I’ve never been a witness to such polarizing opinions regarding a grass type! Yes- I’m talking about the Bermuda grass. People are either far-left or far-right, but nobody seems to be in the middle.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of Bermuda grass myself. The spartan-take-over attitude of this grass threatens the sanity of plenty homeowners. For me, dealing with Bermuda grass is similar to dealing with a bully. They’re aggressive and rather keen to be on top.
This hard-headed nature of Bermuda grass is what makes them a challenging weed on your lawn to face. Truth to be told, I’ve been near the edge of defeat many times. But the article isn’t writing itself thanks to some dedicated weed killers.
So, I kept experimenting with my lawn and garden, and the results were interesting.
I’ll not bog you down with the whole charade. Instead, I’ll put the spotlight on products I think have a shot at being the best weed killer for Bermuda grass. Also, I’ll be throwing some pointers your way, just to gear you up for the battle ahead.
- Top-Rated Weed Killers for Bermuda Grass
- Bonide (BND069) – Sedge Ender Weed Control Concentrate
- Monterey LG5518 Turflon Ester Specialty Herbicide Concentrate
- BioAdvanced 704100B Bermudagrass Control
- Gordon’s Ornamec 170 Grass Herbicide
- PBI Gordon – Ornamec Over the Top Grass Herbicide
- BioAdvanced 704840B 3 in 1 Weed and Feed
- Things That You Need to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing
- How to Use A Weed Killer on Bermuda Grass?
- Ending the Bermuda Battle
What is Bermuda Grass? (The Truth)
I must get this off my chest first. A lot of people (emphasis on “A Lot”) even professionals make the mistake of confusing Bermuda grass with crabgrass.
I can see why they reach this conclusion, as they both share many characteristics. But they’re not identical. In fact, the scientific name stands contrary to popular belief.
Bermuda grass being Cynodondactylon (other species are there as well), and crabgrass is Digitariasanguinalis (has other species too). As you can see, they’re not the same kind of weed. If you’re getting ready to nuke Bermuda grass while you have crabgrass, things will go south. I mean, very quickly.
What causes the confusion in the first place? Well, they’re both grass for starters. Secondly, both have explosive growth rates. You ignore them one day and find your lawn and walkway massacred by a barrage the next day. It takes planning and prompt action to keep them at bay.
Besides, crabgrass is the bane of the lawn, not desired by anyone. They just take up space and replicate, giving nothing in return. It works as forage, but not as popular as other grasses.
In contrast, Bermuda grass isn’t the villain in everyone’s story. They have something to offer, as well. For instance, your livestock, especially cows, love munching on Bermuda grass. It’s a very common forage for them, quite nutritious to boot.
Furthermore, Bermuda is the go-to grass for sports fields. It’s effortless to maintain, and their explosive growth rate makes coving a huge ground a cakewalk. I’ve seen it used for soccer, football, tennis, golf, and many different sports.
However, most homeowners are neither looking for a sports field nor stocking up in forage. If you’re a homeowner with a modest lawn and want to keep it clean,you must act against Bermuda grass despite its offerings.
Top-Rated Weed Killers for Bermuda Grass
The quick-read above should help you make up your mind about keeping or fighting the Bermuda grass. If you go for the latter, then it’s time I show you the fruits of my labor. I’ll shed some light on the 6 herbicides I’ve used and tell you how they fared against Bermuda grass (and other weeds as well).
Don’t let the name go to your head. Sure, the title “Sedge Ender” can make the average onlooker feel like this herbicide only kills nutsedge. The answer is no- it takes care of grasses that grow on all climates. So, it does go head to head with Bermuda grass as well.
The Bonide Sedge Ender was my first herbicide trial against Bermuda grass. The decision was easier than I thought. As soon as I saw both post- and pre-emergent options, I was sold. It’s quite difficult to find such dual-wield herbicide.
One small note: For the none-the-wiser audience, pre-emergent herbicides prevent the growth of weeds instead of killing them. The killing duties fall on the shoulders of post-emergent herbicides. Hope you get it now.
I’ll kick off by discussing the post-emergent feature. After I applied the herbicide, I’d say it took roughly 48-72 hours for it to take effect. The Bermuda grass began to lose color, and I was able to remove the grasses altogether.
I’d also like to point out the selective weed killing this herbicide offers. I wasn’t going to nuke my whole lawn full of breathtaking bluegrass just to get rid of a few patches of Bermuda. But I didn’t have to take the lawn-sacrifice route. Instead, I got to keep my lawn while punching Bermuda grass in the face.
