Bermuda grass is an important turfgrass used throughout the southern United States and in the transition zones where grasses adapted to warm-season, and cool-season climates can thrive.
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It is commonly referred to by many names, including devil grass and wire grass. The improved turf-type of Bermuda grass yields a hardy, dense turf with fine blades. Such turf is ideal for use on athletic fields, commercial premises, and lawns that require a lot of upkeep.
Homeowners with Bermuda grass lawns need to adjust the frequency of their summertime mowing and the height at which they cut the grass.
Some people who have switched to Bermuda grass hybrid lawns continue to mow it the same way they have for many years, and then they are confused as to why the condition of their lawn has deteriorated.
The recommended cutting height for older varieties of Bermuda grass and newer hybrids are not the same. It is 1.5 inches for hybrid Bermuda grass variants and 1 inch for common Bermuda grass varieties.
However, depending on the time of year and the type of Bermuda grass you have grown on your lawn, you may need to adjust the frequency and height of your cuttings to achieve the optimal levels of thickness, growth, and health.
Keep reading to learn more about mowing Bermuda grass for the best results!
How Long Should You Cut Bermuda Grass?
The basic rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t remove more than one-third of the grass blades at once, and this applies to most types of grass.
Photo by Ben Chun
The most important benefit to this practice is that it promotes Bermuda grass growth that is thicker and quicker. It has other advantages, which I’ll discuss in more depth later in this article. So,
- Allow the grass to grow to 1.5 inches for a 1-inch mowing height.
- When the grass is 2.25 inches tall, mow it to get a 1.5-inch cut.
- For a two-inch cut, mow the grass when it reaches three inches.
Raising the mower’s cutting height will prevent scalping the lawn if the ground is uneven. This is crucial even if you plan to add dirt, sand, or topsoil to the uneven ground to level it off.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that the right method for determining mowing height is to determine the separation between the mower’s blades and any hard surfaces on your lawn.
The sort of Bermuda grass you have grown on your lawn will determine the ideal cutting height. The stem of typical Bermuda grass is about an inch long; however, hybrid kinds of Bermuda grass have been cross-bred to produce grass with shorter stems and crowns that lie lower to the ground.
Some homeowners cut the grass too close to the ground to reduce mowing frequency and increase personal comfort.
In addition, some individuals allow the grass to grow beyond the suggested height at which it should be cut or mowed. Both of these practices are not good for healthy turf growth and should be avoided.
Mowing Bermuda Grass & Seasons
Your Bermuda grass will require being cut at a slightly different height and more or less frequently, depending on the time of year. For instance, there are times of the year when Bermuda grass is actively growing.
These seasons require more regular trimming, while others may call for more restricted maintenance practices. The following are some helpful mowing guidelines to keep in mind throughout the year:
Mowing Bermuda Grass In Fall (September To November)
In fall, you should continue mowing your Bermuda grass, but at a less frequent frequency than the rest of the year (In most cases, once a month is more than enough). It is because, during this time, warm-season grasses stop growing.
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However, you can continue doing so until the end of October. Your final cut should be performed at a height that is only somewhat lower than the height that is advised for routine cutting.
Mowing Bermuda Grass In Winter (December To February)
Dormancy typically sets in during this time of year for Bermuda grass lawns. You should never mow the Bermuda grass or any other grass, as a matter of fact, in its dormancy. It puts grass under immense stress, which can deteriorate the quality and recovery of your turf.
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However, if your lawn has been overseeded with other types of annual and perennial grasses, you can mow it accordingly.
Mowing Bermuda Grass In Spring (March To May)
Typically, spring is a time of quick and rapid growth for Bermuda grass. To get rid of the dead leaf blades from the winter and dormancy period, it is best to mow Bermuda grass at a lower height than what is advised at this time of year.
Photo by Matt Cornock
If possible, use a bagger mower to collect clippings and eliminate any dead material left over from winter dormancy. Alternatively, you can also choose to remove the excessive amount of thatch and dead leaf particles from the surface of the lawn by hand raking the grass.
Mowing Bermuda Grass In Summer (June To August)
You should mow your Bermuda grass lawn less regularly during these months because it is usually the warmest time of the year. If possible, you should only cut it once a week.
Photo by Adrian Pelletier
You could also raise the cutting height slightly over the required height to leave longer leaf blades behind, which helps reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation.
And by August, ideally, you should have decreased the frequency of your mowing to only when it is necessary.
As a reference for mowing Bermuda grass through the various seasons, here is a table:
|Height In Inches|
|Common Bermuda grass types||1.5 to 2.5|
|Hybrid varieties of Bermuda Grass||0.5 to 1.5|
|Fresh Bermuda grass sod||1.25 to 1.5|
|Average recommended mowing height||0.5 to 2.5|
|January to April||1|
|Spring||1¼ to 1½|
|Summer||0.5 to 2.5|
|Fall||0.5 to 2.5|
Tips For Mowing Bermuda Grass
Regular mowing is the secret to a good lawn; each cut helps the grass grow thicker, giving the yard a luxurious appearance.
