University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #SS AGR 264

Bermudagrass: A Quick Reference1

Yoana C. Newman2

In Florida, bermudagrass is the second most planted warm-season perennial improved grass. Most of the bermudagrasses planted in the state are hybrids that grow from late spring to early fall. These hybrids are responsive to good and balanced fertilization producing high yields (5–9 tons/acre/year). Producers are attracted to bermudagrass because of its high yield, persistence, and good adaptation under grazing. Some seeded types also have good yields but none as high as the hybrids.

Origin
Native to Africa
Use
Grazing and haying
Description
Prostrate or decumbent growth (sod type) that develops to 1 to 2 feet tall
Adaptation
pH: 5.5 to 7.5
Soil: Sandy loam, fertile, high fertility; sand to Clay. Best suited to well-drained sites.
Rainfall: High moisture and rain but does not do well on poorly drained soils. Drought tolerant.
Climate: Subtropical and humid temperate regions; coastal plains.
Management Practices
Planting date: March (if irrigated); best during rainy season (June–August)
Planting rate:
Sprigged: 30–40 bushel/acre, approx. 1 round bale/acre or 16 square bales/acre
(1 square bale, 60 lb = 3 bushels of sprigs; assuming 1 bushel = 20 lb sprigs)
Seeded: 10–15 lb/acre; 20 lb/acre (if using coated seed)
Planting depth: 2–3 inches (sprigs); 1/4–3/4 inch (seeds)
Fertilization
Planting: As soon as plants have emerged (7–10 days after planting), apply 30 lb N/acre, all phosphorus (P205), and 50% of potassium (K20) recommended in soil test. Thirty to 40 days later, apply rest of the potassium, plus 70 lb N/acre.
Grazing:
Under moderate management: 140–160 lb N/acre/year, split applied in two applications. Apply 80 lb N/acre in spring, plus all phosphorus (P205) recommended by soil test and half of potassium (K20) recommended in soil test. Mid-season, apply another 60–80 lb N/acre plus second half of potassium recommended by soil test.
Under intensive management: 200 lb N/acre/year, split applied in three applications.
In first application, apply 80 lb N/acre, plus all phosphorus (P205)/acre/year, and half of the potassium (K20)/acre/year. Mid-season, apply another 50 lb N/acre only. Mid- to late September, apply the last 70 lb N/acre plus the second half of potassium recommended by soil test.
Hay: 80 lb N/acre/cut + all phosphorus (P205), and all potassium (K20) in early spring. After each cutting, apply 80 lb N plus 40 lb of K20. Apply fertilizer up to 6 weeks prior to end of season.
Pre-conditioning of vegetative stems for planting: At beginning of rainy season apply 100-50-100 lb/acre N-P2O5-K2O + 2 lb/acre of micronutrients. Let top growth grow for three months, and three weeks before cutting apply 50 lb N/acre to promote growing points (buds).
Broad-Leaf Weed Control
Check with county agent or Extension weed specialist for updates on rates and restrictions.
If sprigging: 2,4-D, and diuron 4L can be used prior to emergence of sprigged bermudagrass. If diuron 4L is applied after sprigs have emerged, bermudagrass injury will occur. If soils are sandy and sprigs are planted shallow, injury may occur.
If planting tops: Seven to 10 days after planting apply 2,4-D (several brands), Banvel, Clarity or Vanquish (dicamba); or weedmaster (2,4-D + dicamba).
For additional information on weed control, refer to the EDIS publication SS-AGR-08, Weed Management in Pastures and Rangeland, at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/WG/WG00600.pdf.
Pests and Control
Fall army worms: Insecticides and basic treatments:
Malathion 57%EC: 2 pints/acre. No restrictions for grazing or harvest.
Sevin XLR: 1-1.5 quarts/acre. Restrictions: 14-days before grazing/harvest occur. No more than 2 applications per year.
Lannate: 3/4 quarts to 3 pints/acre. Restrictions: 7-days before grazing occurs; 3-days before harvest occurs. No more than 4 applications per year.
Dimilin 2L: 2 oz/acre. Do not exceed 6 oz/acre/year.
Fungal disease “Take-all root rot’: May affect stressed stands. In these situations, minimize N fertilizer applications.

Tables

Table 1. 

Bermudagrass hybrids

Bermudagrass

Hybrid

Winter

Survival

Rhizomes

Rust

Digestibility

Protein

Tifton 85 *

3.5

Some

N

1

1

Tifton 44 *

1

V many

N

4

3

Jiggs *

1

na

Y

6

5

Russell *

2

V many

N

6

na

Coastal *

3

Many

N

6

3

Florakirk

(Callie hybrid)

4

na

Y

3

3

Alicia

3.5

V many

Y

9

3

Ratings: 1 = best, 9 = poorest (adapted from Glen Burton, Univ. of Georgia). na= not available information

* Adaptation or potential for north end in north-central Florida.

†= Information is not available for north-central Florida.

‡= Not recommended due to low quality, lack of cold tolerance, and susceptibility to rust.

Footnotes

1.

This document is SS AGR 264, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2007. Revised July 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Yoana C. Newman, assistant professor, Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. All chemicals should be used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.