Reported to be one of the world's worst weeds, and the world's most widely distributed plant, bermudagrass, Cynodon spp., gives remarkable service to humanity.
From rich pastures to close, fast greens, bermudagrass recovers rapidly from leaf removal. This makes turf cultivars such 'Tifway' (T-419) and 'Tifdwarf' bermudagrass the main choice for golf and sports turf throughout warm regions and across the equator. Newer cultivars such as 'Celebration' perform well in athletic complexes and increasingly bermudagrass is being replaced in Florida golf courses by seashore paspalum, Paspalum vaginatum.
Propagated vegetatively, protected from competition, and redivided frequently, a square meter of bermudagrass could expand in one year to cover half the land mass of the earth. Comprising several related species from Africa and southern Asia, "bermudagrass" forms interspecific hybrids. There are also seeded cultivars such as 'Princess 77'.
Unfortunately, bermudagrasses have poor shade tolerance and a few other problems. The fine texture of the turf cultivars makes visual inconsistencies more obvious, and, at their appropriately close height of cut, they must consequently be mown with reel-type mowers. To take advantage of the rapid growth rate potential of bermudagrass, higher rates of fertilizer are usually required, compared with other turf species, and the higher rate of nitrogen fertilization often contributes to secondary problems, such as micronutrient deficiency and outbreak of lawn caterpillars. In well-drained soils (the kinds that should be used in golf course greens and playfields), the sting nematode is often destructive.
It is debatable whether the relatively more common use of pesticides in bermudagrass, compared with other warm-season grasses, is because bermudagrass is inherently more susceptible to pests. The opposite could be argued, that driving any grass to such a high level of performance necessarily requires highly intensive preventative maintenance.
While bermudagrass is often used for lawns in some southeastern United States, it generally does poorly for lawns in Florida. This may be due in part to the ravages by the sting nematode and the frequent mowing requirement. Other sting nematode-susceptible turf species, such as zoysiagrass and centipedegrass, also do poorly on deep sands, which are prone to nematode problems.
Scientific Papers on Bermudagrass
Adjei, M. B., P. Mislevy, R. S. Kalmbacher, and P. Busey. 1988. Production, quality, and persistence of tropical grasses as influenced by grazing frequency. Proc. Soil Crop Sci. Soc. Florida 48:1-6.
Busey, P. 1986. Bermudagrass germplasm adaptation to natural pest infestation and suboptimal nitrogen fertilization. J. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 111:630-634.
Busey, P. 1989. Progress and benefits to humanity from breeding warm-season grasses for turf. p. 49-70 in: D. A. Sleper, K. H. Asay, and J. F. Pedersen (eds.). Contributions from breeding forage and turf grasses. CSSA Spec. Publ. 15, Crop Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Busey, P. 2001. Optimum herbicide strategy for managing mixed weed populations in the southern U. S. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 9:1001-1004.
Busey, P. 2003. Cultural management of weeds in turfgrass: A review. Crop Science 43:1899-1911.
Busey, P. 2003. Reduction of torpedograss (Panicum repens) canopy and rhizomes by quinclorac split applications. Weed Technology 17:190-194.
Busey, P. 2004. Goosegrass (Eleusine indica) control with foramsulfuron in bermudgrass (Cynodon spp.) turf. Weed Technology 18: 634-640.
Busey, P. 2009. Proliferation and detection of contamination in turfgrass vegetative propagation. Internat. Turfgrass Soc. Res. J. 11:1177-1182.
Busey, P. and S. B. Boyer. 1997. Golf ball roll friction of Cynodon genotypes. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal 8:59-63.
Busey, P. and B. J. Myers. 1979. Growth rates of turfgrasses propagated vegetatively. Agron. J. 71:817-821.
Busey, P., and D. L. Johnston. 2005. Predicting preemergence herbicide effects on overseeded perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Internat. Turfgrass Soc. Res. J. 10:1179-1181.
Busey, P. and R. W. White. 1993. South Florida: A center of origin for turfgrass production. Int. Turfgrass Soc. J. 7:863-869.
Fluck, R. C. and P. Busey. 1988. Energy for mowing turfgrass. Trans. ASAE 31:1304-1308.
Reinert, J. A. and P. Busey. 1983. Resistance of bermudagrass selections to the tropical sod webworm (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Environ. Entomol. 12:1844-1845.
Reinert, J. A., P. Busey, and F. G. Bilz. 1989. Bermudagrass resistance to the tropical sod webworm (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). p. 325-327 in: Proc. Sixth Int. Turfgrass Res. Conf.
Reinert, J. A. and P. Busey. 2001. Host resistance to the tawny mole cricket, Scapteriscus vicinus, in bermudagrass, Cynodon spp. Internaional. Turfgrass Journal 9:793-797.