Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede & Paspalum
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Obi-Lawn_Kenobi
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:42 pm
Location: So Cal
Grass Type: TBD
Lawn Size: 2000
Mower: Greenworks 16" Reel

Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Obi-Lawn_Kenobi »

First post about my 'lawn' after extensive youtube research. Here's what I know:
1. I live in So. Cal and have about a 1500 sqft lawn.
2. I just bought this yard (ok the house as well) in Nov. of last year and the previous owner had it 'professionally maintained'
3. Did a little research and bought the manual reel mower from greenworks. Keep it at 1.25-1.5" tall
4. Stressed the grass out a little during the rainy months (until April) and added a little fertilizer at the beginning of April.
5. Was really happy with it until the hot summer months hit.
6. Added more water and it got more yellow.

Brings us up to date.

From my youtube research it looks like I have rust or melting out (not sure if either of those are the correct terminology) and an EXTENSIVE crown/thatch layer. It's 2 to 3 inches thick in some locations. Most of my stolons are growing horizontally and not vertically. I also think that since I haven't added enough nitrogen on the lawn it has gone into a little bit of stress dormancy in places.

Where do I go from here? Do I do a dethatch and try to pull up all the dead material and crown? I'm worried that I'm going to pull out anything that is alive as well with that since the thatch is so thick and everything growing sideways...and it being the middle of summer. Or do I leave it till the cooler weather and take it all out and reseed. Not sure if I will be able to scalp it with my reel mower before I start the dethatch. You can see how tall it is even on the 1.5" setting. Pictures taken right after mow and clean up.


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ktgrok
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sat May 25, 2019 3:47 pm
Location: Orlando Metro Area, FL
Grass Type: bermuda - maya
Lawn Size: 3,000
Mower: earthwise 7 blade manual reel

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by ktgrok »

That is a lot of thatch. No idea what you should do, but impressive.
Also, have you fertilized it since April? Bermuda likes heat, but also is hungry and wants to be fed. The difference in mine when it gets the Nitrogen and Potassium it needs is night and day. And the more rain the more the nutrients get washed out.

Obi-Lawn_Kenobi
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:42 pm
Location: So Cal
Grass Type: TBD
Lawn Size: 2000
Mower: Greenworks 16" Reel

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Obi-Lawn_Kenobi »

ktgrok wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:32 pm
That is a lot of thatch. No idea what you should do, but impressive.
Also, have you fertilized it since April? Bermuda likes heat, but also is hungry and wants to be fed. The difference in mine when it gets the Nitrogen and Potassium it needs is night and day. And the more rain the more the nutrients get washed out.
I just hit it with some scotts weed and feed a couple weeks ago, got a little bit of forced growth out of it, not sure how much is making it down to the soil though with that thatch layer. Nice thing about socal summer weather...it never rains

viva_oldtrafford
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:10 pm
Location: Florida
Grass Type: Tifdwarf / Celebration / 419
Lawn Size: 200 acres
Mower: Too many to list

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by viva_oldtrafford »

Verticut, core aerify, topdress it. What thatch you don’t remove you’ll dilute with the topdressing.

Greendoc
TLF Supporter
Posts: 2575
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:52 pm
Location: Hawaii
Grass Type: All warm season turf
Lawn Size: Acres
Mower: Toro GM 1000

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Greendoc »

Scalp it down to the dirt. Remove whatever debris comes from that operation. Most people's idea of a scalp is only down to 1/2" or 3/4" I do not call a scalp a scalp unless I see dirt.

FlowRider
TLF Supporter
Posts: 1079
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:59 pm
Location: Southern Texas
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: ~17000 sq. ft.
Mower: John Deere X350 and Honda HRX

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by FlowRider »

The two learned gentlemen above, @viva_oldtrafford and @Greendoc, have given you the best advice about how to fix your turf.

That is a matted mess. Be prepared to haul away a lot of dead thatch, because you will create a lot fixing that.

