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How To Grow Bermuda Grass Pastures From Seed
other grasses and weeds is the number
one reason for bermudagrass stand failure.
Taking steps to reduce this competition will
increase your chances of success. Other important factors are the depth (see picture below) that the seed is planted and it is very important to plant Bermuda seed when the proper soil temperatures have been reached -- generally in the spring and summer.
- Don't get in a hurry to plant. If
soil temperature is not 65° F or higher
at a depth of 4", bermuda grass will not
germinate. This soil temperature will occur when daytime temperatures are a constant 80° or higher. When the seed does germinate
it will be weaker and more subject to
For Clean-tilled Ground
- Be sure seed is not dropping too
deep; 1/8"or less is ideal. One method
to prevent deep planting is to pull the
drop tubes from the openers and let the
seed fall behind the opener to be
pressed into the loosened soil by the
- Be sure that existing residue is not
too thick for seedlings to emerge and
that the seed is making soil contact
beneath the residue.
- Prepare the ground well in advance.
This allows the first flush of crabgrass
and other competition to germinate that
can be killed before
planting Cheyenne or Ranchero Frio.
- Prepare a firm seedbed. Plow, disk
and cultipack before and after planting.
- Several passes may be necessary to
achieve proper firmness. Bermudagrass
seed will not establish in a fluffy,
loose seedbed. Take care to place seed
at the proper depth of 1/8" or less.
Detailed Instructions - Planting Bermuda Grass Pasture
When to Plant Your
is a warm season turf grass. Plant Bermudagrass seeds in spring and summer
when soil temperatures are consistently above 65°
F (18° C). This would be when the daytime air temperatures are consistently 80° and above. The optimum soil temperature for germination and root growth of Bermudagrass
in full sun on well-drained soil in the temperate, sub-tropical and tropical climate
zones. Proper drainage is essential for successful establishment and the development
of mature healthy turf.
Prior to seeding,
a soil test is recommended. Apply fertilizer and other amendments per test.
Add lime as needed to establish a minimum 6.0 soil pH. Your Cooperative extension
agent can assist with soil testing.
Seedbed Preparation: Loosen soil to a depth of six inches (15 cm). Level area to proper grade
with approximately .5 inches (14 mm) pulverized soil at the surface. Rake smooth
prior to planting helps to make a level / smooth pasture.
Seeding Rate For Bermuda Grass Pastures By Seed Type
Please note that raw seed is seed that is uncoated. The term raw does not apply as to whether the seed is hulled or un-hulled
Un-Coated Hulled (Raw) Seed: 5 -10 Lbs per acre
Un-Coated Un-hulled (Raw) Seed: 8 -12 Lbs. per acre
Hulled and Un-hulled Coated Seed: 15 Lbs. per acre
Cheyenne II, Ranchero Frio and Mohawk bermuda grass seeds are coated seed with a planting rate of 15 Lbs. per acre.
Generally 50 Lbs. will plant 3 to 10 acres depending on the type of seed. Please see individual varieties for planting rates.
Raw seeds are usually planted in 8-10 lbs. / per acre (new
establishment). In some varieties, un-hulled seeds (still have the hull on
the seed) may be available. Generally you plant a little higher seeding rate
with un-hulled seeds because you are getting less seeds per lb. Un-hulled
seeds are safer to plant if planting prior to when adequate soil and moisture will
be available as the seeds will survive longer (un-germinated) while they lay in
the soil for ideal germination temps / moisture to occur.
rates are much lower than for turf lawns as the dense / high plant population
per square foot is not a requirement of pastures. In pasture you can live
with slight open spaces and the goal is different than in lawns (Pastures are
looking for larger plants that can withstand the traffic and grazing of
Also see our
information page on
Bermuda Grass Lawns From Seed Planting Bermuda
seeds in lawns
is different from pastures
, with seeding rate applications
Overseeding or Repairing
Bermudagrass may be overseeded
into your existing stand of seeded Bermudagrass such as common to improve its overall
forage quality or repair cold damaged areas of Bermudagrass. The suggested
renovation seeding rate is 5-7 lbs per acre. For bare areas, use the new pasture
application seeding rate. If the pasture is in very poor condition or the
damaged areas very large, total removal of the existing grasses before seeding Bermudagrass
is recommended for maximum stand uniformity and overall pasture performance.
When overseeding into
an existing stands, care must be taken to ensure adequate seed to soil contact.
Small areas can be raked vigorously to remove accumulated thatch and break up the
soil surface before seeding. Maintain adequate soil moisture and restrict
traffic / grazing in the renovated areas during germination and the early establishment
phase prior to the first mowing / grazing.
be taken not to cover the seed with too much soil – no more than ? inch of soil -- ideally 1/8" --
covering the seed is recommended. However the seeds MUST have proper soil
coverage (ideally 1/8 inch) for good germination to occur. Effective planting methods
include broadcasting by hand, using seed spreaders, and pasture seeders. Rake or drag planted areas to provide soil coverage over seeds. If overseeding,
aerate prior to seeding if possible. Do NOT use herbicides when seeding 10-14
weeks before, during or after planting date for seeds.
Soil moisture around the seed must be maintained for about 1 to 3 weeks for
good germination to occur. The seedbed needs to stay moist during germination.
If irrigated, once established, provide less frequent, deep watering to encourage
deep root growth.
Bermudagrass has very good seedling vigor. Under ideal conditions, germination begins within 7 to 10 days.
Again, soil moisture must be maintained during the germination period. Allow 14 to 18 days after the first seedlings emerge for complete germination.
Establishment Time: Under ideal conditions, full
coverage is attained 6 to 10 weeks after seeding. If planting is early or
late in the season, more time may be needed for establishment. Establishment
time is based on adequate moisture to support seedling growth. Plant at optimum
temp / rainfall season if possible based on the temperature planting range.
First Grazing (or mowing)
and minimum Height:
The turf is ready for the first mowing approximately 3 weeks after seeding or when
most of the grass has filled in. To avoid scalping the turf, do not remove
more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.; First Grazing should not occur
until about 8-10 weeks after planting to allow for sufficient growth and size to
prevent the plant from being pulled out of the ground.
Winter overseeding of dormant Bermudagrass may be done for additional grazing
with Annual Ryegrass It is not generally recommended on immature pastures
(less than 6 to 10 months of age). The safest practice would be to wait
until second year (fall / winter) after your bermuda is established. Contact
your local Cooperative Extension agent for more specific recommendations or pasture
Above drag preparing soil
prior to planting (right)
Brillion Turfgrass seeder - precision planting Bermuda
Getting a firm seed bed by dragging so
the seeds do not get planted to deep is
important. the precisely planting by
either using a drill for grass seeds such as
pictured above OR by dragging again to
lightly cover the seeds around the ideal 1/8 inch depth.
a beautiful tomorrow!®