bermudagrass runner

Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) Photo: Betty Marose

Updated: February 27, 2021

Life cycle

Perennial, warm season grass; also called wiregrass.

Growth habit 

Grows up to 2 ft. tall; goes dormant in winter and turns brown.

bermudagrass in turf
 Bermudagrass or wiregrass in lawn. Photo: Kevin Mathias, UMD


Spreads aggressively by strong, wiry stolons (above ground runners).

bermudagrass closeup
Closeup of bermudagrass

Conditions that favor growth

Mowing the lawn too short.


  • Cultural lawn care practices (lawns) Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.
  • Mechanical Management
    (In ornamental beds) small infestations can be dug out; must remove all parts of root. Do not rototill live plants.
    Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.

  • Chemical Treatment in Lawns
    Herbicides should be used as a last resort because of the potential risks to people, animals, and the environment. Be aware of these lawn herbicide precautions first.
    Perennial grasses are extremely difficult to control selectively in turfgrasses. A liquid, selective postemergent herbicide with the active ingredient Fenoxaprop can be used to suppress bermudagrass in lawns.
    Or, either use glyphosate (a non-selective herbicide) to spot treat or renovate the entire lawn. Renovation should be initiated in mid-to-late August allowing time for reseeding in September into early October. Weeds must be actively growing in August when glyphosate is applied. To improve control, water well and allow foliage to grow a week or two before treating. Apply glyphosate at the rate recommended for your weeds and do not disturb the foliage or roots for a week after application. Water to encourage any re-growth and treat again if new growth appears. But, be aware chances are good that the bermudagrass will return again in the future.  
    New grass can be seeded 7 days after treatment when you are sure the weedy grasses are dead.