Q: My Bermuda lawn seems to be growing at night. Why do I have to mow it more often than usual to keep it looking neat?
A: The hot, humid days of August cause Bermuda to kick into high gear.
Grass, palm trees and other monocots take in sunlight and nutrients during the day and go through their growth cycle at night.
They go into overdrive during the monsoon: The lawn is growing so fast that if you mow only once a week, you will cut below the green leaves of the grass and your lawn will have a brown, scalped look. You may have to mow every three to four days to keep your lawn looking green and neat.
Now is the best time to renovate your Bermuda lawn because it can recover quickly. Have you noticed that after trenches have been dug in lawns, the grass is greener along the trench lines? That is because disturbing the soil has allowed oxygen to the roots, and the grass reacts with new vigor. Aerating alone will do wonders to rejuvenate a tired lawn. You can rent a core aerator from most equipment rental centers. Walking, playing and all the things we enjoy doing on beautiful green grass compact the soil and drives out the oxygen. August is also a good time to dethatch or thin a very thick lawn so the humidity will help it recover.
A complete fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium — 21-7-14 or 15-5-10 — should be applied monthly to an established lawn. Use about 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every four to six weeks during the growing season. Fertilize only if you are not going to overseed with winter rye.