Another huge plus was how fast the herbicide dries out after I put it down. I don’t trust the weather, and I stand by my opinion. Out of nowhere, 6 hours after I applied the Bonide Sedge Ender, there was a downpour for half an hour. Luckily enough, the herbicide takes 2-3 hours to soak into the weed surface.
The usage was also pretty straightforward to me. It’s all there in the label, and I was using a tank sprayer at that time. However, there’s a Bonide Auto Mix Sprayer that can come in handy as well. So, I had to take 1 gallon of water and poured 5.5 oz. of solution, mixed it up and was good to go.
1 gallon can cover 1000 square feet, so the Bonide’s 16oz. bottle helped me cover around 2700-2800 square feet. Not bad for the buck, but I think they could do better.
When it comes to taking care of winter season grasses, you only need 2.75 oz. per gallon. The coverage one can get for such grasses is doubled up to 5,800 square feet.
I think Bonide has done a decent job with this herbicide. There are still a few fixes they should look into. The primary one is applying the herbicide multiple times to kill the weed-roots. While I got excellent service on the surface, the roots were healthy, and it took more hits from the product to get the job done.
I’ve spent my fair share of time with Bonide. Later, I thought I’d go for a Bermuda grass killer that takes the job more seriously, you know? In my search for dedicated grass beaters, I stumbled upon the Monterey Turflon Ester, which I think is a broadleaf-assassination-specialist.
This herbicide was post-emergent only, so I had to contend with the fact that I’d get no weed-control out of it. However, the herbicide worked wonders as a clean-up crew. So, I didn’t mind the lack of pre-emergent features because there’s no need for control when there’s nothing to control.
The herbicide is a specialist in terminating Bermuda grass, and many other broadleaf weeds to boot. Still, you must exercise caution because it might not be as selective as you think. This herbicide is at a never-ending war against warm-season grasses. So, if your intention is to save your St. Augustine grass lawn while trying to eliminate Bermuda, you’re out of luck.
So, I had to use it on my separate cool-season turf. Using it there, I didn’t have to worry about any of my other grasses getting nuked in the process.
I still remember looking at the label of Monterey Turflon Ester, it isn’t friendly. While I appreciate the introductory warning, after reading it thoroughly, I think some users may find it intimidating. However, it’s not quantum physics once you get over the initial fear, and the application procedure is simple in reality.
To kill Bermuda grass, I had to mix 3/4 oz. of solution with 1-gallon water. It was sufficient to cover 1000 square feet. In some dense areas, I thought of pumping the mixture up a notch, but I didn’t. The herbicide is highly concentrated, so it’s best to stick to the labels for safety.
Note: Shake the mixture up for proper dilution.
You should note this down: the first application will not kill the roots; it doesn’t work that way. I ended up spraying a total of 5 times with a 4-week interval after each application. So, I had to keep at it for 5 months.
When I was done with the prescribed spraying, Bermuda grass was gone for good. Not just a surface discoloration, but the roots were dead as a doornail.
I’ve had a wonderful experience with the Turflon Ester. It’s not your everyday herbicide, and the dedicated warm-season grass beater means business. While I found it to be expensive at first glance, this herbicide paid for itself.
I think it’d be tough to beat this guy when it comes to taking down Bermuda grass. In my eyes, the Monterey Turflon Ester is a fierce contender for being the best weed killer for Bermuda grass.
Turflon Ester was going full-force against all the Bermuda grass I had in my lawn. Then, I saw my neighbor using another weed killer without any sprayer whatsoever.
Looking at him, just spraying the solution out directly from the bottle got me thinking, and I came across the BioAdvanced Bermudagrass Control.
The reason I got this herbicide was its built-in sprayer head. I have different sprayers for my lawn, but I wanted to see how a weed killer with built-in sprayer fares. After attaching the head to a garden hose, all I needed was a flick.
It’s not all up and up, though. The sprayer head does make BioAdvanced’s herbicide stand out; it’s full of inconsistencies. After applying a couple times, I realized the flow was inadequate. I thought it’s the dense concentration.
Thus, I tried shaking the mixture. It worked for some time, then reverted back to barely coughing up anything.
Performance-wise I think the BioAdvanced does stand its ground. It takes up to 7 attempts with a month’s interval for complete Bermuda grass removal. However, the solution begins to take effect in a week or so.
Another hefty benefit is crabgrass elimination. There was some pesky crabgrass lingering around my ornamental garden beds, and the herbicide easily took care of them. I exercised great caution, and you should too. Be careful because ornamental plants and this herbicide don’t get along at all!
This herbicide offers selective elimination. So, I used it on my lawn that had a mixture of fescue and Bermuda grass. It waged war against Bermuda, leaving my fescue alone. The same will happen for any cool-season grasses.
