If you’re looking for a hearty turfgrass that can withstand the harsh conditions of summer, fescue is a great choice! It is one of the most common turfgrass species in North America and can be found thriving on golf courses, football fields, parks, and many residential lawns.
Although it has a relatively short life span due to its susceptibility to diseases like purple mite, it is highly drought-resistant and ideal for hot, dry climates.
Unfortunately, bermuda grass can be a major problem for fescue lawns. This pest is incredibly aggressive and can quickly outcompete the less-vigorous fescue if allowed to spread.
If you want to keep your lawn looking lush and healthy, you will need to take steps to rid yourself of this noxious intruder. Fortunately, there are a number of effective strategies to kill off this pesky weed and reclaim your fescue turf.
Can You Kill Bermuda Grass Without Killing Fescue?
To eradicate Bermuda grass from your lawn, selective herbicides are the most effective option. These special herbicides will not harm the fescue, but for optimal effectiveness, it should be applied at the peak moment of growth in either spring or fall.
If used correctly, these herbicides can effectively kill Bermuda grass without any collateral damage to other areas of your lawn. Although using a selective herbicide may take a bit more time and effort on your part, the results will be well worth it when you witness a lush, healthy lawn, free of weed and pest invasion.
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Applying herbicides too early or late in the season may not offer the intended results, or any results at all. Moreover, if your fescue is already established and in a healthy state, it may out-compete any Bermuda grass that appears, obviating the need for herbicides.
As such, it’s worth considering whether their application is necessary prior to taking action. Additionally, if your fescue is particularly thick, chances are you won’t have to do anything as it will be strong enough to protect itself from any competing weeds.
Some Tips on Killing Bermuda Grass In Fescue
Here are 5 tips on how to kill bermuda grass in a fescue lawn:
1. Mow high, mow often.
One of the best ways to eradicate Bermuda grass from a fescue lawn is to chop it off at the roots. To do this, start by setting your mower blades as high as possible and mowing your entire lawn.
The high clippings will create a layer of mulch that has the ability to smother the Bermuda grass and prevent it from coming back.
Alternatively, you can use a mulching mower to break the grass clippings into smaller fragments, which can spread more easily across your lawn and further inhibit the growth of Bermuda. In either case, the goal is to cut off the Bermuda grass at the roots to ensure complete elimination.
2. Fertilize properly.
In order to ensure your fescue grass flourishes, the next step is to fertilize your lawn appropriately. This will help the fescue to grow with strength and vigor and outcompete the bermuda grass.
To succeed, you will need a thick, healthy stand of fescue that can prevent bermuda grass from returning. This means that after cutting off Bermuda grass growth at ground level with your mower or trimmer, fescue roots must reach deep and wide, blocking bermuda grass from growing back up again.
Fertilization is essential for helping fescue to achieve and maintain this dense coverage.
3. Use herbicides correctly.
If you are looking for a more environmentally-friendly way to control the growth of Bermuda grass in your fescue lawn, then it is best to use other methods such as hand weeding, mowing, and aeration.
Hand weeding can help remove existing plants while mowing can help prevent germination of new ones. Aeration can help keep soil loose, allowing your desired turfgrass to thrive.
When using any of these methods, it is recommended to wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles to protect yourself from debris and ensure your safety.
It is important to regularly monitor your lawn for signs of infestation. If you do decide to use herbicides, make sure you do your research on the best product for your situation and always read and follow the instructions carefully. Furthermore, never mix different types of chemicals together as this can be incredibly dangerous!
4. Rototill / Aerate / Cultivate.
For those looking to get rid of bermudagrass in a fescue lawn, renting rototillers, core-aerators and spike-tooth harrows from local rental stores is an excellent option.
Not only will these machinery help break up the soil, but they’ll also improve the environment around your delicate fescue grass roots. Increased aeration and nutrient supply ensures that fescue grass has optimal conditions to thrive and outgrow any remaining bermudagrass.
Mow or trim the lawn regularly to maintain control, and let the rented tools do the rest of the work in creating a lush and healthy lawn.
5. Use a pre-emergent herbicide.
An effective way to control Bermudagrass in a fescue lawn is with the use of pre-emergent herbicides, which should be applied in early spring before the grass begins to grow again.
These types of herbicides usually come in granular form and must be applied as a thin coating over your lawn and then watered in, either by using a watering can or hose. Pre-emergent herbicides are designed to inhibit the growth of Bermuda grass by preventing its root system from spreading throughout the soil and displacing other species such as fescue grasses.
By doing so, they allow fescue grasses to thrive without competition from invading Bermudagrass. Ultimately, using pre-emergent herbicides can help keep your fescue lawn healthy and keep invasive grasses at bay.
Will Bermuda Grass Choke Out Fescue?
To ensure both fescue and Bermuda have optimal root growth, it’s important to plant the fescue with a depth of two to three inches. This will provide enough depth to keep Bermuda from choking out the fescue as it won’t be able to compete for nutrient resources below the surface level.
It is possible that there may be some surface-level competition between the two in the first year of planting, however, this will have no long-term effect.
An alternate option for those who want to decrease the competition is to use a mixture of Buffalograss, which requires only one and a half inches of space between each turf, and doesn’t require as much frequent watering like its counterparts.
What Will Kill Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass can be very difficult to maintain in lawns due to its vigorous growth and high tolerance of adverse conditions. To avoid its spread, it is essential to take preventative measures, such as regularly applying herbicides, as well as investing time and effort in soil care and proper watering.
Furthermore, regularly mowing the lawn and fertilizing it appropriately can help create an environment that is less conducive for Bermuda grass growth.
Ultimately, although Bermuda grass is potentially a nuisance, there are several steps homeowners can take to effectively manage it and keep their lawns healthy.
Does Vinegar Kill Bermuda Grass?
If you’re looking for an effective, yet eco-friendly way to get rid of Bermuda grass without killing your entire lawn, then vinegar is the perfect choice!
Not only is vinegar a much better alternative than herbicides like Roundup, but it’s also incredibly easy to use. Simply spray vinegar on the areas of your lawn where you want to kill the Bermuda grass and it will quickly die off.
You can rest assured that it won’t damage your other grass or plants. By using vinegar, you can get rid of pesky Bermuda grass without having to worry about harming your beloved lawn.