Looking to upgrade your landscaping by switching to Bermuda grass? Scientifically known as Cynodon dactylon, Bermuda grass is a low-maintenance turf grass that is typically grown from Bermuda seeds. The seeds determine the quality and variety of grass.
Different types of Bermuda grass varieties generally have a short germination period, owing to the natural removal of the layer of protective coating on the seeds once planted. Hulled seeds typically sprout faster than un-hulled ones.
This grass type is beloved by homeowners and lawn-care experts, as it thrives on varied soil types. What’s more, Bermuda grass is also drought-resistant.
Different Types of Bermuda Grass
There exist two broad categorizations of Bermuda grass: Hybrid Bermuda and Bermuda Common.
Hybrid Bermuda grass includes Tif varieties, while common Bermuda grass typically comprises seeded varieties.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these two types of Bermuda grass varieties below!
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Common Bermuda grass
This variety is also called seeded Bermuda grass. It spots a light-green hue with a rough texture.
Despite having a lower shoot density when compared to hybrid varieties, common Bermuda grass boasts higher nutritional value, making it the most suitable for making forage and hay for livestock. It’s also great as turf grass, as its thick growth allows it to withstand high foot traffic.
However, common Bermuda grass is not great for lawns and public parks -- which is where the improved common Bermuda seeded varieties come in.
Due to their relatively deeper-rooted and denser growth, these improved varieties are a great alternative for heavily trafficked turfs. They can thrive on lawns, public parks, and even sports turfs.
What’s more, they are cheaper to maintain compared to Hybrid Bermuda grass varieties.
Hybrid Bermuda grass
This variety also goes by the name ‘sterile vegetative hybrids’. It’s a cross-product of two grass species: common Bermuda and African Bermuda (Cynodon transvaalensis).
Hybrid Bermuda grass has to be developed using vegetative methods like sod, plugs, or sprigging; since it doesn’t produce seeds.
Each of these vegetative methods is explained below:
- Sods -- this is where patches of grass are extracted from an existing turf and installed/planted in the desired area.
- Plugs -- where seedlings are grown in trays and are then replanted in the desired bedding.
- Sprigging -- whereby sections of grass- called sprigs- are installed.
There are a couple of exceptions to the seeded and hybrid Bermuda grass types including ‘Texturf 10’ and ‘Princess’. The former -- for instance -- can’t make seeds if isolated, but will do so if there’s pollen from any other type of Bermuda grass close by.
The ‘Princess’ -- meanwhile -- is a hybrid Bermuda variety that is unlike any other Hybrid Bermuda, in that it produces seeds. However, it can be easily differentiated from seeded varieties since it spots a darker color with a softer texture.
What is the best type of Bermuda grass?
For golf greens
Golf courses typically call for hardy, fast-healing grass varieties; characteristics that most Bermuda grass varieties bear.
Over the years, several Bermuda grass varieties have come to be acknowledged by turf professionals as the go-to option for golf courses. This, mostly due to their capability to withstand drought and wear.
Below, is a detailed overview of some of the best types of Bermuda grass that you might want to consider if you’re a homeowner establishing a new lawn or the maintenance manager at your local golf club.
Blackjack Bermuda Grass
Blackjack Bermuda grass is one of the most preferred varieties of this grass type. It is known for its dense coverage, making it one of the best grass seeds for areas with frequent foot activity.
But why is blackjack Bermuda grass preferred to the other varieties? For starters, it is one of those cultivars that remain dark green and vibrant during the months of summer.
Here’s what to expect from Blackjack Bermuda grass variety:
- Thick and full density to a carpet-like feel
- Great tolerance to shade
- Drought tolerance
- Cold tolerance
- Great seeding success and germination rate
- Very fine texture for better drought resistance
This variety of Bermuda grass does well when planted on well-drained soil. While it is a grass type with great shade tolerance, it is best grown in full sunlight. If you’re planning to seed your lawn with Blackjack Bermuda grass, do it when the soil temperature is around 65 °F and at a rate of 2-3 lbs per 1,000 sq. feet.
This fine-blade Bermuda grass variety is one that you’ll find on many golf courses across the globe. It boasts a lush green hue that makes it visually appealing. Since it’s a lower growing variety, Yuma grass is usually mowed at about 1/4 – inches.
With a seeding rate of about 2-3 pounds per 1000 square feet, this Bermuda grass variety is a perfect fit for turf application. Given the appropriate levels of soil temperature, moisture, and nutrients, Yuma Bermuda grass will sprout within 7-10 days.
It starts forming its rhizome system from the sixth to the eighth week after seeding, whereby a thick turf is formed. Yuma turfs typically become ready to be played on after 60 days especially if you feed it with the best fertilizer for Bermudagrass lawns.
3. Oasis blended Bermuda grass
This variety is a cross of various improved common Bermuda grass types, hence its relatively higher genetic diversity and broader adaptation spectrum.
