Cynodon dactylon 'Yukon'
Common Name: Bermuda grass
Type: Turfgrass
Family: Poaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils. When grown as a turfgrass, mow regularly to a height of 3/4" to 1.5" tall, fertilize during the growing season (May to August) and use soil barriers to prevent spread into adjacent areas. Sometimes overseeded with rye. Bermuda grass has winter hardiness problems in the Midwest Transition Area, however, and is not recommended as a turfgrass for St. Louis. Some winter kill is to be expected when winter temperatures dip below 10 degrees F. Needs regular dethatching. It is not recommended as a turfgrass for lawns in the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cynodon dactylon, commonly called Bermuda grass or wire grass, is a tough, warm season grass which spreads rapidly by both stolons and rhizomes. In optimum conditions, it will form a dense lawn which tolerates foot traffic well and excludes many common weeds. On the other hand, many homeowners consider it to be a noxious weed and expend considerable energy trying to eradicate it from their lawns and garden areas. The main disadvantages of Bermuda grass as a turfgrass are (1) foliage turns straw-colored from mid-fall to late spring when grass goes dormant and (2) highly aggressive habit which results in spread into adjacent plantings such as flower beds, vegetable garden and borders.

Genus name comes from the Greek words kyon meaning a dog and odous meaning a tooth.

‘Yukon’ is a fine-textured, seeded variety which is noted for having better winter hardiness than most bermuda grass cultivars in commerce. It features dark green blades. It typically forms a dense sod. It remains greener longer in fall before entering dormancy. It was developed and subsequently introduced by an Oklahoma State University bermuda grass breeding program (in part funded by the USGA) which sought to develop bermuda grasses with improved winter hardiness.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. White grubs are the most common insect problem. Additional insects of concern include sod webworms, cutworms, armyworms, nematodes and mole crickets. Watch for mites. Brown patch and dollar spot are infrequent disease problems. Reportedly has good resistance to spring dead spot disease. Bermuda grass can spread invasively in the landscape.

Notwithstanding the much improved winter hardiness of 'Yukon', it still will suffer significant winter kill during unusually cold winters in the St. Louis area.

Garden Uses

Turfgrass for southern lawns. Also used extensively in southern golf courses for fairway and tee areas.