What Is Bermuda Grass? Everything You Need to Know for a Healthy, Green Lawn

Staci Parks
Written by Staci Parks
Updated March 13, 2023
An old bench in a french garden
Photo: Pascale Gueret / Adobe Stock

You don’t have to live in Bermuda to enjoy this warm-weather grass

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If you’re searching for the perfect warm-season grass to add to your backyard, it’s no surprise that you’re considering Bermuda grass.

Some grass types thrive throughout the summer heat better than others, such as Bermuda grass. Read on to learn more about Bermuda grass, how to properly care for it, and the different types.

What Is Bermuda Grass?

Bermuda grass is one type of warm-season grass, meaning it appears most lush in the late spring and summer. During cold months, Bermuda turf turns dormant and brown. But if you live in a fairly frost-free climate, you won’t have to worry about your lawn losing its vibrancy for a few months out of the year.

This grass type is admired for its durability and resiliency against plenty of foot traffic, making it a very popular option for athletic fields, golf courses, and homes. 

Fun fact: Bermuda grass has an extensive list of nicknames. Though its scientific name is Cynodon dactylon, you may see this type of grass referred to as Dhoob, ethana grass, devil’s grass, dog’s tooth grass, scutch grass, or wiregrass.

Genus:Cynodon Rich

What Does Bermuda Grass Look Like?

At its best, Bermuda grass has a powerful light-to-dark green color and a medium texture. Its compact leaves have a sharp point and often have small hairs where the leaf blade meets the leaf sheath. Bermuda grass has a recognizable seed head that resembles a bird’s foot. Also, it spreads laterally thanks to its hardy system of above- and below-ground stems that assist its rapid growth.

Pros and Cons of Bermuda Grass

Many of Bermuda grass’ pros and cons overlap, depending on geographic location. What makes the grass beloved in warmer climates makes it a lackluster nuisance in cooler climates. For example, in some areas of the United States, Bermuda grass is often used to coat exquisite golf courses and athletic fields, while it’s considered an invasive weed in Northern states where it can spread onto cracks in sidewalks. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of Bermuda grass.

Pros of Bermuda Grass

  • High sun, heat, and drought tolerance: Bermuda grass prefers direct sunlight and can withstand daytime temperatures upward of 100 degrees. Plus, its deep roots help it endure periods of drought.

  • Resilience: This grass’ extensive root system gives it the ability to handle heavy use, including significant foot traffic, making it ideal for lawns and athletic fields.

  • Rapid growth rate: Bermuda grass grows fast and spreads quickly, which can be helpful if there are brown patches in your lawn.

Cons of Bermuda Grass

  • Low cold tolerance: In cooler temps, Bermuda grass can weaken and go dormant, turning a dull brown hue. You’ll also notice slowed growth when it’s colder.

  • Shade intolerance: Bermuda grass may not be the right choice for your lawn if you have several trees in your yard. This grass type needs direct sunlight, so you might find thin spots in heavily shaded areas. 

  • Rapid growth rate: You may find yourself mowing more often with this type of grass. It can also aggressively spread into more curated areas, such as flowerbeds.

Types of Bermuda Grass

There are two categories of Bermuda grass: common and hybrid. Common, or seeded, Bermuda grass is the more predominant type. Hybrid Bermuda grass, or sterile vegetative hybrids, is a cross-product of common Bermuda grass and African Bermuda grass. 

Check out these varieties of hybrid Bermuda grasses that are ideal for home lawns.

  • Blackjack: With a dense green color and a carpet-like density, this grass is a homeowner favorite. This grass is also more tolerant of cooler temperatures than other Bermuda grass varieties. 

  • Ormond: You’ll recognize this grass from its bluish hue and small, thin leaves. It can withstand different lawn diseases, but it cannot tolerate cold temperatures.  

  • Yuma: A fine leaf texture and emerald hue gives this variety a luxe look. Yuma can handle full sun exposure but has a slightly stunted growth, as compared to other Bermuda varieties.

  • GN-1: Aggressive lateral growth allows this variety to recuperate quickly. GN-1 is identifiable by its dark green color.

  • Tiflawn: This hybrid emerged in 1952 and is a solid choice for recreational areas. Dense with a dark color, Tiflawn has a healthy growth rate and recuperates fast.

  • Tifway: This medium-textured version has a higher pest tolerance than other Bermuda grass varieties.

How to Grow Bermuda Grass at Home

Close up of a lawn full of Bermuda grass
Photo: Jennifer / Adobe Stock

There are a few different ways you can plant Bermuda grass around your home. The most popular approaches to incorporating this turf into home landscaping are sodding, seeding, and grass plugs. 

