How to Plant a Bermuda Grass Lawn

Learn how to plant, care for, and repair this popular Southern lawn grass.

So, what is bermuda grass? Most often planted in Southern states, bermuda grass tolerates heat, drought, salt, and traffic, and uses less water than most other common turf grasses. This grass type spreads laterally as it grows and is able to repair itself in many situations, thanks to creeping stems that grow both below and above the ground. Bermuda grass is not shade-tolerant, though, so it's best for open landscapes that receive full sunlight.

Because it is a warm-season grass, bermuda grass will grow and be green during the summer, then may go dormant and turn brown during the winter in areas with cool temperatures. Don't be alarmed if your bermuda is brown from October to April. That's natural!

Keep reading to learn how to seed bermuda grass, when to plant bermuda grass seed, and more!

(Not sure if you have a bermuda grass lawn? Read our "Identify Your Grass" article to help you identify your grass.)

How to Plant Bermuda Grass Seed

The best time to plant bermuda grass is during the late spring after the threat of frost has passed and daily high temperatures are consistently in the 80s. The most cost-effective way to plant a bermuda grass lawn is from seed. Here's how to do it:

  1. Lightly rake the soil, loosening it up so that the new seeds can make good contact with the soil surface.
  2. Use a Scotts® spreader to apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass according to package instructions. This will help the grass seed get off to a good start.
  3. Apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed Bermuda Grass with your spreader. Check the seed package for spreader settings. Lightly rake the seed into the soil surface, then firm the soil with a tamper, roller, or garden tractor tires.
  4. Water 3 to 4 times daily to keep the seed and soil surface moist. Apply about â…› inch of water each time.
  5. Do not cover new bermuda grass seed with straw. If you need to protect the area from erosion, use a weed-free mulch and cover less than 50 percent of the ground.

How to Water a Bermuda Grass Lawn

A few days after the grass begins to sprout, you can reduce watering frequency to twice per day, but apply more water each time. When seedlings are about an inch tall, begin watering once per day, giving about ÂĽ inch of water each time. To avoid erosion and runoff, try to apply the water only as fast as the soil absorbs it. Once your lawn becomes established, you can reduce watering to twice per week, but water more deeply each time. Aim for an inch or more of water per week to encourage deep rooting. In areas such as the East, where rainfall is more plentiful, your lawn may not need regular irrigation at all. You can tell the lawn needs to be watered when it takes on a kind of grayish cast and doesn't immediately bounce back when you walk on it. 

How to Mow a Bermuda Grass Lawn

Mow newly planted bermuda grass lawns once seedlings have reached 2 inches high. Once it's established, you'll want to maintain your bermuda grass lawn at 1 to 2 inches, a slightly shorter height than many other types of lawn grasses. Mow frequently enough that you never have to remove more than â…“ of the grass height.

How to Fertilize a Bermuda Grass Lawn

About 4 weeks after applying the Starter Food, feed your bermuda grass lawn with Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food. Be sure to follow the directions on the label. Continue to fertilize every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season, stopping when the grass naturally slows its growth in early fall.

How to Repair Patches in a Bermuda Grass Lawn

If your lawn develops brown spots or dead patches from foot traffic, insect problems, or pets, simply patch and repair them with Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair Bermudagrass. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Prepare the patch by removing weeds and dead grass and loosening the soil.
  2. Apply the EZ Seed® at the recommended rate.
  3. Gently water the repaired area until the EZ Seed® is fully saturated and does not take up any more water.
  4. Water whenever the EZ Seed® mulch starts to turn a light brown.
  5. Do not let kids, pets, or lawn mowers on the new grass until the seedlings are at least 2 inches tall.

How to Get a Green Lawn in Winter

If you want to have a green lawn all winter, you can overseed bermuda grass with Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed Quick Fix® Mix in the fall. This ryegrass mix will give you a green lawn all winter and die back in the spring just as the bermuda grass is waking up.