Bermuda grass creates a carpet-like turf that can be found in many yards across the country.
What most people don’t realize is that you can actually make it thicker by following three simple steps.
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How to Make Bermuda Grass Thicker
You first need to make sure it is fertilized, mowed to the right length, and has enough water. Bermuda Grass requires aeration at the start of the growing season. Once aerated, seed and fertilize the grass to help it grow well throughout the year. Bermuda Grass will then grow laterally and naturally fill in any empty or thinning spots.
The Best Way to Care For Bermuda Grass
The best steps for lawn care are:
- Weed removal
- Seed & fertilize
Aerate your grass in spring every year
Aeration helps bring nutrients to the roots. I aerate my lawn once a year to improve the nutrients. This is an important step if your grass is thin or your soil is compact.
You can tell your soil is compact if water pools on the surface and takes a minute to seep in.
You can tell your grass is in the green-up stage when your grass starts turning a brighter green.
To get thick grass in summer it is ok to overseed the area. Allow your seedlings to sprout for 2 to 3 weeks then start mowing your lawn.
Bermuda grass grows both up and out. Once your seeds start to grow mow it often and mow it short to get the best lateral growth.
Control the weeds
Too many weeds will increase the thinning of your lawn. Weeds will make it difficult for the grass to thicken on its own.
Try to remove the weeds in early spring. Do not spray weed killer in the heat of summer as this will likely kill your grass even if the weed killer says it will not harm Bermuda Grass.
I target weeds by spraying the weeds at the base and using a weed removing tool. I do not mass spray the lawn as this can decrease the growth of your Bermuda Grass.
Keep the grass under one inch in length
Golf courses often have beautiful grass because they mow weekly or every other day. The grass is not spending energy growing up, it grows out instead.
You can scalp your grass to kick-start the thickening. This is a good practice if your grass is long and unruly at the start of spring.
Simply mow the grass extremely low (.75 inches) on the first mow. Make sure to pick up trimmings, so they don’t choke out the lawn.
Aerate the area after you have scalped. I advise you to aerate before you seed and fertilize. Aeration helps bring water and nutrients to the base of the grass as it grows.
Why Your Bermuda Grass Is Thinning
It is common to see Bermuda grass on golf courses because of its thick carpet-like nature.
Bermuda grass may look thin for a few different reasons.
- Your grass is missing air, nutrients, and water in the roots
- There is not enough sunlight
- Low fertilizer levels
To solve thinning in your Bermuda Grass you need to start by finding and solving the problem your grass is having.
Common Issues For Bermuda Grass
There are two common causes of brown spots in Bermuda Grass that are not linked to issues with soil nutrition, sun, or water. These are insects and fungal diseases.
If you have tried regular maintenance and your grass is still thin and patchy you may need to investigate the possibility of an infestation or fungal issue.
Common insects I have seen include sod webworms. Common fungal diseases are spring dead spots, brown patch diseases, and dollar spots.
Each one will require its own unique fix.
Fix patchy areas in your Bermuda Grass
To fix patchy areas of your grass that have not seeded during regular maintenance you can create a growing paste.
To create the paste mix I use one part soil, one part fertilizer, and one part grass seed. Get the mix wet until you make a paste.
Before placing the paste on your brown spots, clean and aerate the spot as best you can. Place the paste over the cleaned spot.
Make sure to water the spot daily for two weeks then proceed with your regular watering schedule.
This is also how I fix patches caused by dog urine and digging.
Bermuda Grass Maintenance
Having a proper maintenance schedule will keep your grass looking full.
Here are the steps I take to maintain my Bermuda Grass lawn.
- Water your Bermuda Grass twice a week at least one inch of water through the entire area.
- Mow every week, every two weeks during high heat or drought season.
- Water in the morning to prevent Bermuda Grass from burning.
- Fertilize again during late summer to improve the soil.
Maintain your Bermuda Grass all year to keep it looking picture perfect and help it stay healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make Bermuda Grass Thicker
What is The Best Fertilizer For Bermuda Grass?
The best fertilizer to use on Bermuda Grass is one with an NPK ratio of 4: 1: 2 ratio. This often comes in a general fertilizer. Check the back of the fertilizer for details and follow the fertilizer instructions. For best results apply the fertilizer in early spring then again 2-3 months later in mid to late summer. I also apply the fertilizer again in late August before the temperatures cool off.
Can You Over Fertilize Bermuda Grass?
You can over Fertilize your Bermuda Grass. Using too much fertilizer will burn the roots. Follow the fertilizer’s instructions.
How Do You Get Bermuda Grass to Spread?
Bermuda Grass spreads when it is not growing tall. To ensure your grass spreads better mow often to keep it from using energy to grow up. Mow to 1 inch at least once a week for best results.
Thickening a Bermuda Grass Lawn
Bermuda grass grows laterally and if cared for will grow into thin spots as it gets healthier. Keep maintaining your lawn weekly to help it look great all summer long.
Grass needs sun, water, and nutrients to thrive. Make sure you are giving your Bermuda Grass what it needs.
If you follow the maintenance plan your Bermuda Grass will start to look and feel like a carpet.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.