The good news is once it is all cleared away, your lawn will begin to thrive and will grow very healthy and green...!
I can grow weeds with the best of them...! :bd:

FlaDave
TLF Supporter
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:51 pm
Location: Orlando, fl
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 4400 sq/ft
Mower: Jacobsen pgm 22

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by FlaDave »

That blade and those stolons look quite large. Pictures can be decieving though. I'm wondering if thats all Bermuda?

viva_oldtrafford
Posts: 563
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:10 pm
Location: Florida
Grass Type: Tifdwarf / Celebration / 419
Lawn Size: 200 acres
Mower: Too many to list

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by viva_oldtrafford »

Greendoc wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:41 pm
Scalp it down to the dirt. Remove whatever debris comes from that operation. Most people's idea of a scalp is only down to 1/2" or 3/4" I do not call a scalp a scalp unless I see dirt.
This might be the better option, though the most labor intensive. It’d almost be akin to a light fraze mow.

Greendoc
TLF Supporter
Posts: 2575
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:52 pm
Location: Hawaii
Grass Type: All warm season turf
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Mower: Toro GM 1000

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Greendoc »

viva_oldtrafford wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:16 pm
Greendoc wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:41 pm
Scalp it down to the dirt. Remove whatever debris comes from that operation. Most people's idea of a scalp is only down to 1/2" or 3/4" I do not call a scalp a scalp unless I see dirt.
This might be the better option, though the most labor intensive. It’d almost be akin to a light fraze mow.
Conventional verticutting does little for incorrectly maintained Zoysia. Everyone in Hawaii knows that converting incorrectly mowed Zoysia to reel mowing involves the equivalent of a fraze mow. Bermuda is not that terrible as far as amount of debris generated. I got 160 gallons of debris from cutting down 50 sq ft on a parkway strip yesterday. Emerald Zoysia

TN Hawkeye
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Location: East Tennessee
Grass Type: Fescmuda
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Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by TN Hawkeye »

FlaDave wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:12 pm
That blade and those stolons look quite large. Pictures can be decieving though. I'm wondering if thats all Bermuda?
I agree. The blades and rhizomes look more like kikuyu.
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.

Obi-Lawn_Kenobi
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:42 pm
Location: So Cal
Grass Type: TBD
Lawn Size: 2000
Mower: Greenworks 16" Reel

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Obi-Lawn_Kenobi »

Did some more research on my grass type, its looking more like Zoysia to me now too. Vernation looks rolled to me. Pulled this guy trying to make a run for it across my sidewalk.

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FlaDave
TLF Supporter
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:51 pm
Location: Orlando, fl
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 4400 sq/ft
Mower: Jacobsen pgm 22

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by FlaDave »

It does look more like zoysia to me but I'm not sure. @Spammage has a good eye for grass id.

Spammage
Posts: 1937
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:40 am
Location: Rowlett, Texas
Grass Type: Zoysia/Bermuda
Lawn Size: 6000 + 4000 non-irri
Mower: TruCut C27/John Deere 220B

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Spammage »

@Obi-Lawn_Kenobi yeah, the grass looks like kikuyu to me. That close-up pic is definitely not zoysia. Kikuyu is popular in Socal, so I would research that to see if you can confirm.

Obi-Lawn_Kenobi
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:42 pm
Location: So Cal
Grass Type: TBD
Lawn Size: 2000
Mower: Greenworks 16" Reel

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by Obi-Lawn_Kenobi »

Spammage wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:34 pm
@Obi-Lawn_Kenobi yeah, the grass looks like kikuyu to me. That close-up pic is definitely not zoysia. Kikuyu is popular in Socal, so I would research that to see if you can confirm.
Thanks! I checked out kikuyu when @tn hawkeye mentioned it earlier and didn't think that was correct. Checked out the seed heads photos and this definitely looked liked my lawn in early spring. Actually the whole neighborhood was covered in these seed heads.
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But I'm also getting these seed heads a bunch right now. These look like bermuda seed heads from what I've seen online.

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Now to decide if I want to try and push one over the other.

smarchandiv
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:29 am
Location: Southeast TX
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 26 acres
Mower: Kubota ZD1211 72

Re: Bermuda Crowns and Thatch

Post by smarchandiv »

Rule out chinch bugs also. They are very common this time of year and love a thick thatch layer

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