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How to Kill Bermuda Grass Without Damaging Your Lawn

Are you looking for ways to kill Bermuda grass? This type of grass can be great as a designated grass for lawns. Yet if it’s not one, it can be one of the most notorious weeds. 

Its qualities like high survival ability can become a problem if it’s unwanted. How do you find the best bermuda grass killer, and how should you apply it? Are there any other ways to kill it without using herbicides?


How to Kill Bermuda Grass

How to Kill Bermuda Grass

Despite the name, originally this grass is from Africa—from its cool and dry plains where nutrients are scarce, and the weather is severe. It looks very nice and smooth when mowed well; it’s hard to kill once it’s there.

These two features make Bermuda grass great for lawns in some regions: It grows well and looks fantastic. However, these qualities show their downsides when you decide to sow something else on that ground. 

Great as a friend, Bermuda grass is relentless as an enemy. Extinguishing it as a weed will take some skill and effort and some specialized products for its extermination.

But which ones are the best weed killer for Bermuda grass? Are herbicides the only way? Let’s see how you can fight it.

Bermuda Grass Killer: Is it Safe to Use? 

In the 21st century, if you want to extinguish some weed from your property, you turn to herbicides. Now they are less dangerous than five decades ago (though not completely safe), plus there are many specialized types.

There are some for Bermuda grass as well. The problem is that you don’t want to kill or prevent other plants you plan to sow there from growing. Organic herbicides are a thing now. 

Not to say that everything natural is harmless to the environment and (which you may especially care about) your pets and even kids. Yet the risks are minimized, and the effect remains within the range of what naturally happens in ecosystems. 

Choosing the Best Bermuda Grass Killer

Applying organic herbicides is essentially the same as with synthetic ones. They may be non-selective as well and kill everything they reach, so a certain degree of care is still necessary. 

Here is what you need to consider using removing bermuda grass with organic herbicides:

  • They are still meant to kill. Some contain natural substances like lemon acid which we all have experienced with our own eyes - literally. And knowing it’s natural didn’t help at all.

    So there is no absolute safety, though the effect on your pets or kids will be minimized.
  • Many organic herbicides require special conditions, like sun or rain. Read the instructions to know how exactly to apply the herbicide you have.
  • Its usage always takes time. You know, Mother Nature has all the time in the world, while we don’t.
  • You need to know which part of the plant to apply them to. Some of them affect roots, others destroy leaves, others prevent seeds from germinating.

Anyway, read the warning on the tin before using the product. It can be quite efficient, but its side effects might be unacceptable for you. Therefore, you might want to consider alternative methods.

Other Methods for Killing Bermuda Grass

What if you don’t want to apply any herbicides? Maybe, you’re worried about your kids or even pets who might suffer from the chemicals; it’s usually not the case, but there might be individual cases of hypersensitivity or allergy.

Maybe, you plan to grow other plants that would be affected by the chemicals as well. Whatever your reason, you can opt for some other way of controlling Bermuda grass. These methods exist, even in the plural.


Another method of weed control that shows its efficiency against Bermuda grass is solarization. We know that Bermuda grass feels great in cool climate conditions with less water.

Solarization provides the opposite: a lot of heat. Under the sun, the grass will literally burn out. To solarize the soil, you need to cover it with clear plastic, creating (so to say) a small greenhouse over your flowerbed or lawn.

A similar method involves landscaping fabric instead of plastic. You need to cover the area with fabric, leaving small holes for the plants you want to grow there.


Other Methods for Killing Bermuda Grass

Though it’s often perceived as an element of generic soil care, rototilling also helps to get rid of some weeds, and it does help against Bermuda grass.

It works if you do it deep enough—at least at 6 inches. It’s best done when the weather is hot and dry, so the roots are exposed to much sun and little water. Under these conditions, they will die soon.

After rototilling, you can plant or sow other grasses, flowers, or any plants without the risk of Bermuda grass return. The trouble is it will take time—up to three or four two-week periods after which you might need to repeat the procedure.

If you are on the market for a reliable rototiller, be sure to check out our buying guide and product review of the best ones available for 2022

Keeping them Fed

One of the methods on how to get rid of bermuda grass might seem like a paradox, yet it works. This method implies that you keep your soil sufficiently irrigated and fertilized. 

“Why?” you might ask. “For weeds?” The trick is that these conditions will enable other grasses to flourish and thrive. If nutrients and water are scarce, Bermuda grass will get the best of its rivals and use its adjustability to such factors to its advantage. 

If other grasses are well-fed and watered, this advantage is neutralized.

Cardboard Isolation (with Manual Removal)

Though it sounds like hard and annoying labor, it is one of the most efficient ways to completely remove Bermuda grass from your lawn or flowerbeds.

Given that Bermuda grass is noticeable, it will be easier than it seems; still, it’s only recommended for smaller areas like flowerbeds.

After you remove the plants insolent enough to be visible, it’s recommended to cover the area with two or three layers of cardboard and put about 5-6” thick of mulch there.

Thus, the bermuda grass growth will be deprived of sunlight, water, and nutrients from the air, while the plants you sow or plant up there in the mulch will have it all.

Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Kill Bermuda Grass

If you do it right, it will cease the presence of bermuda grass on your lawn or flowerbeds. If you have already tried any of these methods or can recommend other ways to kill bermuda grass, welcome to the comments section below, under the related posts that you might also like.

About the Author Pat Moreno

Pat is our gardening tool expert here at Sumo Gardener. Working for many years as a private and commercial landscaper, Pat has used almost every type of gardening tool there is. Along with a vast knowledge for types of plants and putting together an amazing looking and maintainable garden, Pat developed a passion for gardening tools as he found that using the right tools vastly improved the ease and outcome of any landscaping job he undertook. When spending hours, days or years using a particular tool, you want to make sure you’ve got the best one for the job, and Pat is the right guy to guide us to the best gardening tools.

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