I watered the entire lawn 3 hours after application. The label says the chemicals act rapidly, becoming rainproof within an hour. Still, I didn’t want to take any chances, so I gave it a good 3 hours of head-start.
I used BioAdvanced for its spray head. And I’m not sure if it comes close to decent sprayers. I don’t mind too much, but the sprayer-fluctuation creates issues during application.
Also, I think the instructions on this herbicide is all over the place. It states seven applications with a one-month interval, then on the next sentence forbids you to apply it more than three times. I think the BoiAdvanced is not bad, but not in the same league as other excellent weed killers.
Experimenting with three different herbicides on my lawn proved insightful and entertaining. I thought I would continue this trend for some time, and see what delicacies I could discover.
Even though I thought I wouldn’t see any weed killer standup to Turflon Ester, after using the Ornamec 170, I’d say I was proven otherwise.
The Ornamec 170 is another post-emergent herbicide. So, it works against growing or fully-grown Bermuda grass, not seeds. It doesn’t stop germination, which is a plus because I was able to re-seed my lawn a couple weeks later.
Most herbicides gave me a quick Bermuda grass browning only. After being happy with the initial discoloration, I saw everything resurface as quickly as they’d discolor.
Ornamec 170 doesn’t claim to be a quick and effortless Bermuda grass solution. It takes effort and a lot of patience from the user, but the results are permanent. It took me two growing seasons to get the Bermuda-situation under control.
I bought the Ornamec 170 for my lawn, but you could use it on ornamental beds too. However, you get more oomph out of this herbicide in a lawn for less concentration. When it comes to garden beds, I had to use almost thrice the amount one has to use on lawns.
Using the herbicide may seem a little tricky; the same goes for any power-packed weed killer. Detailed instructions are always a welcome because they give out a sense of quality otherwise hard to find.
The Ornamec 170 mixture rate is different for landscape beds and turf grasses. I tried it on both occasions just to see whether I’m hitting the right spot. Took 10-ounce of the solution and mixing it one gallon of water seemed to do the trick for landscape beds.
In stark contrast, I only needed 2 ounces per gallon. Early spring was the best time to get the herbicide down, as that’s the growth season for Bermuda grass.
However, I had to stop applying during summer or else it would affect the fescue growth in my lawn. Later, as summer began to die out, I kept applying the solution every month until fall.
From where I stand, after one full growing season, the explosive Bermuda grass growth rate didn’t appear so explosive anymore. Once two seasons passed, there was no Bermuda grass left to contend with.
I think keeping up a constant lookout for seasonal variations and mixing things to the tee can be sweaty work. However, due to the results I got, I’d say the Ornamec 170 deserves a spot for being the best weed killer for Bermuda grass right next to Turflon Ester.
I was sold on the previous iteration of Ornamec, and decided to give a similar herbicide a whirl. So, I took up the Ornamec Over the Top, and I’d say quality runs in the family.
This herbicide is also post-emergent, so you won’t get any long-term protection from weed growth. Instead, it’ll wage war against both annual and perennial grasses.
While it doesn’t block weeds from growing back, it does hold down the fort. Once you start applying, you’ll see the growth rate of weeds wane away in the wake of this herbicide.
I simply purchased the Ornamec to pit it against Bermuda grass. This one-dimensional approach imposes some limitations on this herbicide. It can take down 499 other species, albeit I didn’t have any other weeds at that time to witness its full glory.
Furthermore, it didn’t lay a finger on the fescue of my lawn. The selective nature of this herbicide allows it to keep attacking Bermuda grass, keeping fescue at bay.
You should take note of this- when I applied the herbicide, I saw the fescue go dull and become brown. My heart fell from a thousand feet, but I realized that’s the usual with this weed killer. It took a couple weeks, but the fescue grass came back swinging with color.
I’d say it took around 72 hours before the Bermuda grass began losing color. After 4 weeks of observation, the existing weeds were goners. However, this is simply a temporary halt. Bermuda grass is a feisty broadleaf, and it would take nearly two to three growing seasons for complete control.
The application procedure of this herbicide is tougher than the Ornamec 170. I’ve never used a surfactant before, although many people use it in tandem with weed killers. However, this particular herbicide specifically instructs you to get surfactant to boot.
You don’t have to buy the surfactant separately; it does have one tagged with it. But the surfactant quantity can’t keep up with the herbicide. So, after consulting a few people, I got the Bonide 097 Turbo and didn’t have to look back.
Users who suggested the Bonide told me to go for a 50-50 herbicide to surfactant ratio. I was skeptical, I toned it down to 60-30, adding more herbicide than surfactant. Using a hand-held sprayer, I mixed 0.5 oz. of Ornamec with 0.4 oz. Bonide. It worked out for me.
