Bermuda grass is a popular lawn grass that has been planted for decades. It’s often used in conjunction with other types of grass, and has gained popularity because it doesn’t require much maintenance once established.
However, bermuda does need to be cut on occasion to maintain its look. One issue that can arise with bermuda is bare spots due to disease or pests such as chinch bugs. In this blog post we’ll explore how to identify and treat these problems so you don’t end up with an unsightly yard!
10 Reasons for Bare Spots In Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass is susceptible to several insects that can cause bare spots in the lawn. The most common are chinch bugs and sod webworms. See our article on how to control chinch bugs and sod webworms.
Powdery mildew, which causes a white powdery appearance on the leaves, is a common disease of bermuda grass. It can be treated with fungicides. Other diseases include rust, leaf spot and anthracnose (see our article on how to control bermuda grass diseases.)
3. Lawn mower damage
Mowing too low or mowing when the grass is wet can both lead to lawn mower damage that creates bare spots in your lawn. Use sharp blades and avoid cutting when the grass is wet for best results. For more information, see our guide on how to prevent lawn mower damage in your lawn.
4. Improper watering
Watering too much or too little can both lead to bare spots in your lawn due to plant stress, particularly during periods of high temperatures or drought conditions (see our guide on how often you should water your lawn.) Watering during midday hours will help reduce plant stress as well as water use since less water will evaporate from the soil surface than if you were watering in the morning before sunrise or later in the day after sunset when evaporation rates are higher.)
5. Chlorine bleach
Using chlorine bleach around plants can burn leaves and stems of plants including bermuda grass; it’s best not to use this type of bleach around plants unless you’re sure it won’t harm them (see our article on how chlorine bleach works). If you do use it around plants, make sure it’s diluted with water first so that there’s less chlorine per volume of solution; otherwise you may cause burning rather than killing bacteria or algae that might be present in your garden area.)
6. Salt burn
Using too much salt near bermuda grass plants can result in burning of leaves and stems; avoid using salt near these types of plants unless absolutely necessary (for example, if there’s an ice storm and snow/ice is covering the ground). Also avoid using deicing agents like calcium chloride near turfgrass areas since they may contain salts that could burn the roots of nearby plants.)
7. Soil compaction
When the soil is compacted, air and water cannot move through it as easily; this can lead to plant stress and cause some plants to die. For more information about how to prevent soil compaction, see our guide on how to control lawn compaction.
Too much nitrogen fertilizer can burn plants including bermuda grass; avoid over-fertilizing your lawn (see our article on how much fertilizer do I need for my lawn?) or use a slow-release type of fertilizer that’s lower in nitrogen.)
9. Low mowing height
Mowing your grass too low can encourage weeds by allowing them to grow taller than the grass (see our guide on how often should you mow your lawn.)
10. Lawn pests
Grubs are common insects that feed on the roots of turfgrass plants including bermuda grass; they may cause brown patches in the lawn due to their feeding activity (see our guide on how to control grubs in your lawn.)
Preventing Bermuda Grass from Getting Bare Spots
Here’s 5 ways on how to prevent your bermuda grass lawn from getting bare spots:
Watering your bermuda grass lawn regularly will help to prevent bare spots in the lawn. Watering 3-4 times a week for about 10 minutes each time is sufficient. Don’t overwater your lawn as this will cause the grass to develop shallow roots which will make the lawn more prone to drought and wind damage.
Fertilizing your bermuda grass lawn regularly will help prevent bare spots in the lawn. Fertilize once a month with a slow release fertilizer such as Milorganite or Osmocote (slow release fertilizers are better than liquid fertilizers because they won’t burn your grass).
Mowing your bermuda grass lawn properly will help prevent bare spots in the lawn. Mow at least every 5 days during summer and every 7-10 days during winter, depending on how fast your grass grows during those seasons.
Make sure you mow high enough so that you don’t cut off more than 1/3 of the blade of grass each time you mow (this means most of the blade should be left on top). This is important because cutting more than 1/3 of the blade off each time you mow can damage your grass and cause it to grow weakly and thin out over time.
Seeding bare spots in your bermuda grass lawn will help prevent them from getting worse over time if done correctly. You should seed new areas by broadcasting seed evenly over the area, watering lightly after seeding, then lightly raking to ensure good seed to soil contact before watering again (you want good seed to soil contact so that germination is successful).
Then water daily until sprouts appear, then water less frequently but deeper so that roots can develop well into the soil (you want deep roots so that when there’s drought or wind damage, they’ll still be able to get enough moisture from deeper down in the soil).
Thatch removal is an important step for keeping bermuda grass healthy and preventing bare spots from developing in your bermuda turfgrass lawns over time if done properly (it’s just like removing dead leaves from a flower bed – it’s not something you do once and forget about; it needs to be done regularly). Thatch is basically dead plant material that builds up below ground level after years.
How do you fix thin Bermuda grass?
Here’s how you can fix thin bermuda grass:
Thin bermuda grass is a common problem. It’s caused by over fertilizing, watering too much, and/or not mowing high enough.
When you fertilize your lawn, it’s best to use slow release fertilizer so that it can be spread out over time. This will help prevent the sudden growth of grass that causes thin spots. Watering too much also causes thin spots in bermuda grass because the roots are constantly being hit with water. This eventually kills the roots off and makes the grass weak and susceptible to sunburn.
To fix thin bermuda grass, you’ll need to stop watering so much and mow higher. Mowing high will help keep the soil cooler and prevent sunburn on your lawn. To get rid of thin spots in your lawn you’ll need to overseed those areas with new seed. You may want to consider using a pre-emergent weed control product before you sow new seed as well as after germination for about 2 weeks or until new seedlings have grown about an inch tall.