing season (summer months)
- Follow a hybrid fertilization program to drive big springtime growth boosts.
- To stay natural and prevent grass burn and death from fertilizer overload, use a sustainable fertilizer, like Milorganite.
This step goes hand in hand with balancing soil pH, as frequent fertilization can cause soil acidity to rise. By taking care of both these matters, you set your grass up for success and allow it to drive out weeds.
Follow a Bermuda Watering Schedule
- Water Bermuda twice per week, providing 0.5–1 (1.25–2.5 cm) inch per watering session (30–60 minutes with a sprinkler).
- Water in the early morning to prevent water evaporation.
- Watering infrequently and deeply encourages deeper roots and stronger grass.
Do not water daily. If your Bermuda grass seems dry, increase the duration of your twice-weekly watering sessions. Watering daily encourages shallow roots and weak grass, and boosts the rate at which weed seeds sprout.
Dethatch Your Bermuda
All that growth from fertilizer and water leads to Bermuda’s greatest weakness: thatch. The thatch layer is made up of dead Bermuda runners and stems that decompose very slowly. If you don’t dethatch, your grass will struggle and become patchy, and weeds will invade.
- Plan to scalp your Bermuda lawn in spring, to remove excess thatch.
- Dig up a small portion of your lawn to measure thatch thickness. If the thatch layer is more than 0.5 inches thick, it’s time to dethatch your Bermuda.
- Rent a dethatcher from your hardware store and follow our guide to dethatching your Bermuda lawn.
By getting rid of the dead thatch that sponges up water and fertilizer, preventing it from reaching your grass roots, you give your lawn an instant boost. Don’t worry if your lawn looks thinner after dethatching. In the long run, your Bermuda will come back thicker, stronger, and weed-proof.
How Can You Get Bermuda Grass to Choke Out Weeds?
Encouraging Bermuda grass to choke out weeds is all about taking measures to ensure your Bermuda grass grows thicker. By mowing high, fertilizing, watering, amending the soil pH, and dethatching, you make a lawn that’s fit for Bermuda but won’t encourage weeds. A thick Bermuda lawn naturally resists weeds and chokes out invasive plants as they sprout.
Although weeds in Bermuda can make you want to reach for the herbicide, if you remain patient you can cultivate a Bermuda lawn that throttles weeds and leaves you with a pristine yard.