Ryegrass is the perfect cool-season grass thanks to its quick germination. Once seeded, it takes over and fills in those areas where the bermuda goes dormant. As the temperatures increase, the ryegrass will start to wilt and spring forth bermuda in its place.
The wilting may cause you to start watering the lawn more, making you think it's drying out because of the temperatures. However, adding excess water will only prolong the transition.
If you want your ryegrass transition to be a smooth one, keep these few things in mind as you start the process from ryegrass to bermuda.
5 Steps to Transition from Ryegrass to Bermuda
Monitor the weather.
You don't want to start the transition too early in the spring. Pay close attention to the overnight temperatures. As they become over 65 degrees Fahrenheit on a consistent basis, you can then start the transition without the worry of harming the bermudagrass. It's also important to monitor the temperatures before you start to overseed the areas where the wilting ryegrass is causing bald spots in the lawn.
Reduce your watering frequency.
Some people make the mistake of cutting back on watering completely when transitioning from ryegrass to bermuda. However, doing so will only hurt the bermudagrass. Instead, cut back the water to 70 or 80 percent of what you normally use. That way you're stressing the ryegrass while still supporting the bermuda.
Dethatch and aerate.
Dethatching is important to clear the way for your bermudagrass to grow and develop. Use a dethatcher to rip away the buildup on your lawn. Verticutting will help to open up the lawn and let sunshine reach the germinating bermuda.
Aeration is also important. Compacted soil makes it hard for water and nutrients to reach the root system, thus preventing the bermuda from growing properly. Make sure to aerate the soil so that the bermuda has all the water and nutrients it needs to grow and flourish in the coming months.
Increase your mowing frequency.
Start to increase your mowings from once to twice every week. You'll want to set the mower height to 1/2 or 3/4 inches for the best results. This setting will allow for abundant sunshine to help the bermuda grow while also reducing shade for the ryegrass. Ryegrass will continue to flourish in shady areas, so make sure to mow the grass in these areas to an extremely short length to let the bermuda receive as much sunlight as possible.
Once the bermuda starts to show, it's time to increase the watering while also starting a fertilizer program. Use a balanced fertilizer with a high nitrogen and phosphorus load. It will feed the bermuda and allow it to grow at a faster rate.
Enjoy a Successful Ryegrass Transition
The ryegrass will continue to grow into the summer if you don't take the steps to ensure the bermudagrass can grow and thrive. By following the steps above, you'll be able to get a handle on the ryegrass early and enjoy lush, vibrant bermuda until the cooler months.