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Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon)--also called Wire Grass or
Devil Grass--is a warm-season, perennial grass weed that is very
aggressive and hard to control once it becomes established. This weed
invades lawns, landscape beds and gardens as far north as Minnesota. It
will spread and creep over barriers and grow on and through landscape
fabrics. It is often mistaken by homeowners as crabgrass because the
seed heads are similar.
Although a weed in cool climates, Bermuda grass is also a valuable turfgrass species. There are several cultivated varieties and hybrids that are grown as lawns, sports fields, and golf courses in the southern and transition zones.
It has a 'wiry' growth habit and spreads by stolons and rhizomes that root at the nodes. Bermuda grass thrives in warm temperatures and full-sun, it is not shade tolerant. Once the temperatures drop below 60° F in the fall it goes dormant, turning brown, for the winter.
Wire Grass is a very aggressive and hard to control weed once
established. Herbicide applications are usually required to kill or
suppress it. In some cases, cultural methods such as proper mowing,
watering and fertilizing can be used to favor the growth of valuable
lawn grasses while suppressing Bermuda grass.
Perennial grassy weeds are difficult to kill, especially when they are growing in established lawns. There are two approaches that can be taken: cultural methods that suppress Bermuda grass growth or control/eradication by using herbicides.
Maintenance practices that will suppress Bermuda include:
Glyphosate (Roundup) is the most common non-selective herbicide used to kill weeds and unwanted vegetation. To kill Bermuda grass, two or three applications are usually required at two week intervals. Start spraying in late spring when the grass breaks dormancy. The leaves need to be green and actively growing for the glyphosate to work.
There are three selective herbicides available to professional applicators that can be used to suppress Bermuda grass.