University of Missouri Extension

IPM1024, Revised October 2010

Identifying Grass Seedlings

Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon)

Perennial grasses


Bermudagrass is a creeping, wiry grass that forms dense mats from rhizomes and stolons. It can be valued as turfgrass or forage in some areas, but in other settings is considered a weed. Its leaf sheaths are round and tipped with hairs; the ligule is a short membrane with hairs along the margin. Auricles are absent. The leaf blades are 1–4 mm wide, flat and smooth.

Mature bermudagrassMature bermudagrass.

Collar region Small to prominent auriclesCollar region: short, membranous ligule with hairs at margin.
Right, seedhead.


Bermudagrass can tolerate many conditions, including drought. In cool-season lawns, it can disrupt site color uniformity during dormancy. Agronomically, it is a weed problem in warmer areas such as the southern portions of Missouri.


Bermudagrass occurs throughout the southern United States north to the Middle Atlantic states. In Missouri, bermudagrass is most frequently encountered south of the Missouri River.

Similar species

Nimblewill has similar color, texture and habitat but is a finer species with a higher tolerance for shade and cold temperatures. It also has a smaller membranous ligule.

IPM1024 Identifying Grass Seedlings | University of Missouri Extension

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