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Eddie Baggs: Bermuda grass of all kinds well suited to area

With an estimated 50,000-plus acres of Bermuda grass in Denton County, it would be considered the forage of choice.

Bermuda grass is the most important warm-season perennial grass in the southeastern United States. There are 25 million acres of hybrid Bermuda grass grown worldwide, with six different subspecies.

Bermuda grass was first introduced in the U.S. in Savannah, Ga., in 1751. Since then, new varieties have been developed enhancing adaptability to different soil types and climate conditions. The use of Bermuda grass really began to spread throughout the U.S. with the release of the coastal variety in 1943. Coastal Bermuda grass is a hybrid that does not produce fertile seeds and has to be established from sprigs (roots, stolons, tillers and rhizomes.)

Following the establishment of coastal Bermuda grass, other hybrid varieties were developed, such as tifton, midland, russell, jiggs and world feeder. There are Bermuda grass varieties that can also be planted by seed, such as common, giant, cheyenne and wrangler, among others.

Seeded varieties are considered to have a lower yield than hybrids, but serve an important role. Seeded varieties are more commonly used on small areas (between 1 and 10 acres) that are not economical to sprig, or where seed bed preparation is not possible because of slop or shallow soil depth. Giant Bermuda grass has excellent seeding vigor and first year growth but deteriorates with time; this is why it is sold in mixtures with common or other seeded varieties.

Bermuda grass is well adapted to different soils, has excellent drought tolerance, withstands close frequent defoliation either by cutting or grazing, and responds to nitrogen fertilizer very well if managed properly.

All of these factors attribute to the widespread continued use and establishment of Bermuda grass.

For more information on Bermuda grass or other types of forages and their management, the Denton County Beef, Crops & Forages Committee will be hosting a Spring Pasture Workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. March 27 in the lecture hall at Sanger High School, 100 Indian Lane. Registration is $10 per person.

For more information on the workshop, call the Texas AgriLife Extension office at 940-349-2880.


EDDIE BAGGS, extension agent with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Denton County, can be reached at 940-349-2880.