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6 Best Fertilizers for Bermuda Grass in 2023 for Thick Grass

Keep your bermuda grass healthy and green all year

By
Jake Perry | Updated January 25, 2023
bermuda grass

If you own a home with a lawn, chances are you have Bermuda grass. And if you have Bermuda grass, you know that it requires special care to stay healthy and green all year long. 

With the correct care routine, patience, and the right fertilizer for Bermuda grass, you can have a lawn that looks amazing all year round. 

What to Look for in a Bermuda Grass Fertilizer

The best fertilizer for Bermuda grass lawn care is a slow-release fertilizer. This fertilizer will release nutrients over time, which is ideal for grass that isn’t growing as quickly in the winter.

Fertilizer is commonly known by the percentages of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) that are contained within. These three numbers will be printed on the back and are often referred to as the N-P-K ratio. Generally, slow-release fertilizers will have a ratio of 3:2:1.

An excellent slow-release fertilizer will have a high percentage of nitrogen, as this is the nutrient that grass needs the most. You should look for a fertilizer with a low percentage of phosphorus, as this can be harmful to grass. 

For example, 12-4-8 fertilizer contains 12% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 8% potassium by weight. The remaining 76%, an inert material that adds to the mixture’s bulk and spreads it more easily, brings the total up to 100%.

Soluble nitrogen becomes available to the Bermuda Grass plant immediately, while nitrogen in slow-release form takes two to three months before the plant can use it. 

Pro Tip: it is better to use as much nitrogen in slow-release form as possible. This amount is usually noted on a fertilizer bag, saying something like “containing 8% in slow-release”.

Best fertilizers for Bermuda grass

Applying Fertilizer to Bermuda Grass

You can apply fertilizer to your Bermuda grass in a few different ways. The most common method is to use a broadcast spreader. This spreader evenly distributes the fertilizer over a large area, making it quick and easy to fertilize your entire lawn. 

Here are some excellent broadcast spreaders:

If you have a small lawn, you can also apply fertilizer by hand. This is a slower process, but it’s more accurate and will help you avoid wasting fertilizer. 

To apply fertilizer by hand, pour the recommended amount into a plastic bag and then sprinkle it over the grass using your hands. Make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals in the fertilizer.

Another option is to use a drop spreader. This spreader is ideal for small lawns or areas that are difficult to reach with a broadcast spreader. To use a drop spreader, fill the hopper with fertilizer and then walk forward, allowing the fertilizer to drop behind you as you go. Make sure to overlap your passes to catch all the spots.

Here are a few drop spreaders:

Whichever method you choose, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the fertilizer bag. Applying too much fertilizer can damage your lawn to the point of no return.

If this does happen, you can repair the damage using grass seed, water, and time. You will need to ensure that the affected area gets enough water so the grass seed can germinate and grow. 

Be patient, as the new grass may take a few weeks or even months to fill the damaged areas.

How Much Fertilizer to Apply to Bermuda Grass

The amount of fertilizer you need to apply to Bermuda grass will depend on a few factors, such as the type of grass you have, the N-P-K ratio, and the size of your lawn. 

Generally, you should apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. So, if you have a 5,000-square-foot lawn, you must apply 5 pounds of nitrogen. 

If you’re using a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 3:2:1, this would mean that you would need to use 15 pounds of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet.

It’s always best to err on caution and use less fertilizer than you think you need. You can always add more if necessary, but it’s almost impossible to remove excess fertilizer once applied.

To avoid damaging your lawn, read the manufacturer’s instructions on the fertilizer bag before applying any to your grass.

When to Fertilize Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that grows best in the spring and summer. However, that doesn’t mean it stops growing altogether in the winter. 

The best time to fertilize your Bermuda grass is in late fall or early winter, before the first frost. This gives the fertilizer time to work its way into the roots before the ground freezes.

Fertilizing your Bermuda grass in the winter helps to give it a boost when growth resumes in the spring.

You want to avoid fertilizing mid-winter as this can damage the grass. The fertilizer will sit on top of the snow/frozen grass and be subject to leaching by rain or melting snow.

This can lead to fertilizer burn, which is when the chemicals damage the grass roots in the fertilizer.

Fertilizing mid-winter can also cause the grass to come out of dormancy. When the grass next freezes, the grass will die due to being in the wrong state to deal with freezing.

The Top 3 Winter Fertilizers for Bermuda Grass

How To Revive Bermuda Grass That’s Dying During Winter

Although Bermuda grass is a tough grass that can withstand a lot, there are times when it may start to die back during the winter months.

This is usually due to weather conditions that are too extreme, such as prolonged periods of freezing temperatures. If your Bermuda grass is dying back during the winter, here are some tips for reviving it.

  • Start by raking up any dead grass and debris. This will help to aerate the soil and give the new growth a chance to take hold.
  • Apply a thin layer of compost over the entire lawn. This will help to add nutrients back into the soil slowly.
  • Water deeply, but only when the temperatures are above freezing. Watering during a cold snap can do more harm than good.
  • If the grass is still not greening up after a few weeks, you may need to apply a winter fertilizer in small quantities. Look for one that is high in nitrogen, as this will help the grass to start growing again quickly.

Your Questions, Answered

When Should You Expect Results From Bermuda Grass Fertilization Following Winter?

It can take two to four weeks for the Bermuda grass to show signs of new growth after being fertilized in the spring. The new growth will be green and healthy, with strong roots that can withstand heat and drought. 

If you apply fertilizer in the fall, you may not see any results until the following spring. However, the grass will be better able to survive the months and less likely to experience brown patches or die-back.

Should You Fertilize Bermuda Grass in the Summer?

Avoid fertilizing Bermuda grass in the summer, as this can do more harm than good. The hot weather can cause the fertilizer to burn the grass, leaving brown patches. If you must fertilize during the summer, only use half the recommended amount and thoroughly water the lawn afterward. Doing this will help reduce the risk of burning the grass.

Summary 

Nitrogen fertilizer for Bermuda grass is important in maintaining a healthy lawn. The best time to fertilize is in the early fall, about six weeks before the first frost. You can also fertilize about six weeks before the last frost in the spring.

You can apply fertilizer to your Bermuda grass in a few different ways. The most common method is to use a broadcast spreader. If you have a small lawn, you can apply fertilizer by hand or use a drop spreader. Whichever method you choose, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the fertilizer bag. Applying too much fertilizer can damage your lawn, so it’s essential to be cautious. 

Following these tips, you can keep your Bermuda grass healthy and green all year.

Written by Jake Perry

Jake Perry

Jake Perry is a writer from the United Kingdom. He travels the world while working from his laptop, learning about new gardening and agriculture trends from gardeners around the world.