Such seed blends tend to exhibit the desirable characteristics of their component varieties while having less of the individual varietal shortcomings.
According to research, Oasis’ turf superiority/quality exceeds that of common Bermuda grass by up to 20%. As such, turfgrass specialists recommend it for use on golf course fairways and tees.
Here’s a detailed list of the desirable characteristics of the Oasis Bermuda Blend:
- Lush green-light green color.
- Medium soft to medium-coarse blade texture.
- Short-medium tall height.
- Excellent traffic tolerance.
- Fairly good drought tolerance.
- Satisfactory -- good cold tolerance.
4. Ormond Bermuda Grass
This variety is visually unique compared to other Bermuda grass types, as its leaves spot distinctive shades of green and blue. This colorful appearance makes Ormond Bermuda a popular turfgrass on golf courses. What’s more, it’s a highly disease resilient variety.
However, you’d want to avoid using it on golf courses that are situated in colder regions, as its drought-tolerance isn’t that good.
This improved, synthetic Bermuda grass variety draws its name from its place of origin- Arizona’s Mohawk Valley. Its high cold-tolerance means that it’s a good option for courses located in regions that are generally colder or experience longer winters -- say Scandinavian countries. Besides, Mohawk grass can also thrive in saline conditions.
Best Types of Bermuda Grass for Hay
Forage Bermuda grass varieties can withstand the ups-and-downs that come with hay production -- as it’s a perennial grass. Different Bermudagrass cultivars boast different desirable qualities, all which make them suitable for hay production.
Below are some of the best Bermuda grass varieties for hay production!
6. Tifton 85
Tifton 85 is a cross between Tifton 68. It is a cold-tolerant South African Bermuda variety. Since Tifton 68 is highly digestible but exhibits poor cold tolerance, its hybrid version, Tifton 85 exhibits the desirable characteristic, while also masking the unwanted characteristic.
The most common and popular method for establishing Tifton 85 is by sprigging. In hay production, yield quantity is a significant success factor, and Tifton 85 excels in this regard. With broad leaves and large stems, this Bermuda cultivar is known to produce the highest yields and digestibility amongst the recommended Bermuda grass varieties for hay production.
This winter-hardy Bermuda grass type is also a favorite amongst hay producers. Under sufficient moisture conditions, Russell has been known to produce yield quantities comparable only to the aforementioned Tifton 85.
This Bermuda variety also exhibits relatively denser, but shorter forage upon maturity. Russell is also simpler and faster to establish than Tifton 85. It can be established by sprigging.
8. Coastal Bermudagrass
This hybrid forage Bermuda grass variety is a hay production mainstay. In Southern USA, an estimated 15 million acres of hay and pasture land comprises Coastal Bermuda grass. Being as it’s a tall-growing variety, Coastal has been known to produce double the amount of forage typically produced by most common Bermuda grasses.
Its forage quality also tends to be quite superior in comparison to most common Bermuda types.
Best Bermuda Grass Type for Lawns
When it comes to lawns, aesthetic appearance and ability to resist lawn diseases should be the first two decision-making considerations whenever you’re looking to upgrade the turfgrass on your backyard.
As such, Hybrid Bermuda varieties are the best since they spot the distinctive appearance of common Bermuda grasses, while also experiencing fewer disease issues than other Bermuda grass types. The only downside -- perhaps -- is that they require more proper lawn-care if you wish to maintain your backyard’s beautiful appearance. Here’s a rundown of some of the best Bermuda grasses- all hybrid varieties- that thrive on lawns.
Tiflawn has a distinctive medium lush-green color, medium-soft feel, and high shoot density. Other defining features of Tiflawn are its relatively fast growth and establishment rates, as well as its low growing height.
This hybrid Bermuda also boasts perfect drought and wear resistance. Besides, Tiflawn recuperates rather fast.
Released in 1997, this hybrid’s desirable characteristics include its superior turf texture and density. What’s more, TifSport Bermuda grass is fairly cold-tolerant and winter-hardy.
TifSport turfs can only be produced by vegetative propagation, as it doesn’t produce seeds.
11. Tifway II
This is an improvement on the original Tifway Bermuda grass. Tifway II is reported to exhibit better tolerance to frost and nematode. In terms of physical appearance, this Hybrid Bermuda grass boasts high shoot density.
This hybrid Bermuda variety is great for lawns due to its capability to maintain its beautiful leaf appearance even when soil conditions deteriorate. TifGrand Bermuda grass is known to better retain its lush green leaf-blade hue, even under insufficient nitrogen conditions.
This hybrid Bermuda grass doesn’t produce pollen and is more disease-resistant than most common Bermuda grasses.
What’s more, TifGrand grows relatively faster and is highly shade-tolerant. Lawn-care experts recommend mowing for TifGrand lawns once they grow to a height of about two inches. TifGrand also goes by the commercial name- PP21017.