How To Kill Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is one of those grasses that, depending on your location in the U.S., is either the best possible lawn grass in a very dry climate or is a weed that must be destroyed at all costs.

What is Bermuda Grass?

Here is a good guide from Pennington:  All You Need to Know About Bermuda Grass

When you’re looking for the best possible bermuda grass killer, it can seem like there are a world of options available to you.

Let’s take a look at some of the best chemical and natural grass killers as well as how to keep it out of your yard in the first place.

How to Kill Bermuda Grass in Specific Locations

The methods you use to kill bermuda grass can vary depending on where it is located.

Here is some information on how to kill bermuda grass in a couple common locations:

  • When you’re trying to figure out how to kill bermuda grass in flower beds, a selective herbicide that will kill only grasses will work very well, provided that you are careful to avoid grassy ornamentals such as pampas grass. You’ll want to avoid more general contact herbicides, as they can cause serious damage to your planned ornamentals.
  • One of the most frustrating things I had to deal with at a new rental house I moved to some years ago was killing the bermuda grass in my lawn! The simple fact is that it is very hard to control bermuda grass in an established lawn. Repeated herbicide applications may be needed to get rid of it, and may cause damage to desired turf grasses at the same time. We’ll discuss some mechanical and natural ways to eliminate bermuda grass below.

Chemical Bermuda Grass Killer

There’s no question that there are many options on the market, it’s difficult to know which grass killer to use.

Chemical solutions to bermuda grass typically need to be applied at under 90ºF while the plant is still small and actively growing, so spring is typically the best time of year.

Let’s take a look at some common bermuda grass killer formulations available on the market:

  • Ornamec bermuda grass killer uses fluazifop to control bermuda grass in ornamentals, provided that you take consideration to protect desired grass species such as pampas grass and other ornamental grasses.
  • Bayer bermuda grass killer uses fenoxiprop to control bermuda grass, making it usable in Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescue lawns without as much damage. It should not, however, be used on bentgrass, St. Augustine, floratam, centipede, bahia, or zoysia lawns as it will cause significant damage to these types of grasses.
  • Roundup is a nonselective herbicide that uses glyphosate to kill all top growth of the plant while translocating to kill the roots as well. Because glyphosate takes such a broad approach, you will need to be very cautious spraying it around other plants.
  • Pre Emergent herbicides are generally considered ineffective in treating bermuda grass. In certain instances, post-emergent herbicides can help wipe out the plants before they are able to become well established, especially in well-established or recently planted cool season grasses only. Warm season grasses are more susceptible to the post-emergents as they will be growing at the same time as the bermuda grass.

Again, it is very important to apply herbicides at the correct times, at the correct dosages and with care so that neighboring susceptible plants are not accidentally damaged in the process.


Natural Bermuda Grass Weed Killer

There are a variety of natural controls you can use on bermuda grass as well, but how effective they will be depends on your lawn’s specific properties and the extent of the infiltration.

Here are some basic techniques for naturally killing bermuda grass.

  • For small infestations, simply pulling the plants will eliminate them from your lawn, especially when it’s dry. You’ll need to stay on top of any new emerging plants, but if there’s only a couple problem areas, this may be the easiest means to keep the bermuda grass under control.
  • Bermuda grass can tolerate a certain amount of drought, but grows the best when there’s enough moisture for it to take off. If you can leave the area it’s growing dry without harming other desired grasses or ornamentals, this is often enough to kill the plant as it causes the rhizomes that spread the plant to dry up and die off. Spading or tilling a couple times over the summer will also help, but be sure to avoid tilling when there’s moisture in the soil, as this will actually spread the bermuda grass. This will kill the plants themselves, but not any new seeds in the soil.
  • Bermuda grass does not do well in the shade. By increasing shading through additional growth in neighboring shrubs and trees, laying down mulch or landscaping cloth, or using other techniques to shade the plant will keep it from spreading and can cause it to die back.
  • For large areas that need replanting regardless, lay down black or clear plastic film, weight it down at the edges and let the summer sun kill the plants. The black will cause excess heat by causing the soil to heat up, while the clear will cause a greenhouse effect that will kill off the upper parts of the plants and the seeds in the soil, the only technique or treatment that does so. The heat will probably kill the other plants under the plastic, but it’s the best way to entirely eliminate the weed.
  • Stripping off the top several inches of grass and soil, putting down a cardboard or landscaping fabric mulch and then topping it with compost or a compost/soil mix and replanting is extreme, but it’s considered the best way to completely eliminate bermuda grass all together. Some experts even recommend watering the soil after stripping it, removing any rhizomes that begin growing again and then covering and letting it sit before replanting.

Now that you’ve learned how to kill bermuda grass, it’s time to formulate your plan and put it into action.

Whether you’re considering a natural or organic process, a chemical herbicide or simply removing it as it shows up in your lawn, be sure that you are acting at the right time with the proper technique.

With a little diligence to keep bermuda grass from coming back, you’ll be able to enjoy your lawn again in no time!