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The Best Time & Temperature for Planting Bermuda Grass
The BEST time to plant Bermuda Grass Seed is in late
spring / early summer after soil temperatures are 65-70+ degrees
or higher and all danger of freeze or frost is past. This generally takes
80°+ consistent day highs in temperatures to achieve this level of
temperature in the soil. Sufficient moisture must be
available during establishment.
How can I plant
my grass seeds?
Help with Questions:
Bermuda is a warm season grass and should
generally NOT be planted in late fall. It loves hot weather
and grows best when temperatures are 90-100 degrees. Thus hot
weather / summer months are excellent for fast germination of
Bermuda seed, provided that sufficient water is available to keep
the soil moist. Early spring plantings may be slow to
germinate until soil temperatures warm sufficiently. Planting
outside the correct soil temperature window of time is always more
In the fall the turf grass rule
of thumb is that Bermuda should not be
planted after mid August... AND it should not be planted later than
90 days before first expected frost in more Northern states or 60
days before first expected frost / freeze in more deep-south
Southern locations. Again, keep in mind that when
temperatures at night are 60 or lower that the growth establishment
activity of this grass slows or stops. In areas where low
temperatures do not occur it may be planted year round (Hawaii,
Caribbean, South Florida).
Risk of late plantings
Bermuda seeds planted too late in the year, runs the risk of not
producing and storing enough food reserves to last through the
winter dormancy period. Basically the plants starve and then
die because not enough growth occurs after planting to store the
needed food in the root system. Dormancy is not a complete
stopping of activity, so even when dormant the plant still needs
nutrients and water to survive.
Dormant Winter Seeding
Occasionally if late fall planting is absolutely required, you can
attempt the more risky planting method using the dormant seeding method in
late fall. In most cases it is recommended that you use Un-hulled
seeds. Most of the new seeded varieties are only sold as
hulled seed and thus should not be planted in the fall. Read more
about Dormant Seeding of grass seed here below.
Some people do what is called winter " dormant
seeding" .. In this method they wait until after cool
weather arrives and there is no danger of the temperatures
returning above 60-65 degrees. They then plant the seeds and
expect that the seeds will lie dormant in the soil until warm
temperatures return in the spring. Germination then occurs in
the Spring after soil temperatures rise above 65 ° F.
While this procedure does work in some cases, it is much more risky than waiting until spring to plant your seeds. Seeds lying in the soil over the winter run the risk of
premature germination during a warm snap and then death upon return of cold weather. They also can experience rot (and death) if there is an extended period of wet weather.
Thus it is a gamble to plant this way, but one that is sometimes done simply because a person may not want to wait till spring to plant.
Bermuda Plugs, Sprigs and Sod:Plugs,
Sprigs and Sod will not produce roots unless the soil temperature
exceeds 55° F for several weeks. Keep this in
mind when deciding on when to sprig, plug or sod a warm season
grass such as Bermuda. In addition, even though a grass may
be dormant in the winter, it still requires a certain amount of
water to survive. Dormancy does NOT mean dead, simply that
activities have slowed much as we humans slow during sleep.
Overseeding Bermuda Grass With Ryegrass
It is common practice to overseed bermuda lawns with ryegrass in the fall/winter to maintain a green lawn after the bermuda goes dormant (in the cooler areas of adaptation) and turns brown.
In general planting ryegrass during the initial establishment of your bermuda grass in the fall, increases the risk to the
Bermuda seeds & seedlings becoming established in the following
spring. Any grass that is already growing in a lawn area such
as a ryegrass is competition to the little seedlings when they
start germination --- which means that some seedlings will not
survive the competition from the ryegrass (or weeds) once they
germinate. Most all turf experts recommend that you DO NOT
OVERSEED WITH RYEGRASS during the first fall / winter season after
planting Bermuda. Allow your Bermuda time to establish and
mature before overseeding with a ryegrass for winter color.
a beautiful tomorrow!®