You won’t feel the unmatched annoyance towards ryegrass unless you have a Bermuda lawn to yourself. Ryegrass can quickly ruin Bermuda – and I have witnessed that quite well after spring ended.
So, I decided that I could not let that happen again, which is why I started researching on how to kill ryegrass in Bermuda.
Turns out, there are four methods that can be used for the purpose. Two of these methods are natural; and the other two encourage the use of chemicals. You can choose any method, depending on your own convenience.
Want to know which methods I am talking about? Well, give this article five minutes of your time and you will know it all.
4 Easy Methods For Killing Ryegrass in Bermuda
Overseeding Bermuda grass with perennial ryegrass is common practice on sports fields. You can also use this combination to maintain a beautiful green lawn all year long. Even though ryegrass keeps your lawn green during the winter, it may negatively affect Bermuda grass health.
It is important to remove ryegrass in the spring so that Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) can grow in the summer. You can keep your lawn green all year long by overseeding Bermuda grass with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne).
According to North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, warm-season Bermuda grass is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10.
According to Plants for a Future, USDA zones 5 to 7 are suitable for the growth of cool-season ryegrass. If winter ryegrass is not removed in the spring, it can result in clumpy ryegrass and Bermuda grass.
According to Mississippi State University Extension, Bermuda grass that appears early to late spring will compete with ryegrass that has not yet died back for the summer.
As a result, the Bermuda grass may be weaker, increasing its susceptibility to disease. It also allows weeds to grow because the grass is weakened.
There are many heat-tolerant cultivars of annual ryegrass, whereas annual ryegrass and some cultivars are not. The University of Tennessee Extension advises that most grass will go dormant in the summer, but some patches may remain unsightly clumps. To protect your lawn, remove the ryegrass in the spring.
1. Natural Removal of Ryegrass in Bermuda
Going for natural methods of removal is not only gentle to Bermuda but also cost-effective. However, with natural removal, you would have to set up your lawn accordingly.
Basically, what you will need to do is plant annual ryegrass. The benefit of planting annual ryegrass is that they do not take heat well. So, before spring ends, you can easily remove them using heat.
You can use the help of your lawnmower in this case, which will help the Bermuda grass grow back. Or you can also make sure that the temperature reaches above 80 Fahrenheit, which can be done through solarizing.
Planting annual ryegrass will discourage the growth of other types of ryegrasses in general, which will help you get through with the removal process efficiently. But this method surely requires a lot of patience compared to other methods.
2. Using Herbicides to Remove Ryegrass in Bermuda
If you want the ryegrass to be killed almost immediately, no matter which type they are, then going for herbicides is the best option. Chemical removals are the best in terms of effectiveness, so you will get a healthy lawn in no time.
Bermuda grass tends to bloom the most after spring, so you can apply herbicides on your lawn before they emerge. The most common herbicides used for the process sulfosulfuron as well as forumsulfuron.
You can apply these herbicides before the seeding of Bermuda grass, and then keep them on until one week after the emergence of the grass. After three weeks pass, you can apply chlorsulfuron.
These herbicides are considered to be safe for Bermuda grass; however, I would still advise you to do more research on your herbicides before purchase. Not to mention, don’t overuse them, as they can change the dynamics of the soil.
3. Using Lawnmower to Remove Ryegrass in Bermuda
With a lawnmower, you can completely remove the ryegrass just when your Bermuda is about to grow. For this, you have to wait until the time of the Bermuda season – which is after spring.
Once spring is about to end, use your lawnmower to clean off your whole lawn. Make sure you are also watering and fertilizing your lawn right for the growth of healthy Bermuda grass.
And by right, we mean that you should reduce it. That is because, if you keep watering it even before the growth of Bermuda grass, then the ryegrass might emerge again. Hence, keep it on the low until you notice Bermuda.
You should mow the lawn until the grass only stands 1-inch long. This will weaken the ryegrass, while making sure the Bermuda grass blooms strongly. However, this method can be rather tricky, so you should be careful when at it.
4. Using Other Chemicals to Remove Ryegrass in Bermuda
Apart from the herbicides discussed above, there is another very effective chemical – glyphosate. This is usually used during winter when the Bermuda grass remains dormant.
Glyphosate is a very strong chemical, which is what ensures its effectiveness. Therefore, you should be fully aware of how it should be applied before you proceed. Not to mention, do have your safety gears on before you start.
Don’t forget to keep your lawn healthy once you have used this chemical. It can have an impact on your soil as well, and you don’t want that to affect the Bermuda grass growth.
So, the key here is to water and fertilize properly – don’t let the grass burn out or let the soil have malnutrition. Take care of your lawn while you remove the ryegrass. It is also one of the important factors to keeping the ryegrass at bay – which we will discuss further below.
Annual Ryegrass Removal
If perennial ryegrass is not an option, consider planting annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, this plant is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. In the fall and winter, you can enjoy a green lawn with this cool-season grass.
It is much simpler to remove annual ryegrass. The University of Arizona Pinal County Cooperative Extension recommends scalping back the grass when nighttime temperatures are consistently 60 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Irrigate your lawn thoroughly after mowing to promote Bermuda grass growth.
Annual ryegrass can’t tolerate high temperatures. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension advises that it naturally die back as temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Annual ryegrass can also be controlled with chemicals if the temperatures don’t warm up enough to kill it off. According to the University of Arkansas, Dimension 1EC (dithiopyr) and Dimension 1EC + MSMA are chemical options.
Prevention of Ryegrass in Bermuda
Killing ryegrass is the kind of hard work you wouldn’t want to do too often. That is why I will be discussing some tips for preventing ryegrass here.
1. Regular Watering
Watering your lawn regularly and properly can prevent a lot of things – ryegrass, diseases, dead grass, etc. Water is one of the essentials that is not always provided by the nature – so it is your responsibility to provide it.
2. Consistent Mowing
Many people tend to believe that too much mowing can damage one’s lawn. While that is true to some extent, you should not completely stop it. Mowing can enhance the beauty of your lawn and also prevent ryegrass from growing.
3. Usage of Fertilizers
Just like mowing, using too much fertilizer is also not a good sign. However, you need to use it nonetheless to maintain the health of your grass and your soil. So, use fertilizers wisely, as they can keep the ryegrass at bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best way to kill ryegrass?
The best way to kill ryegrass is to use chemicals. Natural methods are cost-effective and harmless but they do require a lot of time and energy. Not to mention, herbicides and other chemicals ensure unmatched effectiveness.
2. How do you kill ryegrass naturally?
You can kill ryegrass naturally in two ways – by using heat and by mowing. Heat is a great source for killing annual ryegrass, which tend to die as soon as the temperature rises to 80 Fahrenheit. Similarly, mowing can remove the ryegrass before the Bermuda blooms.
3. What chemical kills annual ryegrass?
Glyphosate is the best chemical that can be used for killing annual ryegrass. Other herbicides can also be used for the purpose, but glyphosate tends to be the most effective. This is mostly used during the winter season.
Now that you know all four methods of killing ryegrass in Bermuda, you can easily resort to the one that seems the most convenient to you. Surely, in terms of cost, I would say the natural methods would be the best.
But if you want to see quick results with the most effectiveness, then it would be better to splurge on the chemicals.