Bermuda grass is one of the most popular warm-season turf grasses for its aggressive growth rate, hardiness, and vibrant green color, but getting it to grow and spread is often tricky due to its slightly more high-maintenance nature.
Thankfully, we’ve got everything you need to know about getting your Bermuda grass to grow and spread quickly throughout your entire yard with as little hassle as possible.
Just follow this quick and easy guide for a lush, healthy lawn in no time.
Table of Contents
- Bermuda grass seeds from GCI Turf Academy (Available here)
- Soil test kit (Optional; Available here)
- A fertilizer spreader (Available here)
- CarbonX DIY 24-0-4 Fertilizer; 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet (Unavailable on Amazon; Buy here)
Plant Your Bermuda Grass Seeds
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to go ahead and plant your Bermuda grass seeds wherever you want them to grow on your lawn.
If possible, opt for coated seeds, as these are covered in a protective layer that reinforces the seeds, so they have a better germination rate and faster growth overall, and feed them as they grow over time.
It’s best to plant them sometime in mid-to-late spring since this is the active growing season when Bermuda thrives.
If you’re covering bare patches and not starting from scratch, check your lawn and take inventory of these patches, so you know exactly where you’ll be filling them in.
Make sure to remove any weeds or dead grass entirely before adding new seeds.
Ideally, you’ll lightly rake up the area where you want to plant the new Bermuda grass seeds.
The seeds should be at least 1/4″ deep in the soil and covered with a thin layer of additional soil.
Use a spreader if you want to speed the process along or if you’re covering a huge area like the one from Scotts we mentioned above in the Materials Needed section.
After you’ve planted the seeds, carefully and gently rake over them again and make sure they’re covered thoroughly but aren’t too deep in the soil.
If they’re covered with too much soil, you’ll encounter issues with germination, as the seeds won’t be able to push through the layer of dirt.
Tamp down the soil lightly after you’ve covered them with the thin soil layer, but don’t press it down so much to where it becomes hard and compacted, as this will also create issues with germination due to the soil being too stiff and thick for the seeds to push through.
Bermuda grass spreads primarily via stolons, which are like horizontally-growing stems above the ground the growing seeds use to “creep” throughout your yard gradually over time.
Notably, it also spreads via rhizomes, similar to stolons but grow underground rather than on the surface.
This makes it a very aggressively-spreading grass compared to other warm-season grasses, so be sure a Bermuda lawn is what you want in the long term!
If you decide to get rid of it later, it’ll be a tricky endeavor, as Bermuda is tough to kill off and remove from a lawn altogether.
Fortunately, this quality makes Bermuda grass very hardy to the elements and foot traffic.
If you want a choice of seeds, check out our guide to the best Bermuda grass seeds.
Water the New Seeds
After you’ve planted the seeds, you’ll want to water them for the first time.
During the first month or so of growth, you’ll want to water deep and often, or at least twice a day.
A watering depth of around 1″ inch is sufficient while you’re waiting for the seeds to fully sprout and fill in.
Bermuda grows best via seeds rather than sod or plugs, but seeds also take a lot more time and effort to germinate and sprout properly.
With warm-season grasses like Bermuda, it’s best to water your new seeds early in the morning, around 10 AM before the sun is directly overhead, and again later in the evening a few hours before the sun goes down.
By watering early in the morning, your new seed layer will be able to fully absorb the water before the sun has a chance to evaporate it.
Additionally, watering again later in the day when the sun is about to set will allow the seeds to take in a bit more water during this crucial initial growth period.
The seeds will ideally be able to absorb the second watering fully so it doesn’t sit atop the grass overnight, as stagnant water will leave your lawn vulnerable to a wide variety of lawn fungi and diseases.
These frequent, regular waterings will promote faster root growth.
You’ll also want to water the seeds after applying fertilizer every week while the seeds are germinating early on, which we’ll cover in a lot more detail in the next step below.
Once the new seedlings reach an inch or so in height, you’ll be able to go down to one watering session per day, preferably in the morning.
The soil should always be thoroughly damp after watering but not soggy or oversaturated.
Apply A Nitrogen-Heavy Fertilizer
Around 10 days after you’ve planted your Bermuda grass seeds, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for the first time and water it thoroughly and deeply, so it fully saturates and nourishes the growing seeds.
After all, healthy seeds produce healthy stolons and rhizomes, which are essential for encouraging Bermuda grass to spread evenly throughout your yard.
As per the video, you should be applying the fertilizer once a week for the next four weeks to facilitate fast germination and healthy growth.
Like we touched on earlier, about an inch of water per watering session is ideal for Bermuda grass seeds.
Aim to apply the fertilizer early in the morning, around 9:00 to 10:00 AM, so you’ll be able to water it immediately afterward.
We’ll cover the ideal watering schedule once the seeds have sprouted in more detail below.
CarbonX works well for Bermuda grass because this warm-season grass requires very nitrogen-heavy soil to grow in thick and healthy.
CarbonX has an NPK ratio of 24-0-4, making it extremely rich in nitrogen with no phosphorus and a small amount of potassium.