If you enjoy instant gratification, sodding will get you a clean, full lawn the quickest. Keep in mind that the average cost of sod installation is $2,000 on average. If you have the time to tend to your yard, you might consider spreading Bermuda grass seeds or planting grass plugs. Both seeds and grass plugs will require patience before you start to see the intended green results.

When to Plant Bermuda Grass 

For optimal results, you should plant Bermuda grass in the late spring. New Bermuda sod, seed, and grass plugs thrive best when frost no longer poses a threat and temperatures remain upwards of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Ideal warm and dry conditions will allow grass seed to germinate within a week. Testy conditions will cause grass seed germination to take roughly three weeks or longer. You can expect your fresh lawn to fully grow within three months.

How to Care for Bermuda Grass

Whether you’re a DIY-er or prefer to hire lawn care experts, it’s going to take more than the earth’s elements to keep your grass looking neat. Follow these additional steps to maintain your yard’s pristine condition.


Bermuda grass grows best with lots of sunlight. It requires at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Inadequate light means inadequate photosynthesis for this grass type.

There are a few ways a Bermuda lawn will indicate it’s not getting enough light. It will either start to thin out, grow elongated leaves or stems, or suffer from turf disease, as its resistance to infection decreases with less sunlight. If your lot primarily experiences low light, you may be better off with a different type of grass. 


Bermuda grass grows well in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6 to 7, and it can tolerate a pH of 5.5. Conduct a soil test to check out the pH levels and present nutrients. If the soil tests higher than a pH of 7, you can apply sulfur to lower it, especially if you’re about to plant Bermuda grass.


Bermuda grass is best suited for warmer climates with milder winters. Temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit can kill the grass’ leaves and stems, and average temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit will halt growth and cause discoloration. There is not a singular, universal approach to caring for Bermuda grass, but there are things you can do throughout the year—no matter the climate—to help it develop and flourish. No matter the climate, Bermuda grass needs direct sunlight, fertilization, and semi-frequent watering.


Bermuda grass has a considerably high growth rate. To properly upkeep your yard’s appearance, it’s important to mow it at least once a week. Neglecting to mow your lawn can quickly turn it into an unsightly overgrown landscape.

If you’re unable to add another task to your weekly schedule, you might consider opting for professional services. The cost of a professional lawn-mowing service is anywhere from $50 to $210, depending on the size of your yard.


Lawn aeration removes thatch, loose materials in your lawn existing between the soil and grass vegetation. While some thatch is fine for your land, a buildup can disrupt grass from absorbing water, oxygen, and fertilizer. Too much thatch also increases your chances of dealing with harmful vegetation diseases and pests.

Aerating your lawn grants its soil a healthier exchange of gasses with the air. Soil releases carbon dioxide and essentially breathes in fresh oxygen. The process of lawn aeration also reduces runoff and puddling, enabling your grass roots to experience a better intake of both water and fertilizer. The easier your yard can absorb water and fertilizer, the easier it will be to maintain it. Since Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass, it’s best to aerate when the weather starts to warm up.  


Bermuda grass has a high tolerance for drought, but that doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable. If it doesn’t receive an appropriate amount of water, it can turn brown, leaving your lawn looking neglected.

Fortunately, you can preserve your home’s curb appeal by providing Bermuda grass with the recommended amounts of water per season, as listed below.

  • Spring: ½–¾ inch per week

  • Summer: 1–1½ inches per week

  • Fall: 1 inch of water every month

  • Winter: 1 inch of water every month

Watering your yard adequately each season fosters strong, deep roots for your grass. The deeper your Bermuda grass roots, the more nutrients they can pull from the soil, boosting the appearance and livelihood of your grass. 


Fertilization reduces weeds and improves overall growth for your lawn, as it strengthens roots for greater water absorption. Better absorption prevents flooding certain spots in your lawn and creating bare dirt spots throughout your sod.

Commercial fertilizers have varying quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The balance of these three elements is known as the NPK ratio. For Bermuda grass, look for an NPK ratio that’s high in nitrogen, offers little to no phosphorus, and has a minimal amount of potassium. For example, a 21-3-6 ratio would work well for a Bermuda lawn.

As warm weather approaches, use a quick-release fertilizer until your lawn appears full and green. Then, switch to a slow-release grass fertilizer to avoid an overgrown lawn. Aim to fertilize your grass about once per month.

