As a warm-season grass, Bermuda suits Georgia’s climate well. Provided you plant it when temperatures are above 70 degrees, this grass’ roots will absorb nutrients and establish themselves before winter arrives.
If you wonder when to plant Bermuda grass in Georgia, the planting season extends from March to late July when there’s no frost, though May and June make the best months for gardening. For Bermuda varieties with rhizomes, you can grow them as early as January.
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Best Time to Plant Bermuda Grass in Georgia
- The best time to lay Bermuda sod in Georgia is late spring and early summer, and the same recommendation applies to seeds.
For both mediums, wait until temperatures reach 70 degrees or higher before planting. If the weather is warm enough right after the last frost, you can start laying sod or seeding Bermuda grass a few weeks into spring.
However, if frost has disappeared but outdoor temperatures are under 70 to 80 degrees, wait two months before installing sod or planting Bermuda seed in Georgia. Considering that the state’s final frost is often within March, this means May or June is the best month for gardening.
- If you plan to overseed Bermuda in Georgia, the window for doing so is also spring, around early May. Mix the seeds with play sand to the ratio of 1:5 before sowing them, and give the old grass a growth inhibitor prior to overseeding.
It also helps if you cut your lawn down to ¼ inch to minimize competition and keep the top 0.5 inch of the soil wet until the new turf reaches 1.5 inches in height.
- As for growing grass in the fall, doing so is not a good idea, since Bermuda is a warm-season plant. When outdoor temperatures reach 55℉ or lower, Bermuda roots will not grow at all but die instead, making your work all for naught.
In fact, planting in August or in September promises almost certain death for Bermuda once winter arrives.
Hence, limit your gardening to July at the latest, and even then, be mindful of potential drought and give your grass adequate watering.
If you must plant in the fall, use 24-inch-long tops or stolons with at least six nodes. Stolons are grassroots that appear above ground and may be disked into the soil from June to August.
If you’re growing sprigs rather than seeds, stolons, or sod, it’s possible to acquire the sprigs from the grass you already have or buy the rhizomes yourself.
If you opt for the former method, remove the roots in late winter before plant dormancy ends, around late January to March, then put them in the ground immediately within 24 hours and cover them with two inches of soil.
If planting cannot be done quickly, keep the sprigs under shade in a cool environment, and turn them periodically so that heat doesn’t concentrate in one place and kill the roots. Cover them with a tarp and keep them moist as well, and sow the sprigs within a few days, or they will die.
Note that it’s ideal to start sprigging in February if you can afford to wait. Waiting until spring is also acceptable, but the rhizomes dug during this time will have fewer nutrients to support themselves.
Best Bermuda grass varieties to plant in Georgia
Bermuda grass is available in non-hybrid and hybrid varieties. Hybrid types typically produce higher yields but are propagated from sprigs and stolons rather than seeds.
That said, if you grow Bermuda grass seeds, high-quality cultivars are also available.
The table below lists some Bermuda varieties for Georgia and their characteristics.
|Good for grazing. Equals Tifton 85 in yields but resists drought less well. Good resistance to the cold. Suitable for all of Georgia.
|Taller than most hybrids. Best for the Coastal Plain or Georgia’s southern 2/3rds due to its moderate cold tolerance.
|Thicker than Coastal Bermuda grass. Grows better from sprigs than clippings or stolons. Suitable for northern locations but takes quite long to establish.
|For the Coastal Plain and Lower Piedmont. Tall and drought-resistant but not very cold-hardy.
|Cheyenne & Cheyenne II
|Great for foraging, like Coastal. Most reliable seeded Bermuda in Georgia.
|Seeded, mainly available in blends.
|Similar to Cheyenne in performance (adequate cold resistance and excellent for grazing).
How to Care for Bermuda Grass
Now that you know the best time to seed Bermuda grass, here are some tips to help you care for it after planting.
Water the top inch of the ground before laying Bermuda sod and irrigate once a day thereafter. Give the sod 0.5 inch of moisture daily and ensure the top four inches of the ground stay damp.
If you’re growing Bermuda grass from seed, apply 3/8 or 1/2 inch of water a day after planting–do not give this entire amount at once but water three or four times throughout the day.
After germination time (or five to fourteen days post-seeding), you can double the moisture amount for each watering but keep the total inch of moisture the same. So, you may water the soil two times daily instead of four.
Established grass will need less maintenance, requiring about an inch of water per week.
As for sprigs, daily irrigation for the first week or first ten days is pivotal. Maintain moist but not soggy soil to avoid killing the roots. And wait until there is one or two inches of growth to reduce irrigation.
- Mowing and other requirements
Keep the grass no higher than two inches. You can trim the shoots every week or once every two weeks. However, do not mow the lawn during Bermuda’s dormancy, and remove no more than 30 percent of the grass at once.
At the same time, give your lawn full sun exposure, and aerate it once a year during Bermuda grass’s growing season to ensure nutrients, air, and water can reach the roots.
Before fertilizing, conduct a soil test and adhere to its recommendations. Usually, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sulfur, and magnesium are the most crucial components for soil fertility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just throw down Bermuda grass seed?
Technically, yes. However, grass seeds that aren’t sowed properly may not form strong roots. You may find germination slower as a result, or the grass may need replacement earlier and end up looking patchy.
As for why, the reason for these problems is simple. Throwing the seeds down before checking the pH, aerating the soil, or removing weeds and debris means your seeds have suboptimal conditions to grow in. These will ultimately affect the grass’s health and appearance.
How long does it take for Bermuda grass to grow in Georgia?
Bermuda grass growth rate may be quick or slow, depending on your goal. If germination is the focus, it may take as few as three days or as many as 21 days. Other estimates for establishment time are:
- From seeds to lawn – 5 or 6 weeks (ideally)
- For feeding cattle – 8 to 10 weeks
- For intensive sporting activities or full maturity – two years
Bermuda is a top turfgrass choice for many southern states, thanks to its resilience to high heat and heavy foot traffic. Hopefully, this article helped you decide when to plant Bermuda grass in Georgia, whether you’re using seeds, sod, sprigs, or stolons.
Send us your questions on this topic if you have any. In the meantime, have fun gardening!
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