- Mow lower than usual and more often.
- Provide at least 1 inch of water per week.
- Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
- Use an iron supplement.
- Overseed your lawn.
- Improve poor soil pH
- Kill weeds.
- Treat soil compaction.
- Increase sunlight exposure.
Is your Bermuda grass lawn thinning out? Looking for ways to make Bermuda grass thicker and greener again? You have stumbled upon the right place! I’ll help you achieve carpet-like grass with 9 simple solutions that worked for me!
I have learned the hard way that you can’t cut corners when it comes to Bermuda grass. It is not the type of grass seed you simply sow and watch prosper.
In my experience, it needs to be mowed, watered, and fed accordingly to grow thick and healthy. I’ll explain in detail which lawn care steps are best for achieving thick Bermuda grass.
- 1 How To Make Bermuda Grass Thicker In 9 Steps
- 1.1 Mow Lower Than Usual
- 1.2 Water Your Lawn Frequently
- 1.3 Feed Bermuda Lawn With A Nitrogen Fertilizer
- 1.4 Use An Iron Supplement
- 1.5 Overseed Your Lawn
- 1.6 Improve Soil pH
- 1.7 Kill Weeds In Time
- 1.8 Aerate The Soil
- 1.9 Get Rid Of The Shade
- 2 FAQs
- 3 Now You Know How To Make Bermuda Grass Thicker
- 4 About The Authors
How To Make Bermuda Grass Thicker In 9 Steps
Mow Lower Than Usual
You are probably used to mowing Bermuda grass at a height of 1 to 1.5 inches. What you should do now is mow it slightly lower, at 0.5 to 1 inch.
By cutting your lawn lower than usual, you will promote lateral grass growth rather than vertical growth. This will encourage Bermuda grass to start spreading and filling in those unsightly bare spots.
I have to remind you not to go overboard! Don’t set the mowing height too low, otherwise you will scalp your lawn and cause more damage to it. Also, you want your mower to be sharp and precise. In my experience, reel mowers do the best job at cutting grass low.
For the best results, I recommend you mow your lawn every 5 to 7 days in normal weather conditions. Avoid cutting your turf often in a drought period. Click here to learn how often you should mow your lawn.
Infrequent mowing is one of many mistakes people make. Watch this video to learn what else you could be doing wrong in your lawn care routine:
Water Your Lawn Frequently
Even Bermuda grass gets affected by drought stress despite being one of the few types of grass that can survive Florida’s summer heat.
Bermuda grass needs at least 1 inch of water per week to grow and spread as expected. I like to water more than that in midst of summer to counter water evaporation.
The key to making Bermuda grass greener is to provide all water at once, as opposed to watering little by little over the course of days – unless you are growing your Bermuda grass on sandy soil or clay soil.
- Sandy soil: Provide only 0.5-inch water every 3 to 4 days.
- Clay soil: Water little by little throughout the week, amounting to 1 inch of water in total.
Needless to say, proper irrigation is essential for the development of healthy and strong roots. Deeper roots mean more nutrients for the plant and a dense Bermuda grass turf for you.
Feed Bermuda Lawn With A Nitrogen Fertilizer
If your Bermuda grass is not growing thick, it might be deficient in nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient that all plants desperately need for their growth.
So, if you want your Bermuda grass to grow thick and fast, treat your lawn with a 16-4-8 nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. This will wake the Bermuda grass seed from dormancy and give it momentum to grow.
If your lawn has really thinned out, I would even suggest you use 1.0 to 1.5 lbs of pure Nitrogen per 1000 square feet per month. In my experience, Milorganite slow-release fertilizer does wonders for the lawn, as well. It releases nutrients gradually into the soil, so you only need 1 to 2 applications per season.
If you can’t get your hands on any of these fertilizers, you can use a general-purpose 4:1:2 NPK fertilizer. Basically, any type of product that is high in nitrogen, has no or very little phosphorus, and contains a small amount of potassium should do the trick. Just don’t use any fertilizer low in nitrogen, like 0-20-20 fertilizer or 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Here is a pro tip for you! If you really want to get to the root cause of your thinning lawn, I suggest you do a soil test before using any kind of fertilizer. The soil test will determine which nutrients are running low or high.
Use An Iron Supplement
A telltale sign that your lawn is deficient in iron is the yellowing of the blades called chlorosis. A soil test should confirm your speculation.
You can quickly correct iron deficiency with an iron supplement, such as chelated liquid iron and ironite. The additive you choose to use will aid the production of chlorophyll, which is the green pigment that gives any lawn its signature look.
Watch this video if you want to grow a greener lawn:
Overseed Your Lawn
Overseeding might be the best way of achieving a thicker lawn. By spreading new grass seeds on turf, you will fill out those thinning and bare areas with new grass growth.
You can either overseed your lawn with Bermuda seed in the spring. Or you can patch up your lawn with perennial or annual ryegrass in early fall (late September or early October) to grow a green lawn in winter.
