How Tall Should You Cut Bermuda Grass?

Joseph Gilpin
By Joseph Gilpin • Last Updated: June 16, 2022
How Tall Should You Cut Bermuda Grass

If your beautiful lawn of Bermuda grass is starting to look a little unkempt, you might be wondering when you should break out the lawn mower.

And if you’re stumped on how to get your lawn off the ground, we’ve got the right advice for you.

So what IS the right mowing height for Bermuda, anyway?

The right mowing height for Bermuda Grass is between 1 to 1.5 inches. This might need to be changed depending on the time of year and the Bermuda grass you’re growing.

You’ll want to follow our lawn care guide to keep your Bermudagrass lawn nice and healthy!

Ideal Mowing Height for Bermuda Grass

Before you get cutting, remember that it’s perfectly fine to cut Bermuda grass short, so you’ll want to use a reel mower for the job.

The proper mowing height for hybrid Bermuda is 1.5 inches. You can keep it even shorter for common Bermuda, at 1 inch.

You should also never cut more than one-third off the grass blades when mowing. It’s the same story even for a cool-season turfgrass, like tall fescue.

If your lawn still hasn’t sprung up as you want, you’ll want to try an NPK fertilizer.

The letters stand for “Nitrogen (N) – Phosphorous (P) – Potassium (K),” which are the 3 main ingredients in most fertilizers available.

Check the numbers on the bag in order because these list the percentage of each of the big three ingredients.

Of course, do a soil test first to determine whether your lawn can take what you’re going to give it.

The ideal soil pH for Bermuda grass is in the range of 6 to 6.5. Anything higher will be toxic to your grass!

If you’re unsure how to get your soil tested, consult a local extension turfgrass specialist.

When Is the Best Time to Mow My Bermuda Grass?

The best time to cut your Bermuda would be around winter! This is because your lawn is no longer actively growing at this time.

You should also be aware that Bermuda is a warm-season grass, so it’ll grow fastest during the summer months. What this means for you is more mowing per week!

If your Bermuda’s growth begins to get out of hand, it’s time to sharpen your mower. You should aim for one mowing per week.

Reel mower is the best for mowing bermuda grass at a good height

So How Often Should I Be Mowing?

Homeowners in the US will opt to plant Bermuda grass lawns in southern regions because it prefers climate. South Carolina, in particular, has the benefit of being in a transition zone, so anything goes with the soil temperatures there.

A recently sodded but not yet mowed lawn should be good for mowing around the end of winter.

If you’ve already mowed by winter, you can wait until after early spring. This will give your lawn some extra time to green up.

Mowing Bermuda Grass: Year-Long Tips

Winter is a dormancy period for Bermuda since it’s a warm-season grass. It won’t do much in cold weather!

That doesn’t mean your problems are over. You’ll still need something for weed control! Here’s where you can use either post or pre-emergent herbicides.

Pre-emergent herbicide is like a shield for your yard that will defend it from any weeds that might show up.

But if the weeds came too fast for you, you should break out the post-emergent herbicides. Just make sure your grass isn’t greening up yet.

Applying a post-emergent herbicide during spring green-up will mean Bermuda itself will be one of the plants affected.

Mow lower during spring to encourage your Bermuda grass to grow lower too. Your Bermuda lawn won’t just look neater; it should also spread nicely into a thick surface!

This thick surface comes with something extra: Insect problems! In springtime and summer, watch out for mole crickets and bermudagrass mites.

These nasty critters can ruin your yard if left unchecked.

Don’t forget that your soil can have issues too. Compacted soil risks your Bermuda grass lawn and may cause unsightly thinning.

If your lawn is mostly made up of clay soils and isn’t doing so well, this is probably why.

Core aeration should help with loosening up your soil. This is best done in early summer to help your grass get enough nutrients. Loosen up your soil to help with the root development of your lawn!

You can also apply herbicides around summer, but only during the active growing season.

If your lawn’s still not doing so well by late summer, use a high in potassium fertilizer. That’ll help your Bermuda grass keep its winter hardiness.

As one of the warm season grasses, Bermuda is fairly drought-tolerant.

Of course, regardless of the season, make sure your lawn is getting at least 1 inch of water per week. Increase this amount for particularly hot summers.

Pay attention in early fall to weather forecasts. You’ll want to adequately prepare your lawn for the upcoming cool season. You can do this by mowing a little higher throughout the fall.

Bermuda grass needs to be prepared for the cooler nighttime temperatures to come. Giving your lawn some extra height will help throughout the winter.

How Leggy Can Bermuda Grass Get

How Leggy Can Bermuda Grass Get?

Poor lawn care can cause your Bermuda lawn to grow up to 4-12 inches tall!

At that point, a single mowing probably won’t cut it.

When your lawn gets that tall, it’s likely to develop a nasty thatch layer somewhere. As a fast-spreading grass, this isn’t unusual for Bermuda.

After cutting the lawn back down to size, you’ll probably find that thatch. You might be tempted to use a power rake, but we wouldn’t recommend it. You might rip up the soil underneath.

Consider a dethatcher instead!

Bermuda Lawn Care: Basics

Homeowners who went with hybrid bermuda grass for their lawn can cap off at three mowing sessions a week. Common Bermuda will do fine with weekly mowing.

If you’ve gone through a particularly scorching summer, your bermuda grass may have gone through drought stress. This can lead to a breakout of thin spots in your lawn cover.

Weed seeds can spread in these thin patches. Be careful!

If your lawn still doesn’t have its signature, rich green color, consider using a nitrogen fertilizer.

Otherwise, your lawn can supply its fertilizer! Leave any excess grass blades behind you after mowing, and this will feed whatever grass is left.

Frequently Asked Questions

For all your other Bermuda grassy needs!

Can You Overseed Bermuda Grass?

Yes, you can, and we even encourage overseeding Bermuda grass!

Some lawns are hit by the cold harder than others, and they don’t always fully recover from winter.

You’ll run into brown spots or thin spots on your lawn. This is where overseeding comes in!

Don’t forget to apply any weed killers 1.5 to 3 months before you seed. You don’t want to hurt your extra grass because of poor weed control.

It’s better to plant any extra grass seed during late spring so that your lawn has enough time to shake off the winter and green up first.

Make sure you choose perennial grass for this purpose.

We recommend avoiding cool-season grass because its growing season won’t match the rest of your Bermuda grass lawn.

Imagine overseeding to avoid brown spots, only to run into them again later!

Why Should I Mow My Bermuda Grass?

You have to mow your grass if you want a greener lawn!

Looks aside, mowing a bermudagrass lawn is essential lawn care no matter what you want to use it for, like sports.

For example, golf courses and athletic fields need to have their lawns mown for two main reasons. They need to look good, and they need to be conditioned for lateral, not vertical growth.

This sideways growth ensures that the lawn is thick and dense, so it can withstand repeated use without the soil poking through.

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