Bermuda Grass Expectations in Williamsburg During The Spring Months

Each spring, Bermuda grass comes out of dormancy at different times in the Williamsburg area. Some years Bermuda grass green up in March, and other times as late as early May. This year, 2015 because of a cooler spring, we are looking at the latter scenario.

Bermuda grass begins to green up in the spring when night temperatures consistently stay above 60 degrees, and/or the soil temperatures are 65 degrees or higher when taken at a four inch depth. The warmer temperatures stimulate new growth from the stolons and rhizomes of the plant.

Bermuda grass does not green up from the brown stems and leaves that can be seen during the winter. The plant actually greens up from the ground up. Therefore it is beneficial to cut Bermuda grass down to one inch or lower in the first part of April.

When Bermuda grass is mowed at one inch or lower in early April, it allows more sunlight to reach the soil surface causing the soil to heat up more quickley. After the initial mowing, maintaining a mowing height of 1.5 -2 inches is recommended.

Other ways to heat up the soil at a faster pace along with closer mowing heights is to top-dress lightly with dark soil mix or spray the lawn green. Anything to absorb sunlight and cause heat.

Once the Bermuda grass comes out of dormancy, it will not grow like it does after a good July thunderstorm in the Williamsburg area.   Air temperatures in Williamsburg in late May average highs of 83 degrees and lows of 63 degrees. Our experience, Bermuda grass does not really start grow to its full potential until after Memorial weekend. After Memorial weekend it’s guaranteed that day and night temperatures will rise higher along with the humidity, which is the perfect recipe for Bermuda grass to thrive.

So it is important to apply a balanced slow release fertilizer to the yard in May. This allows the Bermuda grass plant to obtain nutrients and be prepared to grow when the time comes. With optimum growth, Bermuda grass will be able to fill in any voids from winter damage. By the end of June, a Bermuda grass stand should be fully grown in.