Ryegrass is a cool season grass that mixes well with Bermuda grass. After the tests I did, using 8 lbs of ryegrass seeds per 1000 square feet of turf seems a good ratio.
I have to warn you not to use tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass to thicken your lawn. These two grass varieties can last well into the summer in some areas and start competing with Bermuda.
Improve Soil pH
Soil pH has a great impact on the overall health of the plant. If your Bermuda grass is not growing well and nothing seems to help the case, you should consider doing a pH test on your soil.
If the pH test results don’t fall within the 5.8 to 7 range, you are dealing with soil that is either too acidic or too alkaline for Bermuda grass. You shouldn’t worry too much if you don’t get the best results. The pH level of soil can be easily corrected.
Here’s how you test soil pH at home:
Kill Weeds In Time
Most of us, if not all, have at some point dealt with weeds in our backyard. Weeds not only ruin the look of a lawn but also cause it to thin out over time.
If you are currently dealing with heavy weed infestation, you have to put a stop to it. There is no other way around it. If you don’t eradicate those invasive plants, you can only dream of having a thicker Bermuda grass lawn.
Use Pre Emergent Herbicide
Apply pre-emergent herbicide early in the spring to stop weed seeds from germinating in the first place. By doing this, your Bermuda will have a better start to life, as it won’t have to compete with weed sprouts for nutrients and space.
Use Post Emergent Herbicide
Use post-emergent herbicide to kill well-established weeds in your lawn. For instance, apply weed killer directly on the dallisgrass. Just make sure you use one that is safe for Bermuda grass. Some weed killers are too harsh and can cause discoloration or stunt new growth.
Once you successfully eradicate existing lawn weeds, you can overseed bare spots if the grass doesn’t take over naturally. Once you establish a thick and dense turf, you won’t have to worry about dallisgrass that much. Bermuda will naturally choke it without a weed killer.
Want to know more? Click here to learn how to kill dallisgrass in other ways.
Aerate The Soil
Another way you can reverse your thin Bermuda grass lawn is by aerating the soil once every season. By doing that, you will loosen the compacted soil and enable the growth of deeper, healthier, and stronger Bermuda grass roots.
In my experience, the best time to aerate the Bermuda grass lawn is in late spring or early summer when the grass is growing.
Aerating lawn in early spring when the seeds are just starting to grow is not the best idea. Sharp spines perforating the ground can cause serious damage to fragile shoots. Late spring or early summer is the way to go.
You can rent an aerator from your local gardening store or a big home improvement center like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Buying an aerator only to use it once a year is not worth it.
Get Rid Of The Shade
One thing is for sure! Bermuda grass loves sunlight – so much so, that it requires 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day.
If your Bermuda grass lawn is not getting adequate sun exposure, you may want to consider remodeling your backyard. Prune trees around the yard to allow sunlight to penetrate. Move your pop-up gazebo or garden shed to an area where it won’t cast a shadow on your lawn.
If there is little you can do to improve the sunlight exposure, you should consider establishing a new Bermuda lawn away from your house. You can also replant your lawn with grass seed that is more tolerant of the shade, like ryegrass, fine fescue, or St Augustine grass. Find out how Bermuda grass and St Augustine compare.
What is the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass?
The best fertilizer for Bermuda grass is high in nitrogen, has no or very little phosphorus, and contains a small amount of potassium. A fertilizer with a slow-release formula and an NPK ratio of 16-0-8 or 12-4-8 are two good options.
Can you overseed Bermuda grass?
You can overseed Bermuda grass from spring to early summer to patch up your lawn. You can also overseed in early fall with annual or perennial ryegrass to have a thicker lawn in winter when Bermuda goes dormant.
Does frequent mowing thicken grass?
Frequent mowing thickens grass by encouraging lateral growth rather than vertical. Tips of grass blades contain hormones that suppress horizontal growth. When you trim blades, you eliminate that suppressant and enable grass to spread.
Why is my Bermuda grass not growing?
Your Bermuda grass is not growing because of the lack of nutrients or moisture. Use nitrogen-rich fertilizer and provide at least 1 inch of water per week. Other causes may include hard-packed soil, too much shade, weed infestation, and common lawn diseases.
Is Bermuda grass easy to grow?
Bermuda grass is easy to grow because of its high heat and drought tolerance. With that said, Bermuda grass still requires regular care and attention in the form of watering, mowing, feeding, de-weeding, and much more.
Now You Know How To Make Bermuda Grass Thicker
You see? There are many ways to make your Bermuda grass lawn thicker and healthier. I encourage you to try as many of my lawn care solutions to improve your landscaping routine and get the best results possible.
The most important thing to stay on top of is feeding, watering, and mowing your lawn. Do your best to keep weeds at bay and the soil in good condition. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, the results will quickly start to show.
Don’t you agree? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to ask me any questions. I would love to hear from you.