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Bermuda Lawn Schedule (Atlanta)

I live in Atlanta (Norcross) and have a Bermuda yard thas is in need of some help.   The grass is still pretty brown and I have a few fescue weeds along with some type of little flowery type of weed that popped up everywhere over the past few weeks.


I'm looking for a resource somewhere that tells me what I need to do throughout the year to maintain and keep my yard looking good.  I used to have a lawn maintenance service but couldn't justify the cost and wanted to handle on my own.  I purchased a spreader from HD but not sure what treatments I need now.   I saw in another thread you mention a pre-emergent in February (too late for that now?), once the grass is 50% green in march/april to apply either weed/feed or just premium feed and the in mid-may to aerate and apply lime (and maybe sand).


Can you help me better understand what steps I should be taking now and then what I will need to continue to do on a year round basis if I want to take care of the lawn on my own?  If this was in a previous thread I apologize for asking here but I was unable to find. 


Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help you can provide.


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Posted 2011-03-21T17:18:44+0000  by peheben peheben

Hi Phil,


If you're feeling energetic, use a stiff rake and remove some or all of the grass "mulch" clogging the soil. Even if most of this "thatch" remains on the ground, the raking action will stimulate grass growth. Maybe run the mower with a bagger over it again to clean it up. (Then clean the mower!)


Get some IMAGE to spray the weeds that are already up. The directions call for "rain, 1 to 7 days after application." That means: apply the IMAGE. Wait 24 hours. Water in within the week. If it doesn't rain this week, you need to water the IMAGE in to complete the application.


Aerate soon and apply pre emergent with fertilizer after April 15th. If you aerate after the pre emergent is down, the protective layer will be destroyed.


Apply pre emergent that has nitrogen during the growing season. The no-nitrogen version is for the dormant season.


Lime adjusts the pH of the soil. Grass likes neutral pH of 6 to 7. Trees and shrubs prefer more acidic soil, 4.5 to 6. Lime can be applied at any time of the year. You lime the soil so that the grass can achieve nutrients from the soil more easily.


Sand is a soil amendment, improving the condition of the soil, for better drainage in our clay soil. If you apply sand without aerating, it will probably wash away.


Nice to hear from you again.



Best Answer

Posted 2011-03-22T19:26:54+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Hey, peheben. Ken here in the Chicago area. Welcome to the community

and thanks for your question. I did some research and found the Georgia

Cooperative Extension Service website. Their publication on bermudagrass

is, at the moment, under review and not available. So I went further and found

a bermudagrass maintenance schedule for south Alabama. Now you are in

zone 7B and south Alabama is in zone 8A. I believe the only difference would be

the timing of the schedule. I’m alerting my Atlanta cohorts, LawnRanger and

Greengiant, to follow up on this for me.  They live in your area. They should

be able to fine tune the schedule for you. Here is the link to the schedule.

Good luck and take care.

Posted 2011-03-21T20:05:55+0000  by Ken_HD_CHI

Thanks for the link.  Very helpful!  I also look forward to hearing from colleagues who live down in Atlanta.

Posted 2011-03-22T14:41:18+0000  by peheben

Hi Phil,


Travis here, from The Atlanta Home Depot. Thanks, Hortman, for the vote of confidence.  


Overall, it sounds like you are right on track with your lawn. Let's keep it that way.


Bermuda survives the winter by going dormant. At the time of this post, snow is in the forecast for Tennessee (zone 6). We do not want to encourage our Bermuda lawns out of dormancy too soon. Let the lawn green up naturally before applying nitrogen to it. That's the 50% green adage.


The weeds that are up already can be controlled with a post-emergent weed killer. Ortho Weed-B-Gon, Spectracide Weed Stop and IMAGE are great post-emergent herbicides. Follow the directions on the labels exactly to achieve the best results. The IMAGE will control both the broadleaf weeds of early spring, and the fescue and poa-annua grassy weeds in your Bermuda. Read and follow all label instructions.


Pre-emergent should be applied to prevent the weed seeds that have not yet germinated. The weeds in your yard, as well as your neighbor's yards are producing new seeds every day. Pre-emergent protects you from this onslaught. Home Depot carries three brands of pre-emergent, and each of these come with, or without, fertilizer. Lesco, Scotts and Vigoro all have great products for your needs.


Since Bermuda grass does not need to be overseeded, pre-emergent can be applied all year long. Restrictions do exist for these chemicals: No more than 2 applications each, per year.  Pendimethalin and Dithiopyr are the active ingredients in our pre-emergent. Dithiopyr is best for late spring and summer application, and Pendimethalin is best for fall and winter application. They are both effective and may be applied at any time in your Bermuda lawn. Of course, if you are planning to overseed, wait 4 months after the last application of pre-emergent to do so.


The use of pre-emergent will reduce the need for post-emergent herbicides.


Spring is a great time to aerate a Bermuda lawn. Pre-emergent needs to be re-applied after aeration. Plan to aerate before you apply pre-emergent. Lime and sand can be applied while the holes are open from aeration.


I tend to ramble on, a bit, but there is a lot to consider here! If I missed anything, feel free to post back.


Thanks for asking, I hope I helped!





Posted 2011-03-22T15:09:07+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Hi LawnRanger,


Thanks for the reply - very helpful info.  I have a few follow-up questions for you when you have a moment.


1)   I've cut my lawn short (I believe that is the correct action for bermuda at this stage) - I noticed the ground appears to have a layer of dead grass.   Should I look to clean that up before I take any other actions?


2)  It sounds like I should apply post-emergent now to control the weeds that are in the yard currently.   


3)  Then do I have the option of applying pre-emergent now and then after I aerate (when is the best time to aerate anyway - now?  april?  may?).


4)  What is the determining factor as to whether you apply pre-emergent with or without fertilizer?


5)  With regards to applying lime and sand - is this based on a certain pH reading?  (Also - I've read before but forget the reasoning - why apply sand after aerating?)


Thanks again - this has been very helpful.  I'm ready to head to my local Home Depot to get my supplies so I can get going!

Posted 2011-03-22T18:37:02+0000  by peheben
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