Care and maintenance of the Bermuda grass pasture

Material Information

Care and maintenance of the Bermuda grass pasture
Thompson, John B ( John Bert ), b. 1878
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida, Agricultural Experiment Stations
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Grasses ( jstor )
Pastures ( jstor )
Grazing ( jstor )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


General Note:
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station press bulletin 312

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
AAA6541 ( LTQF )
AEP5908 ( NOTIS )
030277897 ( AlephBibNum )


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The newly planted Bermuda grass field should be allowed
ample opportunity to become well established before being pas-
tured. On the light and dry types of soil, special care should be
observed to avoid stocking beyond the normal capacity of the
pasture. On the other hand, it has been found at the Florida
Experiment Station that animals usually prefer the younger,
more nutritious and tender growth, and that the under-stocked
pasture will be grazed close in certain spots while in others the
larger and older growth will be left untouched. As a means of
obviating this objectionable tendency it is often desirable to
divide the pasture so that rotation grazing may be practiced.
Where this system is judiciously followed the pasture is grazed
down uniformly and quickly and a subsequent period of rest
favors an early restoration of growth. This grass is very sensi-
tive to the effects of shade and any tall growth of weeds or vege-
tation that might tend to smother it should be cut with a mowing
machine or held in control by some other means.

The growing habits of Bermuda grass lead in time to a very
dense turf or "sod bound" condition of the field. This condition
is easily recognized by the light color of the grass, a loss of vigor,
and a consequent reduction in the amount of feed produced. To
prevent or improve this condition the pasture should be thoroly
disked or plowed annually. This cultivation should be given at
a time when soil moisture is plentiful. July or August or during
the period of heavy summer rains is probably the most favorable
time. When a system of rotation grazing is followed it is a

August 16, 1919

good practice to cultivate at the end of a grazing period. The
grass then becomes reestablished during the following interval
when pasture is at rest.
Lespedeza is occasionally found growing with Bermuda grass
with enough vigor to materially increase the value of the pastur-
age. While this combination is not general, the lespedeza should
be encouraged as it is a palatable and highly nutritious legume.
It is an annual plant, producing a seed crop and reseeding the
ground from year to year after it once becomes established. The
seed crop usually matures early in November and where it is
abundant on Bermuda grass pasture, cultivation should be sus-
pended until about that time. This practice will encourage an
increased growth of lespedeza for the succeeding year, while
early cultivation would prevent seeding and result in a reduction
of the stand.
On poor sandy soils or where the growth of grass begins to
indicate a lack of soil productivity, fertilizers may be used to
advantage. This should be distributed upon the surface of the
field just in advance of the plow or disc at the time of cultiva-
tion. A moderate dressing of stable manure scattered on spots
showing low fertility, or a light application of some commercial
fertilizer containing a high proportion of nitrogen will be found
beneficial. Dried blood at the rate of 150 pounds per acre or
cottonseed meal, 300 pounds per acre may be used satisfactorily.
Nitrate of soda and sulphate of ammonia are both very quickly
available, but being water soluble, much loss may result where
heavy rains follow soon after their application. Where they
are applied on moist soil, however, and a period of comparatively
dry weather follows, there are no other fertilizers that will
more quickly promote growth. These may be applied at the rates
of 100 and 125 pounds per acre for sulphate of ammonia and
nitrate of soda respectively.
State papers please copy.