Growing Bermuda grass from seeds is a great option if you are looking for a resilient ground cover that is both heat and drought tolerant. It can easily handle moderate to heavy traffic, making it perfect for sports fields, lawn parks, golf courses, and general utility turfs in Malaysia and throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
But how to grow Bermuda grass?
This unique warm-season grass seed needs the sun to grow and a steady, consistent amount of fertilizer applied during the growing season. Within a matter of days, your fertilized lawn will turn dark green and look healthy.
It is important to know that Bermuda grass lawns require the highest fertilizer of any tropical grass. It is important to apply only the recommended amount. If you apply more it will only grow faster but it will not be any darker green.
Types of Fertilizers
The two most common types of fertilizers for Bermuda grass is organic and inorganic.
a. Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are made up of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. These three nutrients are key for growing Bermuda grass.
There are different types of organic fertilizers including:
These four fertilizers are high in nitrogen and can increase the growth and population of Bermuda grass.
Bermuda grass also needs potassium and phosphorus but the levels are based on soil requirement.
The best option to apply potassium fertilizers is near the Bermuda grass seeds. But you should always contact your seed supplier in Malaysia to know which method to use to prevent bad effects during germination.
Phosphorus is a key nutrient for photosynthesis. You can apply phosphorus fertilizer during seeding by using a method called Broadcast and Incorporation. With this type of method, you apply the fertilizer in the soil before seeds are planted.
You should apply phosphorus fertilizer three to four times a year and it is commonly used to increase soil fertility and create very rich green lawns.
There are commercial products that are a mix of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) that you can easily apply. You will find Bermuda grass fertilizers mixed with different ratios. For example, if you find a bag of fertilizer with a ratio of 25-10-15, the first number indicates nitrogen percentage, the second number is phosphorus, and the third is potassium.
Keep in mind, that the efficient way to fertilize is to use dry granular fertilizers. Hose end liquid fertilizers work, but they need much effort to use correctly and you will need to fertilize twice as often as with granular fertilizer. Another benefit of granular fertilizers is that they last longer in the soil.
b. Inorganic Fertilizers
Inorganic fertilizer includes PH neutralizing fertilizers like lime or sulfur.
You should always apply these types of fertilizers while preparing the lawn for growing Bermuda grass.
The main job of inorganic fertilizers is to balance the soil quality and keep the right PH range between 6-7.
How Much Fertilizer to Apply on Bermuda Grass
If it is possible to get a soil sample test to know the recommended nutrient (NPK) and lime requirements for your soil. When this is not possible, go for a nitrogen-rich NPK fertilizer. Bermuda grass lawns often need 4 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet each year. So go with a ratio of 4-1-2. Take notice that the fertilizer bag could also show 12-3-6 or 16-4-8 or you can choose a ratio of 3-1-2.
To know how much nitrogen it contains in the bag you need to do a simple math calculation by using the N-P-K ratio and the weight of the bag. Once you have this information you need to multiply the percentage of nitrogen that it is the first number of the N-P-K by the weight of the bag and you will know the exact amount to nitrogen it contains.
For example, a 50 pound of 16-4-8 has 8 pounds of actual nitrogen (16% of 50).
Now you need to determine the amount of nitrogen you want to apply in a single application. Keep in mind, that with Bermuda grass, you must apply 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
So a bag that contains 8 pounds of actual nitrogen will cover approximately 5,300 square feet (8 divided by 1.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet). Two cups of granular fertilizer weight about 1 pound.
When to Apply Fertilizer to your Bermuda Grass
Apply Bermuda grass fertilizer at six and eight intervals over the growing period to promote a vigorously growing lawn. After the growing period, apply fertilizer every four months.
Finally, growing Bermuda grass is an excellent choice as it is heat and drought tolerant, resilient, and easy to grow. It is the perfect type of grass for a tropical country such as Malaysia.