Bermudagrass is a warm season perennial species adapted to tropical and subtropical climates. It grows best under extended periods of high temperatures, mild winters and moderate to high rainfall. Temperature is the main environmental factor that limits its adaptability to tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The northern limits of Bermudagrass extend into the transitional zone of the United States where low temperatures seldom drop below 10°F. In general, temperatures below 30°F kill the leaves and stems of Bermudagrass. Research has demonstrated that Bermudagrass will continue to grow with night temperatures as low as 34°F if day temperatures are near 70°F. However, when average temperatures drop below 50°F growth stops and the grass begins to discolor. At the onset of low temperatures in the fall and winter, Bermudagrass begins to discolor, protein fractions change in composition and reserve carbohydrates increase in the stems and rhizomes. After the first killing frost, leaves and stems of Bermudagrass remain dormant until average daily temperatures rise above 50°F for several days. The roots and rhizomes of Bermudagrass continue to grow several weeks after the leaves and stems stop growth.
Bermudagrass has a high light requirement and does not grow well under low light (shaded) conditions. The duration of the light period also influences growth and development of Bermudagrass.
Bermudagrass is found in tropical and subtropical climates with 25 to 100 inches of annual rainfall, but it also survives in arid climates along waterways and in irrigated areas. Where annual rainfall is below 20 inches per year, Bermudagrass requires irrigation to survive.
Bermudagrass grows well on a wide variety of soils from heavy clays to deep sands, provided fertility is not limiting. It tolerates both acid and alkaline soil conditions and is highly tolerant to saline conditions. Bermudagrass survives some flooding but does best on well-drained sites. Although it may persist under low fertility, Bermudagrass has a high nitrogen requirement for good quality turf.
Turf uses of common Bermudagrass include sports fields, lawns, parks, playgrounds, golf course fairways, roadsides, cemeteries, and other general purpose turf. Hybrid Bermudagrass is used for special purposes such as sports fields, golf greens, bowling greens, tennis courts, and lawns.
Bermudagrass is well suited to high traffic areas such as sports fields, golf courses, and playgrounds. A dense Bermudagrass turf tolerates moderate wear and compaction and recovers rapidly from wear injury. Under moderate fertilization, frequent mowing and adequate moisture Bermudagrass forms a dense, fine-textured turf. The only situation where Bermudagrass cannot be used is in moderate to heavily shaded sites.