As temperatures rise we often start getting an itch to plant. When it comes to establishing bermudagrass from sprigs there are several things to keep in mind before we start tilling the soil:
Location: Choose a well drained soil; bermudagrass does not do well on wet-land (except for Jiggs Bermudagrass).
Variety Selection: Match variety to soil type, average rainfall, production goals, and willingness to manage (provide fertility, etc.).
Weed Control: Destroy existing vegetation by spraying actively growing weeds with glyphosate. Ideal time to start is the year prior to actual planting. In late summer/early fall year prior to planting, destroy existing vegetation with 5 quarts/acre of glyphosate. Weed control following establishment can be critical to achieving a stand. Find more information on herbicides for newly established bermudagrass.
Soil Fertility: Obtain a soil sample the fall prior to planting. Apply recommended limestone during land preparation. Any recommended phosphorus should be applied during seedbed preparation to incorporate into the soil. When sprigs begin to green up, apply 40 to 60 lbs of actual N/acre and any potassium (K) according to soil test recommendation. Find soil testing information.
Sprigs: Identify a reliable source of sprigs well before planting time. Plant into a moist seedbed at 2 to 2 ½ inches deep. Do not plant deeper than 3”.
Planting Date: Sprigs can be planted from March, when danger of a heavy freeze is past, until August. The earlier you plant, the longer you will have to get established and the better chance they will survive a severe winter. The underground rhizomes develop much slower than the above ground stolons and are necessary for winter survival. Planting later into the summer increases the risk of losing newly planted sprigs to drought.
SEEDED BERMUDAGRASS: To establish a seeded bermudagrass plant about May in northeast Texas. Optimum temperatures for bermudagrass seed germination are when daily low temperatures reach 60F. Planting after mid-June is discouraged because of normally hot and dry weather conditions. Prepare a good firm seedbed and pack with a roller. After the first rain, kill any emerging weeds. After the weeds turn brown, broadcast the bermudagrass seed at 5 to 10 lbs/acre and pack again to press the seed into the soil surface.
For more information on this or any other agricultural topic, please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].