Bermuda Grass Mowing Aeration and Dethatching
General Recommendation on dethatching – Thatch is the presence of dead leaves and stems that build up on the surface of the soil. If there is more then 1/2” of thatch present. Bermuda lawns are relaint on a thick network of rhizomes and runners. Consequently, you should not use a “tine” dethatcher. A dethatcher that cuts through the thatch is preferable. You should power rake in the spring or fall.
Bermuda favors lower mowing heights then most grasses. This is especially true for Hybrid Bermuda, the ideal mowing height is 1”. Common Bermuda has an ideal mowing height which is a bit higher. A height of 1 ½” being ideal. You may want to raise your mowing height for shady areas. This will compensate for the weaker growth there. Consider raising it during the end of the growing season to reduce the risk of winter kill.
Mowing frequency is an area that can be debated endlessly. I have seen every 5 days as a recommendation (try fitting that into schedule). There is a good rule of thumb to follow though, which is to mow 30% of the growth off when you mow. If you follow that rule then when your hybrid Bermuda is 1.3” tall it’s time to mow, when your common Bermuda is 2” tall, it’s time to mow. I prefer using guidelines such as this rather then a rigid mowing schedule.
It is recommended that the Bermuda lawn be core aerated at least once a year, Bermuda can be aerated anytime during the growing season but the recommended times are in the spring when the grass is growing rapidly. For very compact soils it is ok to aerate again later in the season.
Authors Note – I generally dislike dethatching for the simple reason that it has a tendency to damage turf, this is especially true for grasses that spread via rhizomes. My preference is to aerate as aerating breaks up the thatch and helps it along in the decomposition process.