How to Kill Bermuda Grass and Get Rid of it in Your Lawn

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Bermuda grass weed in lawns and flower beds can be very difficult to control since it grows really fast and takes over the lawn. The best way to kill Bermuda grass is to choke it out, solarize it, or use a selective herbicide. Spot treating for small invasions can also get rid of Bermuda grass weeds fast.

I’ve seen great results after applying a highly effective selective Bermuda grass killer such as Ornamec 170 Grass Herbicide. Or if you have crops being invaded or have bigger areas to treat I like to use Fusilade II for that. Both actually kill quite a number of grassy weeds.

Is Bermuda grass a weed in lawns and flower beds?

There are different varieties of Bermuda grass used for hay, lawns and golf courses. Apart from being useful in these ways, this tough grass is also an invasive weed, especially in tall fescue and zoysia lawns. You may find your beautiful flower bed being taken over by a fast-spreading Bermuda grass weed.

If you’re looking to get rid of Bermuda grass from your fescue or zoysia turfgrass, using a herbicide may be ill-advised, as the chemicals may harm the wanted grass varieties as well.

As for flowerbed weed invasions, you can go for any of the several chemical and mechanical measures to kill the Bermuda grass from your garden.

How to Kill Bermuda Grass in Your Lawn

How To Kill Bermuda Grass Weed from Zoysia
Treated Common Bermuda in a Zoysia Lawn.

There still exist additional natural methods for removing Bermuda grass from your lawn or flower bed. For instance, you can solarize the unwanted grass, or use a method known as cultivation.

Here are the best ways to kill Bermuda grass weeds in your lawn:

1. Bermuda grass killer

You can quickly kill Bermuda grass using a herbicide that’s great at controlling perrenial grassy weeds including torpedo grass, quackgrass, and Bermuda grass.

My go-to Bermuda grass killer in lawns is Ornamec.

Ornamec® Over-The-Top Grass Herbicide, 1 Quart, 7781086
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Ornamec® Over-The-Top Grass Herbicide, 1 Quart, 7781086
  • Ornamec Over the Top is designed for maintenance of landscape beds
  • Reduces risk of ornamental plant injury
  • Active ingredient begins to work within five days

Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-01-30

For crops and larger areas, I like to use Fusliade II. Just follow the instruction on the label for proper coverage. I usually apply it in the spring and fall. Just depends on how heavy the coverage is.

2. Solarization

Solarizing is best done during summer seasons when there’s usually an abundance of direct sunlight and soil heat. The heat and sun will ‘bake’ the grass and eventually kill Bermuda grass.

Solarization to kill lawn weeds

Here’s how to solarize and kill Bermuda grass in summer:

  1. Prep the Bermuda grass by mowing it just above ground level. This leaves you with less growth to work with.
  2. Stretch out clear plastic sheets over the overgrown Bermuda grass spots.
  3. Properly anchor your clear plastic sheets by securing down their loose perimeters with metal sticks or heavy stones every few meters.
  4. Allow the plastic sheets stay put for about a month-and-a-half. This allows enough time for the sun’s ultra-violet rays to entirely fry out and kill the invading Bermuda grass.

The clear plastic works by magnifying solar heat rays, causing the Bermuda grass to burn out.

Weighing down the plastic sheets with heavy rocks ensures that they won’t be pulled away by the wind.

3. Cultivation

This method is best used during the summer or in dry regions since Bermuda grass roots aren’t especially heat-tolerant. Cultivation to get rid of Bermuda grass entails plowing out your lawn soil up to a depth of about six inches.

This ensures that all underground roots are brought up to the surface, where they can then be left to dry out and die. Repeat the cultivation process fortnightly- for as long as necessary- to ensure that all Bermuda grass rhizomes and stolons are removed.

4. Choking out Bermuda grass weeds

It’s possible to choke out Bermuda grass from your lawn by mulching. This is best done using landscaping fabric. Alternatively, you can smother the Bermuda grass root system using a piece of cardboard.

To get rid of Bermuda grass naturally, go for the choking method. In general, there are two great ways of doing this as described below:

Using landscaping fabric

  1. Spread out the landscaping fabric sheet over the affected lawn area.
  2. Cut out holes in the sheet to create room for the wanted grass species.
  3. Spread a layer of mulch, sand, or gravel over the landscaping fabric for weight.
  4. Monitor the edges and cuttings you made on your landscaping fabric to ascertain that no new Bermuda grass has spread out.
landscape fabric to kill bermuda grass

Mulching ensures that your wanted plants have access to moisture and nutrients.