Photo by pxhere
Additionally, it keeps weeds out and strengthens the grass. During the peak growing season, cutting the grass can take quite a bit of time; therefore, it is necessary to do it correctly.
Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Reel mowers are landscape machines that are meant to cut grass blades in a vertical pattern, leaving behind more of the leaf blades to allow photosynthesis. If you want a close cut, you might want to use a reel mower, as these machines are engineered to make it easier to make close cuts, which enables you to mow the grass at a low height without scalping your lawn.
- For a Bermuda lawn that is just getting started, we suggest mowing at the height of 1.25 to 1.5 inches. You can then gradually lower this height with each consecutive mowing, taking care to ensure that you are only making modest height increments during this whole process of mowing your lawn.
- Hybrid Bermuda grass lawns often have a more delicate texture, so be sure to mow them more regularly (two to 3 times a week) than you would trim the common Bermuda grass varieties. Leaving the clippings behind after mowing is advised since they provide nutrients for the grass that is left over.
- There are instances when you might find it necessary to cut the grass for a little bit longer. For instance, if your Bermuda grass lawn starts to yellow after mowing and displays other symptoms of stress, it could be because you’re trimming too short and removing more than one-third of the grass blade.
- Allow your turfgrass to grow taller during drought and warm months. Additionally, we advise cutting the grass shorter on cool-season turfs in snowy areas to lower the risk of snow mold infestation. Similarly, allow the grass to grow taller if your yard is shaded.
Mowing Frequency For Bermuda Grass
If you are working with a Bermuda grass turf that has only recently been established and your lawn has not been mowed yet, you should be sure to wait until the end of winter before attempting your first mowing.
Photo by Marco Verch Professional
On the other hand, the second cutting of the grass should occur between the beginning and the middle of spring.
The mowing frequency will also depend on the outcome or use of the turf. For example, golf greens are often maintained at greater cutting heights to provide a more visually appealing final appearance and have a regular mowing schedule once every three days.
On the other hand, Bermuda grass lawns at homes only need to be trimmed once a week.
You can also adapt the amount of time that passes in between mowings of your Bermuda grass lawn to correlate with the particular season in the year.
For instance, during the spring’s peak growing season, you should cut your Bermuda grass lawn as often as once every three to five days. However starting in the midst of summer, when temperatures are at their peak, cut back on the frequency to once per week.
Conclusion | Mowing Bermuda Grass
People often wonder why their hybrid Bermuda Grass lawn doesn’t look like a hybrid Bermuda Grass golf green. The fact is, if you follow the right mowing schedule and utilize the right tools, it has the ability to resemble a golf green.
So, once you’ve determined the ideal height to mow your Bermuda Grass at, make sure to do it frequently and consistently. Allowing a lawn to grow too tall between grass mowing is one of the worst things that can happen to a lawn and turf health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often should I cut Bermuda grass?
Bermuda grass needs to be mowed every five to seven days, less frequently if the lawn suffers from drought. When the grass initially turns green, mow it with a rotary or reel mower set as low as you can without scalping the grass.
Always use a mulching style mower with a sharp blade and let the grass clippings decompose on the ground.
How short can you mow Bermuda grass?
When the grass is cut at too short of a height, it can cause harm to the grass and cause it to turn brown. So, you should mow regular Bermuda grass at 1.5 to 2.5 inches, whereas hybrid Bermuda grass species should be mowed slightly lower at 0.5 to 1.5 inches.
Why does Bermuda grass turn brown after mowing?
If your Bermuda grass is turning yellow after mowing the lawn, here is a simple explanation. Bermuda grass will turn brown if it grows too long because the lower portion of the blade is hidden from the sun. Thus, after mowing, the brown area becomes visible.
Should you water Bermuda grass after mowing?
Watering grass after mowing is beneficial, but only when the grass actually requires it. For example, the lawn needs watering if your footsteps are still visible after walking across it.
Watering will only make things worse if the soil is already wet. To avoid fungus and disease, it is always better to water in the morning.
Should I bag Bermuda grass clippings?
The ideal practice is not to bag lawn clippings. They break down quickly and replenish the soil with lots of nutrients.
If you decide to bag the clippings, you might want to consider composting them so you can utilize them in the garden. Begin fertilizing once the grass has turned green and there is no danger of a late frost.
Sources for Further Reading
Bermuda grass Yearly Maintenance Program – Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service
Adjust mowing frequency, cutting height on Bermuda grass lawns – Oklahoma State University Extension Service
Maintaining Bermuda grass Lawns – Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center
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