Bermuda grass is a favorite among many homeowners in Texas for various reasons. It is drought-resistant and can be used for multiple purposes.
Before you plant Bermuda grass seeds, you need to understand the difference between hulled and unhulled Bermuda grass seeds. Hulled Bermuda grass seed takes a shorter time to germinate than unhulled Bermuda grass seed. However, it also requires specific soil and weather conditions to grow.
Here’s everything you need to know about hulled vs unhulled Bermuda grass seed.
- Hulled vs Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seed
- What is hulled Bermuda grass seed?
- What is Unhulled Bermuda grass seed?
- How Long Does it Take for Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seed to Germinate?
- What are the Ideal Conditions for Hulled and Unhulled Bermuda Seeds to Grow?
- Hulled vs Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seed: Which is Better
- When Should I Plant Hulled and Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seeds?
Hulled vs Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seed
What is hulled Bermuda grass seed?
Hulled Bermuda grass seeds refer to seeds that have had their outer coat (hull) removed. This is done to speed up the Bermuda grass seed’s germination rate. Hulled Bermuda grass seed is typically planted in spring when the soil is moist and warm and can take 5 to 10 days to germinate.
However, planting hulled Bermuda grass seed also comes with a few risks. First, since the outer coat that is supposed to protect the Bermuda seed is removed, the seed is more prone to damage from its surroundings, such as harsh winter weather and pests.
Ideally, you should only use hulled Bermuda seeds if you want a fast germination rate before the extreme seasons (winter and summer). Some companies also coat the hulled Bermuda grass seed with unique clay formulas to provide extra protection from bacteria.
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What is Unhulled Bermuda grass seed?
Bermuda grass seed usually has a tough outer coating that protects the seed from bacteria and harsh weather conditions in the soil. Seeds planted with this tough coating are called unhulled Bermuda grass seeds.
Unhulled seeds also have their pros and cons. While they offer protection from external factors to the seeds, they also significantly slow down the germination process.
Unhulled seeds take a much longer time (days to weeks) to germinate than hulled Bermuda grass seeds.
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How Long Does it Take for Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seed to Germinate?
The germination time for hulled and unhulled Bermuda grass seeds varies. Hulled Bermuda grass seeds take a shorter time to germinate. Once the hull (seed coat) is removed mechanically, the seed absorbs water and warmth from the soil much faster, resulting in faster germination.
If the soil and weather conditions are ideal, hulled seeds take 5 to 10 days to germinate.
On the other hand, unhulled seeds take much longer in the soil since the seed coat prevents the seeds from absorbing water much faster. With the perfect growth conditions, Unhulled Bermuda grass seeds can take up to 14 days to produce a shoot, and this period may be longer in some areas.
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What are the Ideal Conditions for Hulled and Unhulled Bermuda Seeds to Grow?
For either type of Bermuda seed to germinate, it’s crucial to get the soil conditions right. This will fasten the germination process and increase the germination potential of the Bermuda grass seeds.
Bermuda seeds prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.6 and 7 to thrive. Any soil with a pH above or below this optimum range will slow down the germination process, and the seeds might die before producing a shoot.
Make sure to get your soil tested at your nearest laboratory before planting. You might need to raise or lower your soil pH depending on the outcome. You can read on how to know if my soil needs lime.
Bermuda grass seeds require a lot of moisture during planting. The seeds need to absorb water from the soil before germination, so make sure you keep the ground moisturized after planting.
Getting the ideal temperature for germination is also essential. Seeds need warmth to germinate. Bermuda grass seeds require an optimum soil temperature of between 75° to 85° F. If the soil temperatures go below 65° F or above 100° F, the seeds may take longer to shoot or may even fail to germinate altogether.
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Hulled vs Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seed: Which is Better
In this case, it all boils down to personal preference. What are you planting Bermuda grass for? Both types of Bermuda grass seeds have pros and cons, which you should consider before seeding your lawn.
Unhulled seeds are tougher and can even survive through winter. They also have a much higher germination rate than hulled Bermuda grass seeds. However, you will have to wait longer for them to shoot. So if you intend to plant in fall or winter, unhulled seeds are the best option for you. The seeds will remain dormant in the soil until the conditions are suitable for germination.
On the other hand, hulled seeds have much faster germination but are very delicate. They are easily affected by lower temperatures and can be attacked by soil bacteria before they get a chance to germinate.
According to lawn experts, planting a mix of hulled and Unhulled Bermuda grass seed yields a much better outcome than planting only one variety.
Also read: Will roundup kill Bermuda grass
When Should I Plant Hulled and Unhulled Bermuda Grass Seeds?
Before you set out to seed your lawn, you should ensure the season is suitable for planting Bermuda grass seeds. Hulled and unhulled Bermuda grass seeds should be planted in late spring or early summer when the soil temperatures are just right.
Bermuda grass should be planted at least 90 days before the first snow to allow the grass to mature enough before winter. This will enable it to store food to last through the cold days. Planting any later than this might lead to the Bermuda grass dying in winter due to insufficient food.
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There you have it, both hulled and unhulled Bermuda seeds will germinate in the long run, but the difference is in the speed. You should also note that while hulled seeds germinate faster, they can only do so in well-prepped soils with optimum growth conditions.
See also: Is Bermuda grass shade-tolerant
Unhulled seeds are hardier and can survive longer in the soil. Planting a mix of these seed types will ensure uniform growth on your lawn. The hulled seeds will germinate faster, while the unhulled seeds will shoot much later, covering up any open patches in your lawn.