Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede & Paspalum
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Topic Author
LucaDog
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:05 pm
Location: Orange County, CA
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 1000 ft2
Mower: gardener

Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by LucaDog »

Hi All,
First post here, I read through the Bermuda Bible and still am at a loss-

I have a 40 year old Bermuda lawn, located in coastal Southern California. Over the years, it has build up so much that it is now crowning 3-4 inches above the surrounding brick work. The grass itself is in poor health, lots of rhizomes showing and minimal nice green shoots.

I would like to somehow shave down the height of the turf, so that the lawn once again sits level with the surrounding brickwork. I'd like to get it growing nice little green blades of grass as well.

I'm tempted to rototill, bulldoze, and then let the rhizomes re-sprout. Somehow, I'm thinking there is a better way ;)
All advice much appreciated!

coreystooks
Posts: 175
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:21 pm
Location: Florece, AL
Grass Type: Tifway 419
Lawn Size: 40,000 Sq. Ft.
Mower: Jacobsen, Honda, Gravely

Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by coreystooks »

Pictures would help. In the spring I would start by using a string trimmer and taking it to nothing but dirt if it's not too big of an area as a starting point.

viva_oldtrafford
Posts: 622
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:10 pm
Location: Florida
Grass Type: Tifdwarf / Celebration / 419
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Mower: Too many to list

Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by viva_oldtrafford »

you could take a sod cutter and do a poor mans fraze mow.

User avatar
Redtwin
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Location: Panama City, Florida
Grass Type: Tifway 419
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Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by Redtwin »

viva_oldtrafford wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:41 pm
you could take a sod cutter and do a poor mans fraze mow.
Short of seeing some photos... this is what I would do.

LoCutt
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:32 pm
Location: South of the border
Grass Type: Tifway 419-II
Lawn Size: 8,000 sq ft
Mower: Toro triplex, several others

Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by LoCutt »

Without seeing the lawn, usually this issue is fixed by a severe verticut. After it's done, you'll think you've ruined it. But you didn't and the Bermuda will come storming back.

There's several different machines that will do the job. One has a bunch of blades (like on a SkilSaw) and it literally slices through the turf. The depth of cut is adjustable. You probably need to go deep. Another machine has "L" shaped arms that freely pivot. When the machine runs, centrifugal force makes the blades extend. Its depth is adjustable too, and it's usually set to just skim the soil surface. In your case, you might need to go deeper.

Regardless of your HOC, your grass will need periodic verticut. How often depends on moisture, nutrients, and your cultural practices. Around here, most people only verticut during the growing season. I'd wait until spring green-up, but I haven't lived in soCal. The biggest part of your job will be the clean-up, and the debris will definitely need to be removed.

You're not going to kill your Bermuda doing this... you'll just think so. If you know of any golf courses in your area, I'd ask them for advice. I wouldn't ask lawn care companies.

Topic Author
LucaDog
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:05 pm
Location: Orange County, CA
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 1000 ft2
Mower: gardener

Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by LucaDog »

LoCutt- thanks. Makes perfect sense.

Seems like the trickiest part will be getting the surface relatively level after all the destruction. Any tips for that?

Greendoc
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Grass Type: All warm season turf
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Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by Greendoc »

That is what sand is for. Thereafter, watch the overwatering and overfeeding. When Bermuda is mowed, I prefer it get scalped a little at that time rather than kept green only to have it thatch up.

LoCutt
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:32 pm
Location: South of the border
Grass Type: Tifway 419-II
Lawn Size: 8,000 sq ft
Mower: Toro triplex, several others

Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by LoCutt »

The combination of verticut with light topdressing afterwards is ideal. You just hit your problem from two directions!

Greendoc
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Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by Greendoc »

:thumbup:

TN Hawkeye
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Re: Need to reduce built-up Bermuda height

Post by TN Hawkeye »

Given your description and location it may end up being kikuyu grass. Lots of people mistake it for bermuda. Plus it is notorious for growing thick and tall thatch over time. Please post some photos.
I may not have the best lawn and I may not have a clue what I’m doing but that’s pretty much all I have to say.

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