The Q&A Archives: Bermuda

Question: My lawn is bermuda grass and is pretty unhealthy right now. It has a weed problem. What do I need to do right now to prepare my grass for winter and spring? I am not planning on overseeding.

Answer: Actually, it is late to perform maintenance tasks to improve the health of Bermuda because it is going into dormancy. Aerifying and dethatching can both improve the vigor of the grass, but they are performed in summer, when the grass is actively growing and can recover from the stress. Aerify after May 15 and no later than August 15. Dethatch in June or July if thatch build-up is one-half inch or more. Pre-emergent weed control is applied once in late August or September to be effective, or once in March or April. In October, reduce watering to every 3 to 7 days, depending on weather. From November through March, water once per month to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Do not fertilize, as the plant isn't growing and can't absorb it. An excellent resource for low desert lawn care is "Desert Landscaping for Beginners" by Arizona Master Gardener Press. It has a complete chapter on lawn care, including maintenance charts.

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