Posted by jathton
(Oklahoma City, OK - Zone 7a) on Nov 19, 2019 2:24 PM concerning plant:
I'm sure there are plenty of gardeners and lawn professionals who will gladly extol the virtues of Bermuda grass. But I have spent my professional career designing and installing residential gardens in Oklahoma City... and my opinion of Bermuda grass falls far short of flattering. I rate the introduction of this grass to the United States right up there with the introduction of Kudzu Vine to the Deep South and Blackberry plants to the Pacific Northwest.
Please understand I am speaking as a designer of residential gardens. In that capacity I have watched, year after year, as Bermuda grass infiltrated and tried its best to take over any shrub or flower bed I've created. Granted, there are types of garden borders and edging that will temporarily stop this invasion. But time after time the Bermuda grass has eventually won… and the home gardener was faced with trying to eradicate it without killing the plants he wants to keep.
Bermuda grass, like Kudzu Vine and Blackberries, is amazingly tenacious and invasive. Wikipedia points out its root system "can grow to over 2 metres (6.6 ft) deep, though most of the root mass is less than 60 centimetres (24 in) under the surface. The grass creeps along the ground with its stolons rooting wherever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat." And I can say from long experience that digging it out of a flower bed inevitably leaves some small root pieces that are more than capable of generating lots of new growth.
While taking a turf grass science class at Oklahoma State University I spent several class periods listening to the professor introduce us to all the known varieties of lawn grass. When he talked about Bermuda grass he pointed out that millions of dollars had been spent over the years bringing it to America from North Africa and hybridizing and improving it.
I raised my hand and asked why all that money had not been spent on Buffalo grass… an American native that is much better behaved and much easier to grow and maintain. He ducked answering my question, but after class he pulled me aside and told me he hated Bermuda grass and that the lawn at his home was Buffalo grass. He swore me to secrecy… threatening all manner of painful consequences if I let that story get out. I kept his secret… but in 34 years of designing gardens I never once used Bermuda as the lawn grass on projects.