Cynodon dactylon / Bermuda Grass / Kweek / Cape Royal / Couch Grass seed – for forage / grazing / pastures (read below.)
Sowing rate: 20kg per hectare for forage, 100kg per hectare.
Planting time: September to March (Southern Hemisphere.)
Uses/applications: Used in permanent pastures for grazing or cut-and-carry, and for hay or pellets and silage production. Provides useful standover or deferred feed. Valuable for soil conservation, as a turf, and as a cover crop in orchards.
Soil requirements: Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) grows on a wide range of soils, but best in relatively fertile, well-drained soils. Adapted over a broad range of soil pH (4.5-8.5), but grows best when the pH is above 5.5. Good tolerance of salinity, but makes only slow growth under saline conditions (maximum yields up to EC 7 mmhos/cm), 50% of maximum at 15 mmhos/cm, and nil at 22.5 mmhos/cm (1 mmho/cm = 1 dS/m). Can use irrigation water with salinity up to 10.8 dS/cm for plants growing in sand, to 6.1 dS/cm in loam, and to 3.6 dS/cm in clay< /A > . Generally not tolerant of high aluminium saturation, although some varieties appear more tolerant than others.
Moisture: Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) usually occurs over an average annual rainfall range of 625-1,750 mm, but down to 550 mm, and up to 4,300 mm. Very drought tolerant by virtue of rhizome survival through drought-induced dormancy over periods of up to 7 months. Tolerates at least several weeks of deep flooding.
Temperature: Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) is widely distributed from >50ºN in Europe to 34.5ºS in South Africa, and probably further south outside its native range. It also grows from sea level over much of this latitudinal range to about 4,000 m asl in the Himalayas. This equates to a range in average annual temperature from about 6-28°C. There are large differences among ecotypes in terms of temperature response. However, C. dactylon generally grows best with mean daily temperatures above 24°C or over an optimal range of 17-35°C. Grows very slowly at 15°C. Plants become dormant when night temperatures fall below 0°C, or the average daytime temperature below 10ºC, or cooler than a regime of an 8-hour day at 15°C and a 16-hour night at 5°C. Although foliage and stems are usually killed at temperatures of -2 to -3°C, plants regrow rapidly from rhizomes with the onset of warm conditions.
Light: C. dactylon is not shade tolerant and yields decrease rapidly with increasing shade. It usually dies out under medium to dense shade.
Defoliation: Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) is extremely tolerant of heavy grazing, but more productive if correctly managed. Regular grazing and nitrogen fertilisation are necessary to maintain quality. Cut for hay or silage when 30-40 cm tall or every 4-6 weeks, usually when in full bloom. 4 cuttings per year are possible. A stubble height of 5-10 cm under grazing or cutting gives good regrowth and maintains sward density. Renovate by ploughing or discing when sod-bound.
Establishment: Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) is propagated by seed or vegetatively (turfs or stolon/rhizome pieces (sprigs). Normally sown at 5-10 kg/ha dehulled seed, the higher rate being used for more rapid cover. No seed dormancy has been reported. Seed is best sown onto a very well prepared, fine, weed-free seedbed and rolled in. Seedlings usually root down quickly. Improved varieties are usually planted vegetatively due to low seed set or to avoid genetic drift. Turfs or sprigs can be planted at 3.5-7 m³/ha (40-80 bu/ac) or on a 90 cm (or less) grid, into a roughly or well-prepared seedbed, but rolling is still essential. Machinery has been developed to facilitate harvesting and planting of sprigs. Seedlings and sprig-plantings grow vigorously once established.
Fertiliser: Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon) survives at low fertility possibly due to non-symbiotic N fixation in the rhizosphere, measured at 30 kg/ha N in a 100-day period. Responds well to improved fertility, with applications of a minimum of 10 kg/ha/month N and up to 60 kg/ha/month N necessary for moderate to high productivity, particularly in some of the improved hybrids.
Compatibility (with other species): C. dactylon is very competitive, particularly in fertile soils, and only aggressive legumes are capable of forming an association with it. It suppresses weeds well if kept mown or grazed closely and fertilised.
Grasses: Generally not planted with other grasses.
Legumes: Arachis glabrata , A. pintoi , Desmodium heterocarpon subsp. ovalifolium, Kumerowia (Lespedeza) striata, Neonotonia wightii , Stylosanthes humilis , Teramnus labialis , Trifolium incarnatum, T. repens, Vicia villosa.
Pests and diseases: Rust (Puccinia graminis) and Helminthosporium leafspot are the major fungal diseases of Cynodon dactylon , although resistant types are available. Other fungal diseases include Bipolaris, Gaeumannomyces, Leptosphaeria, Marasmius, and tar spot (Phyllachora). Smuts from Sporisorium, Sorosporium and Ustilago can infest seedheads. Also attacked by the bacterium Xanthomonas cynodontis, and by barley yellow dwarf virus, lucerne dwarf virus, and viral stripe diseases (which affect corn and rice), as well as by a range of nematodes, the main one being root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.). Selection for nematode resistance has been important in breeding programs.
Armyworm (Spodoptera spp.), tropical grass webworm (Herpetogramma licarsisalis), spittlebug (Prosapia bicinata) and bermudagrass mite (Eriophes cynodoniensis) are major pests. The parasitic flowering plants Cuscuta pentagona, Nuytsia floribunda, Striga harmonithica, and S. lutea can adversely affect stands.
Ability to spread: C. dactylon spreads rapidly by rhizomes and stolons, and also by seed. It can spread over 2 m/month during the growing season, a single plant forming a dense sward up to 25 m across in 2.5 years.
Weed potential: It is difficult to eradicate with chemicals or cultivation, and can become a serious weed in cultivated land. Declared weed in over 80 countries.
This information (and more) is found on the Tropical Forages website at the following link: www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/Cynodon_dactylon.htm.