Watering Bermuda Grass - How Much and How Often
Bermuda grass is actually a decent warm-season grass for drier climates. We've seen it outlast many weeds during droughts in the Southeast. However, without any water at all, bermuda grass will eventually become dormant and then start dying out in patches.
So how much should I water my bermuda grass?
Many well-meaning professionals casually toss out the common "one inch per week" response as though all plants in creation are the same. The best way to know for sure is to let your bermuda grass tell you. When you begin to see the color change from deep green to light green to light grayish-blue, then it is time to let the water flow.
Several factors will affect how frequently your bermuda grass needs water:
- The amount of rainfall. Are you using a rain gauge?
- The type of soil. Water will run through sandy soil more quickly than through loam or clay. As a result, watering demands will be more frequent.
- The depth of soil. Regardless of whether you have sand, loam, clay or a mix under your bermuda grass, if you have a solid layer of bedrock two inches down, your soil and bermuda grass root system won't hold much water. Consequently, if you were to follow the advice to water your lawn until it has received one inch, most of that would simply run off as waste. Use a pitchfork or shovel in several parts of your lawn to determine how deep, compacted and rocky your soil layer is.
- The slope of your lawn. The steeper the slope or grade, the faster the water will run off rather than seep in. You can't control how hard the rain falls but if watering your bermuda grass with a sprinkler or hose, apply water more lightly and slowly on steeper slodes in your lawn. This will give the water time to filter into the soil. It can be helpful to stagger the watering if the soil is very dry, hard, or clay-based with a first application of 20 - 30 minutes to soften the soil and two more applications at one hour intervals to allow the water time to do its work.
- One area where we do agree with other professionals is regarding the best time of day to water your grass. We suggest watering between 6am and 9am in the morning. Watering in the afternoon can be wasteful due to evaporation and a wet lawn at night increases the chances of certain types of diseases in your bermuda grass.