Insect Control

Warmer weather often invites a variety of insects to your lawn, making insect control a critical step to growing and keeping a thick lawn. The most common insects found in Bermuda grass include:

  • Grub worms

  • Cutworms

  • Sod webworms

  • Fall armyworms

  • Billbugs

  • Mole crickets

  • Fire ants

  • Nematodes

  • Bermuda grass mites

It’s best to stop an insect problem before it starts. Regular maintenance practices can help. For example, keeping a regular mowing schedule keeps insects at bay because there’s less to munch on, and there’s less surface area for insects to lay their eggs. Fertilizing your lawn also helps curb damage from insects. The more your lawn grows, the thicker the surface layer becomes, making it difficult for insects to move.

Common Weeds

Two types of weeds appear in Bermuda grass: grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds. Grassy weeds sprout from a seed and can go undetected for long periods of time. These weeds, which sprout as a single leaf, include crabgrass, nutsedge, and goosegrass, among others. Broadleaf weeds sprout with two leaves, making them obvious and easy to spot. Common broadleaf weeds include purslane, goosefoot, and spurge. The best way to control common weeds is through frequent lawn care, such as mowing, controlling shaded areas, and fertilizing. 

Disease Control

Bermuda grass may be known for its reliability and resilience, but it is also vulnerable to certain fungal diseases. Protect your lawn from diseases by knowing what causes them in the first place. Common diseases found in Bermuda grass include:

  • Rhizoctonia solani: This pathogen causes circular brown and yellow patches. You’ll see this in early spring after prolonged periods of wetness and high humidity.

  • Clarireedia jacksonii: Known as “dollar spot disease,” this disease causes spots the size of a silver dollar, usually appearing in late spring or early summer. Dry soil with low nitrogen levels can cause these spots to appear.

  • Rust: This is often caused by Puccinia cynodontis, which emerges as small, dark brown pustules on grass blades.

  • Spring dead spot: Ophiosphaerella causes circular patches to appear. Usually, these have a bleached appearance.

Bermuda Grass Yearly Schedule

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a Bermuda grass calendar. This grass type has differing reactions to varying temperatures. For the best results, you should follow a seasonal plan. Here are some guidelines:

  • Winter (December, January, February): Clean up any storm debris and fertilize the soil toward the middle of January. Test the soil for any nutrient deficiencies. In late February, start applying pre-emergent herbicide, which prevents germinated weed seedlings from sprouting. 

  • Spring (March, April, May): Start applying fertilizer and insecticide when it gets warmer and insects start emerging. Start mowing the lawn with more frequency toward the end of spring, and pull up any weeds. Apply a preventative fungicide, and start aerating your lawn toward the middle of April.

  • Summer (June, July, August): Ramp up your mowing frequency to a couple of times per week if possible. Stay consistent with fertilizer, and consider irrigating your yard to combat the heat.

  • Fall (September, October, November): Treat your lawn for any worms, and clean up any leaves, acorns, and twigs.

Bermuda Grass vs. Other Types of Grass

Depending on the climate, Bermuda grass can be an excellent contender for your home’s choice of turf. But homeowners have several options when choosing the best grass type for their yard. If you’re having a hard time making a decision, a local lawn service pro can help you weigh your grass type options. Here’s how Bermuda grass stacks up against some of the most popular grass choices.

Bermuda Grass vs. Fescue Grass 

When debating Bermuda grass vs. fescue, These two grasses can endure droughts, but fescue grass can withstand colder temperatures, which cause Bermuda grass to go dormant and turn brown. Bermuda grass is a bit shorter, where fescue grass can grow up to 4 inches tall.

Bermuda Grass vs. Kentucky Bluegrass

These types are fast-growing, self-repairing grasses. Kentucky bluegrass is much softer than Bermuda grass, but both are fairly durable. The main difference is their temperature needs: Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-weather grass, while Bermuda grass is better suited for warmer temperatures. 

Bermuda Grass vs. St. Augustine Grass

Both types are warm-weather grasses, meaning they thrive in warmer temperatures. But you’ll find yourself watering more with St. Augustine grass vs. Bermuda grass. Bermuda grass can handle more foot traffic, while St. Augustine grass is more sensitive.

Bermuda Grass vs. Zoysia Grass

These warm-season grasses are durable and will thrive in the right conditions. But when choosing Bermuda grass vs. Zoysia, Bermuda grass might be the better choice if you’re looking for a faster-growing grass. Zoysia is the lower-maintenance grass out of the two.

Jamie McInerney contributed to this piece.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many homeowners in warmer climates like this resilient, hearty grass because it can tolerate excessive heat and drought, while developing into a lush lawn. Unlike other grasses, Bermuda grass grows and spreads quickly and can withstand excessive foot traffic. But whether Bermuda grass is good for lawns may depend on your geographic location, as this grass has a low tolerance for cooler temperatures, which causes it to go dormant and turn brown in the winter months.

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