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Gardening suggestions for fertilizing Bermuda grass

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: October, 2012, Page 111



ASK THE EXPERTS

Q - We decided not to overseed our ‘Tifway’ Bermuda grass with ryegrass this winter. Should we fertilize?

A - Overseeding stresses Bermuda grass and Bermuda hybrids such as ‘Tifway’, states Cathy Rymer, city of Chandler water conservation coordinator. When Bermuda grass is not scalped (prior to overseeding) it is able to store nutrients and sugars in its stolons and rhizomes in fall. So you probably will find that skipping the overseeding process results in a stronger, more vigorous lawn next year, she explains. Also, your ‘Tifway’ will not have to compete with the winter ryegrass and will begin growing back after winter dormancy as early as March of next year.

When Bermuda is dormant—from October/November through March/April—fertilizer should not be applied, as it won’t be absorbed and will be wasted as runoff. You also will save a considerable amount of water by not overseeding. If we experience winter rains, you may be able to skip watering for up to 30 days. If you do irrigate, water should soak through the root zone to a depth of 6 to 10 inches with each application; this will produce a strong root system that withstands summer heat. Find more details on lawn care at chandleraz.gov/forms/waterconservation.aspx.
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