If your Bermuda grass is lacking a healthy and full appearance, it needs overseeding. Overseeding is a straightforward way to turn your brown yard around. Overseeding consists of just 9 easy steps.
When to Overseed a Bermuda Grass Lawn
Bermuda grass is a warm-season turf, meaning that it begins growing in the spring and later summer. Overseeding should take place during the peak growing season for best results. Planting during dormant seasons will yield minimal results.
Frost and extreme heat are the two main enemies of grass seed. It is essential to ensure that the last threat of frost has passed before planting any new Bermuda grass seed. Likewise, sweltering heat will stunt growth and damage grass seed.
You should avoid extreme temperatures when planning your planting window. Below is a general guide on the best times to plant Bermuda grass seed in your USDA Climate Zone. Please note that the dates below are only suggestions. Check weather forecasts for your location when selecting a planting date.
Suggested Overseeding Dates for Bermuda Grass
|Zone||Last Frost Date||Suggested Planting Window|
|6||April 10 – 20||April 25 – May 20|
|7||March 20 – April 1||April 10 – May 15|
|8||March 10 – 25||April 5 – May 20|
|9||February 15 – March 1||March 20 – April 25|
|10||February 1 -March 1||March 15 – April 25|
Nine Easy Steps to Overseed a Bermuda Grass Lawn
1. Remove Leaves, Pine Needles, and Trash
Clear the lawn of any leaves or other debris that may be resting on the turf. Removing pine straw and other debris will ensure a more even seed application. Ridding the yard of any obstacles will also increase seed-to-soil contact once the Bermuda grass seeds are spread.
2. Go Low with the Mower
A Bermuda lawn should be cut to a height of one inch before overseeding. Giving the turf a close will increase the likelihood of the seed making it into the soil. Longer grass blades are prone to tangle fresh seeds. Bag all clipping from the preparation cut. Bagged clippings may be used as cover later in the overseeding process. Ejecting clippings back onto the yard can interfere with seed application, reducing seed-to-soil contact.
3. Prepare the Soil
Well-established lawns may need to be aerated before overseeding. If the soil is compact or clumpy in places, the clumps will need to be broken up. Fork and plug aerators are excellent at loosening soil and eliminating pesky thatch.
If full-scale aeration is not possible, a metal rake will suffice. Using a metal rake, scratch the top layer of soil below the grass. Loosen any clumps or packed areas. Vigorous force can be applied to the soil and grass as long as large amounts of turf are not being damaged. Opening up and loosening the ground will give the Bermuda grass seeds a more inviting environment to germinate.
4. Choose the Bermuda Seeds and a Spreader
Seeds are sold in coated and uncoated varieties. Choosing the best seed for your application can be daunting, but we suggest using a coated seed. Coated seeds have improved ballistics are shown to germinate more than their uncoated counterparts. Coated seeds are more expensive, but the increased germination and rapid growth more than make up for the price difference.
If you are overseeding a small lawn or are overseeding a small area of turf, a handheld spreader may be enough. If the area is more than one-quarter of an acre, it is suggested to use a walk-behind broadcast spreader. Make sure to pay attention to the application rate settings for your particular model to prevent applying too much or too little seed.
5. Apply the Seed
Think out your path before applying. Following a set pattern when applying Bermuda grass seed can keep from overlapping seed. Overlapping passes leads to unwanted designs in the yard and wasted seed. Most walk-behind broadcasters recommend a pace to push them and broadcast settings for overseeding.
6. Cover the Bermuda Grass Seed
Covering the freshly applied Bermuda grass seed with dirt, sand, or lawn clippings will go a long way in helping them to grow. Cover the seeds with no more than 1/8th of an inch of material after spreading. The material helps protect the young seeds from the elements. Cover materials will also retain water for the seeds to use during germination. It is crucial not to bury the seeds as it leads to reduced growth and rotting.
Apply a 15-0-15 fertilizer to the Bermuda grass seed. Fertilizing after application will give the grass seed the nutrients and boos needed for fast germination and growth. Do not apply a weed and feed product or any herbicides for at least eight weeks after overseeding. Always follow application rates and instructions when using a Nitrogen-based fertilizer to grass seeds.
8. Water, Water, Water
Water is a crucial ingredient to overseeding a Bermuda grass lawn. If seeds dry out, they will not germinate. Homeowners should apply two inches of water at least three times a week after overseeding. Soaking applications are preferred to encourage root growth. If temperatures are scorching, Bermuda grass may need more watering. Do not let the soil or seeds dry out. Homeowners may reduce watering frequency if healthy growth is seen up to four weeks after planting.
9. Maintain Bermuda Grass as Normal
After eight or ten solid weeks of growth, regular turf care can resume. Weed and feed fertilizers, along with herbicides, can be applied to the lawn. Standard cuttings can proceed as well. Make sure to cut no lower than two inches for three months after overseeding. Watering can be further reduced or eliminated. The Bermuda grass lawn should continue to receive the normal one-to-one and a quarter inches of water per week.