Once it establishes itself, bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) can be tough to get rid of. It has strong roots, spreads aggressively and can reappear even once you think it is gone. It is a perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10 and is especially problematic in dry, sunny lawns. Over time, bermudagrass can spread over much of your lawn, so controlling it early is important.
Fusilade for Bermudagrass
Fusilade is a herbicide proven to fight bermudagrass in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), which thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 7. It also fights bermudagrass in zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.), which is a perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. Although the treatment is effective, Fusilade is not approved for home use. If you are committed to using Fusilade to kill bermudagrass, you must hire a licensed professional. The other option is to choose a home-approved product that contains a weaker form of the active ingredient fluazifop.
Only use fluazifop to control bermudagrass in zoysiagrass or tall fescue. Wear proper clothing that covers your arms, legs, hands, feet and face. Avoid applying fluazifop to lawns that are unhealthy or stressed by heat or drought. Begin applications in late spring. To spot treat bermudagrass in zoysiagrass, mix 2 teaspoons of fluazifop and 2 teaspoons of a nonionic surfactant per gallon of water. Look for acceptable nonionic surfactants that contain either alkylphenol ethoxylate and alcohol ethoxylate and tall oil fatty acid, or alkyl aryl polyoxylkane ethers, alkanolamides, dimethyl siloxane and free fatty acids, all of which help the fluazifop spread and stick to the bermudagrass blades. This amount will cover a 1,000-square-foot area. Reapply in mid summer at a rate of 2.5 teaspoons of herbicide mixed with 2 teaspoons of surfactant, and again in late summer at a rate of 1.5 teaspoons of herbicide and 2 teaspoons of surfactant per gallon of water. Spray the mixture on all surfaces of bermudagrass. To control bermudagrass in tall fescue, mix 1 tablespoon fluazifop with 2 teaspoons of nonionic surfactant in 1 gallon of water to cover an area of 1,000 square feet. Apply in early spring and again in early fall, but not during the middle of summer.
Fluazifop will stop the growth of bermudagrass quickly after application, within one to three weeks. You will know it is working because bermudagrass will turn yellow or red and appear less vigorous. Fluazifop frequently discolors desirable turfgrass, but it should return to normal within 10 days to two weeks.
Other Control Options
If your bermudagrass problem is minor, cultural control may be a simpler option than using herbicides. Because bermudagrass grows best when frequently irrigated, drying out areas where it is growing will dry out the roots. Once bermudagrass appears dry and brittle, use a rototiller or spade on the dry stems to pull up bermudagrass. Repeat this several times throughout the summer. You can also slow growth by shading the area where bermudagrass grows. The lack of light will weaken roots and you can pull the bermudagrass by hand.
- University of Tennessee Extension: Bermudagrass ( Cynodon dactylon ) Control in Tall Fescue ( Festuca arundinacea ) and Zoysiagrass ( Zoysia spp.) Turf
- PBI Gordon: Ornamec Grass Herbicide Label
- University of California at Davis: Integrated Pest Management: Bermudagrass
- Thanya Group: How Surfactants Work
- CDMS: Induce Label
- Gemplers: Activator 90 Label