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Lawn & Garden

What is the difference between Hybrid Bermuda Grass and Bermuda Grass seed?

With all the hybridization of turf grasses out there, there can be some confusion between the hybrid grasses and the non-hybrid grass seed.

To give an understanding of how and why turf grasses are designed, lets look at it like this. Poodles are smart dogs that do not shed and Labrador Retrievers are loyal, fun water dogs that shed like crazy. When you breed the two dogs, you get a Labradoodle which is a very smart Labrador that does not shed.

Grasses are no different in the fact that we find 2 grasses with different, desirable traits and we breed them to create a more desirable grass. Tiftway 419 Bermuda Grass is certainly a popular Hybrid Bermuda, bred for its dark blue-green color and its thick, short growth. I was cutting a yard and thought that it was a great learning opportunity for us and that we could learn a few things from it.

The yard below is a great example of why we want a hybrid over a seed Bermuda and why we do not overseed a hybrid. This yard was not cut for 2 weeks and the first half of the yard is Hybrid Tiftway 419 and the second half is common Bermuda seed. The Hybrid in the pictures below show that in 2 weeks, it may have grown 2 inches and when cut, it remains thick, green and beautiful. Once the mower works its way into the common seeded Bermuda, you will see that in 2 weeks, it had grown 8 to 10 inches and when it is cut, there is no green and you just see sparse runners that look bad.

The picture below goes from the common seeded Bermuda to the Hybrid.

Hybrid Bermuda to common seeded Bermuda below.


Hybrid grasses are bred for desirable traits in other grasses. Many of these traits include shade tolerance, disease resistance, compact growth and color. As a result of this breeding however, these grasses produce a sterile seed head which is why you will not find a hybrid seed.

I often have customers come into the store to get seed to throw over their Hybrid Bermuda to thicken it up. First I ask "Is the area that is struggling getting some shade?". If the answer is yes then I explain that no Bermuda seed will tolerate shade and that will not fix the problem. If the answer is that there is no shade, that's when we walk to the tool rental department to rent a core aerator to aerate their yard.

Bermuda is very popular with golf courses. Their soils are primarily sand in these areas. Our Georgia soil is primarily clay. Core aeration, along with top dressing the lawn with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sand will fix the problem with a struggling Bermuda lawn by softening up the soil and making the ground more porous, allowing a deeper healthier root system. This is the solution to a struggling Bermuda lawn that is not getting shade. If you have a big bare area and Sod is not in the budget, Bermuda seed is a good solution.


Common Bermuda after 2 weeks, cut at 2.5 inches.


 Other related articles:

What are the numbers on fertilizer? What are the different types of grass?

Winter grass

What is Lime and Why is it Important?


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Posted 2014-08-10T14:57:51+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL