Bermuda Not 'Greening Up'

kristinainaustin(7)April 17, 2012

To make a long story short, my husband and I purchased our house almost a year ago. We fertilized the grass (newly laid "sod") once last summer with a "weed and feed". We kept the grass as high as possible (Oops!) and ended up with a constant pile of dead grass clippings all over the yard once we realized our mistake. We tried "de-thatching" over the winter and I think we finally got rid of most of the dead grass clippings. Now we're trying to do things the "right" way, but the grass just isn't "greening up" (especially compared to the majority of the yards in our neighborhood, which look remarkably green compared to our's)! Here is what we've done so far:

* Alfalfa pellets after the first mow (with a "regular" bagging mower at the lowest setting) in March

* Soybean meal at the beginning of April

* We haven't watered yet as we've had some rain here and there

* We're mowing at the lowest setting with a seven blade American Lawn Mower reel mower every three to four days

I've included a few pictures as well (Hope they work!). They are of our front yard, which I think faces East. Our back yard gets more sun and looks slightly better. Is this just a waiting game? Or is there something more that needs to be done? Did we kill our grass (Ha!)? We are in zone seven, I believe, central Arkansas.

Thank you for your help!

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grasshole

You are at a disadvantage to your neighbors because they are probably using a synthetic fertilizer.

Bermuda, especially hybrids, are notoriously hungry. And organic fertilizers are notoriously slow at feeding. You can keep plugging away, and one day, some year, it will start to turn in your favor and your soil biology will be up to snuff to feed your hybrid bermuda.

Or you could google the bermuda bible by texasweed and get results now.

Either way is your right way. No wrong answers. I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other.

The other thing is your AR weather. A lot of places are having trouble getting past 65 today.

Give it time. Warm weather is our friend, and it will be here soon enough and we'll be cussing our bermuda because it is growing an inch a day.

How is that mower working out for you? Thought about buying one of those models for myself.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:07PM
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grasshole

Oh, and I'd venture to guess your neighbors are maintaining their bermuda a lot taller than a 1/2".

That extra leaf surface from the taller grass can make things look a lot greener up top, but on a hybrid bermuda will make the grass thin out.

Stay the course with your low mowing and it will repay you with a thicker lawn than your neighbors.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:25PM
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david_tx(7a North Texas)

I agree with grasshole. Bermuda loves hot weather and it just isn't hot enough yet for it to do well. I'm south of you and our high temps are only in the upper 70s to mid 80s with night temps still dipping near 50. My lawn still looks a lot like yours. The neighbors' lawns look much greener but they are mowing much higher.

I've had great success with organic fertilizer and Tif419. It does take a few weeks for organic fertilizers to kick in. I use Corn Gluten Meal at a rate of 10 lbs/1000 ft monthly starting in late February. Some months, I'll use soybean or cotton seed meal instead. I also mow at a quarter inch and I get nothing but awestruck looks when people see my lawn for the first time.

Just stay the course and give it a little time. By mid to late May, you'll be fine.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:13PM
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kristinainaustin(7)

Thank you for your replies. :) The mower is great, but I don't have much to compare it to. I'm a twenty-something, average-sized female and can push it around with ease. My husband does the majority of the mowing, though, and no complaints from him! Other than a few weird looks from people when he's using it. :P

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 4:01PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Waiting game. There are a limited number of things you can do to bermuda to bump it in the spring.

What you are doing is much improved. Thanks for doing your homework! Bermuda Bible will finish your quest for information.

DO NOT WORRY about your neighbors. You are doing it right and will have much MUCH less hassle than they will over the course of a year.

The Bermuda Bible will tell you to use chemical fertilizers for optimum results. If you decide to do that I would urge you to continue with organic fertilizers all along the way. The chemical ferts strip away the organic microbes in the soil simply by not feeding them. Organic fertilizer will feed them and keep them working for you. I think the dual approach to bermuda is better than either one or the other.

If you realize your lawn surface needs to be leveled for better mower results, we can help you with that, too. There is more discussion about leveling on the regular lawn forum.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 5:42PM
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grasshole

How's it looking now? I suspect quite a bit better now.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:20PM
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