Although CarbonX is one of the best overall choices, checking your soil quality will give you a more comprehensive idea of what will work best for your specific situation in case, your lawn needs more phosphorus and potassium than normal.
We’ve included a link to a reliable and inexpensive soil test kit in the Materials Needed section above if you’re interested in assessing your soil quality.
Bermuda grass is hardy to the elements, especially sunlight, foot traffic, and droughts, but the proper fertilizer is essential in keeping it looking green, thick, and healthy.
Fertilizer is also essential for encouraging Bermuda to spread.
Even though this type of grass is a notoriously aggressive spreader, your lawn will still look patchy and brown without the right fertilizer and watering regimen.
Check out other options for great Bermuda grass fertilizers.
Pro Tip: We recommend using a fertilizer spreader like Scotts’ Elite Spreader listed above in the Materials Needed section, even if you only want to cover a small area.
It’s one of the more accurate, lightweight, and easy-to-use spreaders on the market, thanks to its durable plastic tires with thick treads, dual rotors for thorough coverage, and its large holding capacity.
This spreader is able to hold 20,000′ square feet of fertilizer, meaning you won’t need to stop and fill it up very often.
Water the Fertilizer Every Time
Your seeds should start to sprout within a week or two after you’ve planted them, and you should have applied your first round of fertilizer around this time as well (or, more specifically, about 10 days after planting the seeds).
As we briefly mentioned in the Materials Needed section, about four pounds of fertilizer per 1,000′ square feet is just right for most lawns.
Each time you apply the fertilizer, immediately water it deeply and thoroughly; about an inch of water per watering session is best.
There will be four total applications of the fertilizer during this stage.
Again, be sure to apply the fertilizer and water it early in the morning, so the seeds are able to absorb them before the sun evaporates their vital nutrients.
A follow-up watering later in the early evening will also keep the seeds and grass roots fed through the night.
Once the seeds have fully grown in and have reached at least an inch or so in height, you’ll then be able to reduce the fertilizing regimen to once per month rather than once per week.
Stick to early morning fertilizing and watering during this stage, too.
As the seeds are growing, you’ll want to focus on three things: food, water, and (eventually) mowing.
While the seeds are still germinating, adequate food and water are absolutely essential.
Monitor them closely to keep an eye on any developing sparse patches or other issues so you’ll be able to address them as promptly as possible to prevent any damage from pests and fungal diseases.
The fertilizer will speed up the process of germination and ensure your seeds are getting the nutrients, in particular nitrogen, which they need to not only grow in thick and vibrant but also spread efficiently throughout your entire lawn.
If you’ve used a high-quality spreader to plant your grass seeds and spread fertilizer, you shouldn’t run into too many issues with bare patches or uneven coverage.
However, it’s still essential to visually monitor the growth process, especially during the first month or two.
Wait and Monitor Growth
You’ll start to notice vertical growth as well as lateral growth after about a month.
The exact day you apply it every week doesn’t really matter–what does matter, however, is being consistent with your schedule through the entire process to maintain the ideal conditions for healthy growth.
Applying the same amount of water and fertilizer each time is vital to keeping your seeds healthy and maintaining a vibrant green lawn.
Like with the previous step, keep checking on the growth for any developing bare patches, so you’re able to promptly treat and overseed them.
Avoid sod or plugs, as tempting as they are to minimize the effort needed, as Bermuda spreads best via seeds.
Once your Bermuda grass is more than an inch tall, stick to about an inch of water per week.
Fertilize monthly with your CarbonX fertilizer or another nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
Sandier, drier soils will need slightly more water, or about 1/2″ of water every couple of days.
Start Mowing Once It Reaches 3″ Inches
Over the next few weeks, if you’ve been consistent and thorough with your watering and fertilizing schedule, your Bermuda grass will grow fairly quickly and start spreading rapidly throughout your yard.
You’ll be able to mow it for the first time once it reaches about 3″ inches in height.
For Bermuda in particular, a mowing height of around 1.5″ inches is recommended.
Make sure to use sharp mower blades every time to prevent tearing or damaging the grass blades.
Damaged grass blades are far more susceptible to lawn fungi and diseases.
From there, you’ll be able to keep watering and fertilizing regularly, as detailed in the previous step.
Good luck with your lush new Bermuda grass lawn!
Video Instructions and Timestamps
- 0:10 – Planting Bermuda Grass Seed
- 0:40 – Checking For Bare Spots Needing Coverage
- 1:30 – Discussing Bermuda Grass: Overview and Details Re: Maintenance
- 1:48 – Discussing Details Re: Nitrogen Fertilizer
- 2:10 – Discussing Applying CarbonX Fertilizer 10 Days Post-Planting Grass Seeds
- 2:20 – Details About How Bermuda Spreads (Stolons)
- 2:58 – Details About Bermuda’s Growing Season
- 3:20 – Covering How Much CarbonX Fertilizer You’ll Need and When to Apply (Roughly 4 LBs per 1,000 square feet)
- 3:40 – Details Re: Fertilizing Routine (Weekly For Four Weeks)
- 3:50 – Watering in Fertilizer/What Time to Water
- 4:00 – The Importance of Feeding Bermuda Grass
- 4:30 – Tutorials For Other Grasses