This herbicide is a little different from the Ornamec 170, and I don’t think the differences are for the better. Adding surfactants, and adjusting them like an alchemist isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So, I’d only recommend this product if you’re up for some serious number-crunching and research.
It’s in the customer’s nature to look for products with more than one shot in their quiver. So, when I saw this herbicide from BioAdvanced, I was hooked. All of this under 40$ seems too good to be true. So, I tested it out on my lawn to see whether it holds out strong or is it biting more than it can chew.
I knew the herbicide had both pre- and post-emergent features. Technically, if the existing Bermuda grass goes poof, shields should be up for six months. The weed killer was performing admirably in the beginning, and the Bermuda grass was dying out. However, even with the power of a few back to back applications, the grass came out on top.
I tried with a more concentrated dose, and it worked out. The resurfacing didn’t occur, but my fescue had to pay the toll for the excessive concentration. Still, this herbicide does have some nutritious properties within which helped the fescue to regain life.
So, the post-emergent features are okay-ish, and the nutrients give a little boost to the existing grass. However, the pre-emergent protection is seriously lackluster (more on this later).
Application procedures are of standard difficulty. Not your simple pour/sprinkle over the lawn, it requires careful mixture and spreader settings for best results. Firstly, I mowed the lawn twice a day before I sprayed this herbicide. Mowing helps the solution kick in faster.
While the instruction says that all I need for 1000 square feet is 2.4lbs, I increased it by a notch and went with 3lbs. I was happy that I did what I did because even 3lbs didn’t take care of all the Bermuda grass in my lawn. It killed around 80% of what I’d expected.
I have the Scotts Accugreen 1000, so the settings were 5+3/4. The whole setting-list is readily available on the labels. Make sure to adjust the settings properly before spreading. Finally, I put it down once in spring to check the pre-emergent feature. It had to be six weeks prior to the first freeze that comes with fall.
I’d say it held on for 3 months before new Bermuda grass started showing their faces. In general, the Bonide Weed and Feed for all intents and purposes is not a bad purchase for the price. However, other alternatives are much better.
Things That You Need to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing
The herbicides I’ve covered are not the fruits of serendipity. It took loads of trial-and-error to get the hang of how each herbicide works. I’ll explain how my mind-cogs were turning when I purchased these herbicides. This way, you’ll have a cheat-sheet to consult when you’re planning to get one yourself.
Decide if You Want to Control or Kill or Both
It falls on your shoulders to decide what’s best for your lawn. Some people prefer protection over elimination and vice versa. All forms and shapes of weed killers fall under two categories. They’re either pre- or post-emergent. Some are one-dimensional; others include both features.
If you think you can remove weeds manually, getting yourself a control-herbicide can do the trick. However, Bermuda grass won’t go down without a fight. Their roots are of average human height, making a manual removal nothing more than a wasted breath.
So, I’d recommend going for a post-emergent weed killer because even if you do manage to deal with the surface, you’ll never get a hold of the deep roots.
You can also go for dual-wield herbicides like the Bonide Sedge Ender; it’d be your assassin and vanguard. The control on dual-wield herbicides lasts around 5-6 months.
However, dedicated one-dimensional weed killers have more oomph than their dual-wield brothers. I admit that they swing with one sword, but it’s deadly. I’m not coaxing you into following my suggestion. What you get should depend on the shenanigans going around in your lawn.
Ensuring Lawn and Herbicide Compatibility
Dealing with weeds, be it Bermuda or crabgrass, isn’t a simple pour-it-over. You can’t just buy the first premium herbicide you see, put it down, and expect the weeds to vanish overnight. I’ve seen many people being a fingertip away from destroying the whole lawn.
I’ve set this ominous scene because one should know the risks at large. So, you should note down the list of weeds the herbicide is going to attack. Then, see if the existing vegetation in your lawn will survive the kaboom.
I have a lawn with tall fescue. After a few years, Bermuda grass started creeping up in between. I couldn’t risk losing the fescue but didn’t want Bermuda to stay. Ergo, the herbicide you get should be friendly to your desired vegetation while hostile to the unwanted weeds.
The Turflon Ester worked for me. It handled the Bermuda situation without laying a finger on the fescue.
A Little Money for the Long Haul
It’s tempting to cut corners and look for inexpensive solutions for your lawn. Even veterans succumb to the temptation, I must say. However, not being stingy about a few extra bucks is the recommended course of action. In most cases, cheap knockoffs just come back to bite you.
