How To Properly Mow A Bermuda Grass Lawn

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One of the first jobs of the spring season is to mow your brown Bermuda Grass lawn to remove as much dead top-growth as possible. Set your mower lower than normal at about .5-1 inch. Try to do this after the danger of hard freezes has passed, but before new grass blades emerge. This is usually in mid-March when soil temperatures are around 55 degrees and the Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom. Do not mow below .5 inches or you may damage grass rhizomes and stolons growing near the soil surface. Beg your grass clippings as you mow to remove as much of the debris as possible and prevent thatch accumulations - do not leave the clippings sitting on the soil surface. If you live in the middle or upper South, do not mow your dormant lawn too early. The dormant blades act as insulation and prevent hard freezes from affecting shallow roots and rhizomes.

Your lawn will begin to turn green several weeks later when the soil warms to 60-65 degrees. This is usually in mid-March to mid-April, depending on the weather. Do not mow your lawn lower at this time than you will mow during the rest of the season. Wait until it reaches the recommended height.

There are generally two categories of Bermuda Grass lawns: common Bermuda Grass (like LaPrima and Yukon) and hybrid Bermuda (like Princess and Riviera) Grass. Throughout the growing season, mow common Bermuda Grass at 2 inches and mow hybrid Bermuda Grass at 3/8-1.5 inches.

Once you have determined the correct mowing height of your type of Bermuda Grass, mow frequently and consistently. One of the worst things for a lawn is to allow it to grow tall before you mow again. If you remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time, you will shock your lawn and stall its growth. During the ensuing recovery period, the lawn is more susceptible to stresses like heat, weed competition, and drought.

If you allow your Bermuda Grass to grow much higher than about 3 inches, you will scalp your lawn by removing most of the green portion of the grass when you mow. This is not only ugly, but it is absolutely horrible for your lawn. If compounded by heat and drought, scalping during the summer can kill areas of your lawn. Avoid this at all costs.

With the rise in popularity of golf, people often wonder why their hybrid Bermuda Grass lawn does not look like a hybrid Bermuda Grass golf green. The answer is that it could look like a golf green. Unfortunately, you would need a specialized reel mower with 9-11 blades per reel that can cut at a very low height. Second, the lawn would have to be mowed constantly so that you would not break the 1/3 rule. In fact, golf greens are mowed daily to maintain the grass like a lush green carpet. Even if you lowered your mowing height to a mere .5 inches you would probably need to mow your hybrid Bermuda Grass lawn every 2-3 days.

Allow your Bermuda Grass to grow to 3 inches in the fall in preparation for the cold weather. This extra height will act as insulation for roots, rhizomes and stolons over the winter months. Plan ahead because Bermuda Grass grows slowly in late fall.

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