Monitoring on a regular basis prevents the spreading of Bermuda weeds, which usually happens especially in instances where the installation of the fabric sheet wasn’t done properly.

You should, therefore, contract a lawn expert if you aren’t sure of the correct way to go about covering your lawn with landscaping fabric.

The Bermuda grass root growth should be contained within two months by the dense landscaping fabric.

Using pieces of cardboard

This is another effective sheet-mulching technique. The barrier created by the cardboard pieces over the Bermuda grass turf denies the unwanted plant of the sunlight that it needs for photosynthesis.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively set-up a cardboard sheet mulch to kill Bermuda grass in your lawn:

  1. First, reduce the density of Bermuda grass you’re left to work on by using a lawnmower or weed-eater.
  2. Then, cover the affected area with a half-inch layer of compost to trigger biological activity.
  3. Flatten and stack two appliance cardboard boxes, such that they’re two layers thick.
  4. Lay the stacked cardboard atop the affected area, ensuring to anchor them with Sod Staples. This hampers the penetration of new Bermuda grass growth.
  5. Wet up all the cardboard pieces and apply three inches of mulching over the affected area.
  6. You should then leave the affected lawn area undisturbed for up to four months. This provides enough time for the stubborn Bermuda grass to choke out entirely.

Can you choke out Bermuda grass with fescue?

Fusilade II Used To Kill Goosegrass & Bermuda in Fescue

If you have a fescue lawn, you can choke out Bermuda grass easily by promoting its growth as well as killing the invading bermuda. To do this, apply Fusilade II herbicide, then mow your lawn more often to encourage fescue grass to grow thick and full, choking out Bermuda grass weeds.

Does vinegar kill Bermuda grass?

One effective way of killing bermudagrass weeds naturally is to use vinegar. Apply a 10% vinegar solution on the weeds to eradicate it organically.

Take caution with this method since vinegar is a non-selective natural weed killer. It can easily kill your lawn grass alongside the unwanted weeds.

Does roundup kill Bermuda grass?

Roundup is one of the best bermuda grass killers. It contains glyphosate – a chemical known to get rid of many grass weeds. Spray it on the leaves to ensure maximum absorption of the herbicide.

Apply roundup from spring to fall since doing so in January when bermudagrass is in a state of dormancy may not produce great results.

How to Get Rid of Bermuda Grass in Zoysia Lawn

The selective elimination of a perennial grass variety- like Bermuda grass- from another perennial lawn grass like zoysia grass can be a lengthy, tiring process.

Certain Bermudagrass control chemical solutions (like Bayer’s Fenoxaprop-p-ethyl) tend to kill off the wanted zoysia species. As I’ve talked about in the post already, a herbicide such as Fusilade II can be used to kill Bermuda grass in Zoysia lawns, but at a reduced rate.

Does Fusilade II Kill Bermuda grass?

This herbicide is great for killing Bermuda grass without killing zoysia grass in your turf. Fusilade II should be used with a high-quality non-ionic surfactant and applied once every month at a reduced rate.

According to a study done by the University of Georgia, repeating this process for two successive years will result in a significant reduction of Bermuda grass cover (35% to 7%). Meanwhile, your zoysia grass cover will be enhanced by up to 20% within the same period.

How to Kill Bermuda Grass in Fescue Lawns

If the weeds are growing in your fescue lawn and taking over, there’s something you can do to get rid of them fast. Here’s a guide on how to get rid of Bermuda grass weeds in a fescue lawn.

1. Mow fescue lawn at a higher height

The first crucial step in suppressing the spread of Bermuda grass in your fescue lawn is to establish the perfect conditions for your tall fescue grass turf to dominate.

This can be achieved by mowing your lawn at a higher height (2-3 inches). This will reduce the amount of sunlight supply to the Bermuda grass, thereby reducing its chances of thriving.

2. Apply a Bermuda grass killer

The next step is to find a suitable herbicide. Most weed grass killers only eliminate top growth, leaving the Bermuda grassroots.

Bermuda grass is usually able to persist on tall fescue lawns- even after herbicide application- through these nutritional reserves that remain underneath the soil. They enable the weed grass to reestablish itself on your fescue lawn after a while.

To entirely kill off Bermuda grass from your fescue lawn, you need a systemic weed grass killer. Examples include Ornamec Over-the-top and Turflon Ester. These herbicides contain chemicals that spread from the sprayed leaf blades to the roots, rhizomes, and stolons, killing off the whole Bermuda grass plant, not just the visible parts.