For instance, the Bonide Weed and Feed resides in the low-price region. However, it falls short on all fronts when compared to the likes of Ornamec 170 or Turflon. Not that Bonide Weed and Feed is a waste of money. But it doesn’t have the juice of a top weed killer to take down a tougher batch of Bermuda.
So, I’d recommend going the extra mile in terms of investment. Trust me; you’ll not regret the extra penny spent. Besides, the difference in price isn’t a big deal; it differs by 10-20$ or so. You can skip the sub-sandwich for one day, and it’ll be a win-win for you and your lawn.
Accessories Can Come in Handy
Weed killers usually don’t come with any accessories. However, some products have a nifty built-in sprayer. If you don’t have a separate spreader of your own, you should opt for instant-ready herbicides. Their design lets them go to town the moment they touch the ground.
The BioAdvanced 704100B Bermudagrass Control has a plastic spreader on top. All I needed was a garden hose, and it was alive and kicking. I didn’t even need to dilute the solution with water, just sprayed it across the lawn.
Ready-to-use herbicides aren’t all sunshine. I was one of the lucky few who got away with murder here. Many people rant long and hard about the defective built-in accessories. The plastic spreader isn’t doesn’t even come close to separately sold dedicated spreaders. They’re susceptible to damage, and the herbicide-pouring is inconsistent.
So, accessories are situational, and they are a godsend to some people. For instance, the BoiAdvanced Bermuda Control can help out those who are on a budget.
Harder Instructions are Better
This title may look counter-intuitive, but trust me, it isn’t. I’m all for easy instructions and simple application procedures, but that doesn’t work with Bermuda grass. As I’ve covered earlier, Bermuda grass is aggressive and tenacious. Their tolerance is just on another level.
I may be wrong here. But from what I’ve seen, herbicides with simple instructions do not have the muscle to take Bermuda grass down. Also, harder instructions don’t necessarily mean quantum mechanics. You don’t have to go full Walter White to get your solution up and running.
The term harder here is a moniker for clear and specific. If you look into the labels of Ornamec 170 or Turflon, you’ll see the directions are down to the last detail. From safety precautions to application timing, spreader settings, mixture ratio for different weeds, it’s all there.
Detailed instructions are the testament of quality for herbicides. So, in case of weed killers, I’d say be a detail-digger.
How to Use A Weed Killer on Bermuda Grass?
If you’ve decided to take the fight to Bermuda grass, then I’d warn you the road ahead is sweaty. Bermuda grass is fierce and tolerant, making it a comparatively difficult weed to eliminate. You may think you’ve got them, but a few weeks later, the resurfacing will bog you down.
I’d start off by saying that the how-tos are different for each herbicide. I know it’s disheartening, but there’s no universal ground here. The mixtures, the spreader settings, the coverage, amount of repeat applications are distinctive to a particular herbicide.
Still, I’ll try to give you a general guideline as a heads-up for the upcoming battle.
Time of the Year
Most post-emergent herbicides work best if you put them down during early spring. Bermuda grass growth explodes as the heat starts to kick in, so plan your attack in the first few days of spring.
One coating of herbicide never does the job. It kills the existing weeds to an extent, but the roots beneath remain healthy. You should look into the labels for the details of repeat application.
It usually takes 5 to 6 coatings, and two or three growing seasons to kill the roots. So, best be geared for the long haul.
Don’t Let it Wash Away
You should check the weather forecast the night before you apply the herbicide. An unwanted downpour is the last thing you want on your plate. Weed killers need some time to settle down once applied. Depending on herbicide, it takes around 2-5 hours for the herbicide to tuck in fully.
Also, keep your pets and children away from the treated area. Any trampling would affect the efficiency of the weed killer.
Ending the Bermuda Battle
I’ll put this out as delicately as possible. Going against Bermuda isn’t some melee; rather, it’s a war. The herbicide you get isn’t a one-punch knockout. Think of yourself as a general with a plan in mind. You’ll need to discipline yourself.
It took me more than a year to remove all the Bermuda grass in my lawn. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any instant results. The outer weeds die out in a week, but the deep roots take time to leave. I’m still not out of the pickle yet because my neighbor has Bermuda grass as well.
Anyways, discipline-only will give you zilch without a good herbicide to back it up. It’s time to tell you which herbicide tops my list. I’ve had my fair share of experience with weed killers. From where I stand, my money for being the best weed killer for Bermuda grass will go both Turflon Ester and Ornamec 170.
I’d say it’s a tie as they’re neck and neck in terms of performance. I’d say it again; even the best herbicide can’t help a messy lawn-owner fight against Bermuda. A spoonful of herbicide coupled with a gallon of patience and discipline is the key to victory, adios.