Q: I am in the process of building a new home. I cannot afford to sod, but would like to seed bermudagrass in my 12,500 square foot front yard. I am told the seed needs to be mixed with sand or some other material. I have installed an irrigation system, a rock-hound machine will go over the area next week and then we will pulverize the area. What else can you suggest?
A: It’s a good idea to mix the bermudagrass seed with dry sand. They are so tiny you’d probably not get even seed distribution otherwise. Use ten parts dry sand to one part seed and apply with a whirly spreader set at the smallest opening. Plan to apply two pounds of seed per thousand square feet. Make several overlapping trips across the area in one direction and then several more trips at right angles to the first.
Water briefly each day you’re allowed, keeping the top inch of soil moist but not soggy. The seed should sprout in ten days. You’ll need to be vigilant about hand-weeding until the bermudagrass has begun to spread: at that time you can use light spot-sprays of broadleaf weedkiller if you choose.
Instead of planting “common” bermudagrass, consider locating some ‘Riviera’ or ‘Princess’ bermudagrass seed. Developed by Seed Research of Oregon, ‘Riviera’ has multiclonal parents. Athens Seed Co. (706-769-2712) is a distributor for Seed Research. Former Extension agent Don Morris says he has planted ‘Princess’ bermudagrass with great success. Available from www.seedland.com, this seed is pricey: $25 per pound, but Don says it has dense, low growth similar to Tifton 419 sod.