How to remove Bermuda grass from your lawn

Bermuda grass is a tough grass, known for growing quickly and being highly durable. This makes it an excellent choice for a lawn that’s going to get a lot of wear and tear, but growing Bermuda grass in your yard can be a headache, as it can spread to places it shouldn’t. If a neighbor has Bermuda grass, you may have noticed it creeping into your yard. Even if you planted it yourself, it will often end up in gardens or other sections of the lawn that you’d like to be grass-free. Here are some simple guidelines for getting rid of unwanted Bermuda grass.

What will kill Bermuda grass?

There are a range of things that can kill Bermuda grass. The most obvious things are herbicides. There are a lot of herbicides on the market, but be aware that they will kill other plants, as well. There are some herbicides that specifically target weeds and leave grass alone, but these won’t kill Bermuda grass.

Herbicides with the active ingredients sethoxydim, fluazifop, clethodim, and fenoxaprop are made for killing grass specifically and leaving most other plants alone. Clethodim is considered the most effective for Bermuda grass, followed by sethoxydim and fluazifop. If your Bermuda grass is in your garden beds, these may be a good solution. However, if it is in your lawn, mixed with other grasses that you want to keep, these sprays may kill the other types of grass, as well.

Glass bottle labeled as vinegar on table

Is salt and vinegar an eco-friendly way to kill Bermuda grass?

Salt and vinegar are more eco-friendly than pesticides, although they aren’t as eco-friendly as other solutions. A mixture of 1 cup salt and 1 gallon of vinegar will kill any plant, and it’s so effective that if it soaks into your soil, nothing will grow there for a long time. Spraying a light mist over the plants is safe, as only a few drops will make their way into the soil, and such small quantities will neutralize and disperse quickly.

Do not dispose of any leftover mixture by pouring it into the soil. Vinegar is acidic, which kills plants but can also cause chemical burns on skin in high concentrations, so wear safety gear when mixing and applying vinegar as an herbicide. The acidity of salt and vinegar will kill any plant when applied to it, not just Bermuda grass, so this is best for killing a broad area. Otherwise, you’ll need to target the Bermuda grass specifically, which can be tedious.

Can you dig up Bermuda grass?

You can dig up Bermuda grass, but it can be difficult. Digging up Bermuda grass is really only the best solution if the grass is in a small area and no other options are available. Bermuda grass doesn’t just have its roots underground, but it also has rhizomes. Rhizomes are thick, underground stems that grow sideways. New grass shoots can grow from them, so if the rhizomes are left behind, your work will have been for naught. When digging up Bermuda grass, you want to dig at least 6 inches, to make sure you’re getting the entire plant. The part of ginger that we eat is the rhizome, so be on the lookout for anything that looks like ginger or an oddly shaped potato.

How do you get rid of Bermuda grass organically?

Digging up the entire plant is organic, as is salt and vinegar spray. However, both of these methods come with drawbacks. The best way to organically remove Bermuda grass is to avoid letting it grow in the first place.

You can keep Bermuda grass out of your lawn by maintaining a lush, healthy lawn. This leaves no room for Bermuda grass or weeds to sneak in and take root, and it just looks nice. Fertilize your lawn regularly, make sure it has plenty of water, and reseed quickly when necessary to keep your lawn thick.
Wheelbarrow of mulch next to garden

To keep Bermuda grass out of your garden, apply a thick layer of mulch to the bed. This keeps seeds from getting into the soil or from sprouting if they’re already in the soil. You can avoid Bermuda grass infiltrating your garden through rhizomes by putting a border or barrier around your garden. It needs to be solid and extend 6 inches into the ground, but otherwise can be made out of almost any material that won’t decompose and doesn’t need to extend above the ground. Having it extend above the ground can be helpful, so you can see if it’s shifted and can remove it more easily if you need to.

Bermuda grass has a lot of positives. It’s versatile, strong, and fills in rapidly. Unfortunately, those same positives can turn into negatives pretty quickly. Now that you have these tips to follow, hopefully you can appreciate the resilience of Bermuda grass from a distance.

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