How do I get rid of the Bermuda grass in my lawn?

Special to The Baltimore Sun

Question:My lawn has wide dips that hold water when it rains. I can’t afford to have my lawn regraded. Do I need to address this?

Answer:If the water is not sitting for more than 24 hours, the low lawn areas benefit the lawn by allowing rain to soak in rather than quickly run off. This helps your grass and other plants in dry periods. It also helps the Bay. If the water sits longer in spring (a vernal pool), it creates an important places for frog and toad tadpoles to live. (They are our first line of defense from mosquitoes and other insect pests.) You also might make a special bed of shrubs, trees and perennials that love wet roots or tolerate both wet and dry roots.

Question:Bermuda grass is infesting my bluegrass lawn. One person told me to use a preemergent herbicide. Another said to use a spray Bermuda grass killer. What should I do?

Answer: Bermuda grass spreads by underground rhizomes, not seeds, so pre-emergent herbicides would not be effective because pre-emergents are intended to prevent germination of seeds. The only Bermudagrass "killers" that control Bermudagrass, without killing other grass in your lawn, require multiple sprayings each summer for years. Ones with fenoxyprop make bluegrass turn red. Unfortunately the best solution for Bermuda grass, where it cannot be tolerated, is to use a total vegetation killer, such as glyphosate, to kill infested areas of lawn in late summer and then reseed in early fall.

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