Killing Bermuda grass in flower beds

It’s also not unusual to find Bermuda grass creeping in on backyard flower beds where they aren’t needed. Whether it’s through its stolons or underground rhizomes, these grass species are known to spread fast.

If you want to prevent from taking over your landscaping, here are a few steps you should take to get rid of Bermuda grass weeds:

  1. Grab the ends of the Bermuda grass stolons, pulling them back towards the direction from which they’re spreading.
  2. Pull out roots attached to the stolon and growing into the ground underneath as well.
  3. Cut off the stolon once you’ve pulled it back to the edge of your garden/flower bed.
  4. Dig out/pull out the ends of Bermuda grass rhizomes, as this is the other way through which this weed grass can spread into flower beds.

If the above physical removal methods don’t stop Bermuda grass weed from growing in your lawn, try chemical weed grass removal.

We recommend the use of a glyphosate solution, which should be sprayed into the Bermuda grass rhizomes and stolons as well as along the garden edges to discourage new Bermuda growth.

When doing so, you might want to adjust the nozzle of your garden sprayer to a fine spray, and hold the nozzle to the targeted plants as close as possible. This is to minimize the chances of the herbicide’s overspray landing on your wanted garden plants and harming them.

How to Stop Bermuda Grass from Spreading

Casually known as devil’s grass or couch grass, Bermuda grass is beloved by homeowners and landscaping professionals for its drought-hardiness and wear resistance. It’s also great as animal fodder.

However, when it is a weed in your lawn or yard, it spreads faster than most of the good turfgrasses such as St. Augustine, fescues and even bluegrasses.

If you want to manage the spread of Bermuda grass in your established garden, you can remove the unwanted grass by hand.

First off, you’ll have to mow the grass, as this is part of excavation preparation. It will enable you to gain easy access to the Bermuda grassroots.

Proceed to pull out the grass beneath the root by hand removal. Take care not to miss any live roots as they can reestablish themselves via the loose soil.

Finally, you should sift through the ground underneath the grass to remove any Bermuda grassroots left behind.

As a final piece of advice, homeowners should be aware that complete elimination of Bermuda grass from the lawn can be a lengthy process- taking even up to five years.

Success requires repeated application of the methods discussed, as well as frequent monitoring and maintenance to ensure there is no Bermuda grass regrowth. If not, you’ll only be able to achieve temporary Bermudagrass suppression, not total elimination.

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17 thoughts on “How to Kill Bermuda Grass and Get Rid of it in Your Lawn”

  1. Great post. As we are planning to lay our new turf in our backyard, our turf supplier recommends Zoysia grass for our yard which is best to grow in both shade and sunlight with less maintenance, I prefer Empire Zoysia turf. Here I got ideas of Bermuda turf to use for the various purpose and soil types. Thanks for Sharing.

  2. Don’t want to use Roundup or any carcinogens, since that causes cancer and I am a cancer survivor. If I use vinegar, will I still be able to grow my vegetable garden or should I just dry out Bermuda grass roots?

    • HI Cin, I’m with you there on Roundup. Yes if you use Vinegar you can still grown your vegetable garden. Just wait about a week after applying.

  3. I am using several applications of Turflon Ester to kill the wire grass. It appears to be working. I am planning to do a core aeration and overseed later this month. DO I NEED TO DIG UP THE ROOTS BEFORE SEEDING? Thanks for your advice!

    • Yes it could make it yellow as well if you are trying to control bermuda. You need to be super spot on if you are using vinegar.

  4. We are making late beds in a Bermuda established lawn. Can we solarize all winter, with hole cut in weed blanket, without damaging planted crepe myrtles and arborvitae, in the area?

  5. Our neighbors yard has a lot of Bermuda. It’s beginning to creep over onto our tall fescue. Which do you prefer “Over the Top” or “170 grass killer?”
    How often can I repeat this treatment without hurting our fescue?

  6. Hi Alex,
    I have bermuda grass and crabgrass in my fescue lawn. What can I use to get rid of these grasses, which are taking over my lawn?

  7. I have Bermuda in my “parkway” between the sidewalk and the curb and it has now taken over at least half of the area measuring 15′ long and 5′ wide. I would prefer to use vinegar rather than caustic chemicals but: 1. wondering if it will be effective. 2. Will the “good” grass be able to recover or will it need to be reseeded? 3. Does the vinegar kill the root and stolens of Bermuda grass? 4. What is the vinegar solution? 5. How many applications of vinegar and how long to wait inbetween?

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