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August 5, 2013

In the last few weeks, I have published several blogs on the recent invasion of bermudagrass into the Iowa and Nebraska region.  See July 29 for information on identification and June 24 for information on control.

The two pictures below are from Rob Elder of Omaha Organics out of Nebraska.  These are very long bermudagrass stolons, longer than anything that I have seen in Iowa.  If anyone has observed bermuda north of the Ames/Des Moines area, let me know.  I am interested in how far north if is occurring. 



July 29, 2013

I received the first picture from  Rob Elder of Omaha Organics.  It is a stolon of bermudagrass Cynodon dactylon.  As is the case in central Iowa, this is unusual for the Omaha area.  Not long ago, you would not have found this species in that area because it would die each winter due to the cold weather.  It is now surviving the winter.

How can you tell it is bermudagrass?  While the long stolon is a pretty good clue, there are other species with stolons, so you have to look close at its characteristics.  The first clue is vernation, as pictured below.  Vernation is the way in which new blades emerge from the sheath.  Bermuda is folded like the grass on the left, while Zoysiagrass is rolled like the grass on the right.  Creeping bentgrass can also form a stolon like the one above.

Bermudagrass and Zoysia have a hairy ligule like the one on the right in the picture below, whereas bentgrass has a membranous ligule like the one on the left.

Here are two actual pictures of the hairy ligule of bermudagrass.  If the grass that you are trying to identify has a membranous ligule, it will likely be a cool-season grass.  If it is a warm-season grass like bermuda or zoysia, it will have a ligule that is a fringe of hairs.



June 17, 2013

On September 18, 2012 I put up a post from Eric Van Ginkel showing a large amount of bermudagrass (Cynadon dactylon) on the Dowling high school ball field in West Des Moines.  The picture below is from last fall.  The bermudagrass is the lighter colored grass.

I stopped out at the field on June 7 to see how the bermuda had overwintered.  Here is a picture of  the field from June 7.  The bermuda has overwinetered well and is blending in well with the Kentucky bluegrass.  I'll try to get a picture again this fall to see if the bermudagrass has increased or decreased over the summer.




October 10, 2012

Since I posted the information on the amount of Bermudagrass showing up in Iowa, I have had a number of questions on how to kill it.  Roundup is the standard answer, but it is very hard to kill.  I have also heard from former students in Bermudagrass country about its control.  Below are two recommendations.  Notice that these come from other states and that pesticide labeling and recommendations vary by state.  Check labels for use of these products in your locations.


The first is as follows:

In our region, we use a combination of  Roundup and Turflon (Triclopyr) Ester. 

Tank mix Roundup is 3oz/1000ft2 and Turflon at 2oz/1000ft2.  Be careful with seeding cool-season grasses back into the area.  If seeded within 3 days, you'll see about 50-75% germantion on the cool-season seed.  If you wait 2 weeks, you'll see anywhere from 75-100% germination. 

(You can also find a number of articles on the internet about using Turflon Ester to control Bermudagrass.)


The second from another location includes Roundup and Fusilade in a tank mix, followed by Tupersan.

The aggressive way of killing Bermudagrass is to apply Roundup at 4 oz/1000 ft2  with Fusilade at 2 oz/1000 ft2 in a tank mix combination.  It may take a repeat application

You can then use Tupersan at 14-16 oz /1000 ft2 as a follow up.  Tupersan will hold back the Bermuda and you can seed into it. 


Again, check label recommendations for your area before using these approaches.