AGP - Cynodon dactylon
 

CYNODON DACTYLON L.

 

 

 

 

Family: Poaceae

Synonyms: Capriola dactylon (L.) Kuntze

Common names: bermuda grass, bahama grass, devil's grass, couch grass, pasto bermuda, zacate bermuda, grama dulce, gramón, hierba fina, grama-seda, chiendent. petit chiendent, chiendent y pied-de-poule.

Cynodon dactylon, bermudagrass, is a stoloniferous and rhizomatous creeping perennial grass with long prostrate stems (runners), rooting at the nodes. The upright shoots are 15-25 cm tall. The inflorescence is composed of 3-7 digitately arranged spikes, 3-10 cm long.

Its growth and development are promoted by warm moist conditions. Bermudagrass rhizomes may be found in sandy soils below a depth of 20-25 cm,  but around 60% of rhizomes are usually located in the top 15 cm of soil.

Roots are less than 10% of the total subterranean mass Lescano de Rios 1983. Bermudagrass is a common weed in fruit tree orchards, grassland, sugar cane, cotton and other arable crop plantations. In many citrus producing countries bermudagrass is considered the worst weed of these plantations.

Heavy infestation of bermudagrass decreases cotton height, canopy width, leaf area index and seed cotton yield.

Bermudagrass reproduces by seed production and through runners and rhizomes. Its growth and development are promoted by warm moist conditions. Bermudagrass can produce up to 230 seeds/panicle during the first three months after the initiation of seed set . Seeds germinate at temperatures above 20°C and emergence takes place within the next two weeks, with tillering ocurring after 25-30 days. The complete cycle (germination to seed production) is around four months. Plants which develop from rhizomes and from stolons have a similar pattern of growth. A single shoot from a rhizome may cover 2.5 sqm of soil surface in 150 days after its emergence.

Intensive cultivation such as repeated deep disc ploughing and harrowing help to reduce bermudagrass infestations while dragging the rhizomes onto the soil surface aids dessiccation.

In Botswana, two mouldboard plough passes, one after and the second at planting with a tractor-mounted plough were effective in reducing bermudagrass growth in the season of implementation and for at least a second year.

Conservation tillage, especially no-tillage, favors growth of bermudagrass because rhizomes are not disturbed by tillage.

Hand-hoeing is not an effective method to control bermudagrass in fruit tree orchards. In many cases lesions to shallow tree roots can occur which allows entry of pathogens such as Phytophthora spp. and others.

In Saudi Arabia, alfalfa has been effective as a smother crop under citrus.

Relatively few herbicides are effective against bermudagrass. Bromacil is applied selectively against bermudagrass pre-emergence and early post-emergence in citrus and pineapple plantations.

This compound tends to be readily leached and should not be used repeatedly for several years in soils having subterranean waters close to the soil surface. For the same reason it should not be applied to newly planted citrus nor used repeatedly on crops growing on sandy or low organic matter content soils.

Glyphosate, applied to the foliage of bermudagrass, is also highly effective when used as a directed spray in several orchards crops. Two applications during the year tends to considerably reduce the bermudagrass cover in citrus plantations. The use of glyphosate in banana and plantain plantations requires carefully directed spraying to avoid spray solution being deposited on green parts of the plant pseudostem, which would damage the crop.

In annual broadleaf crops, post-emergence application of fluazifop-butyl and haloxyfop-methyl are effective against bermudagrass, but one application of either of these herbicides commonly is not enough to achieve complete control.

In soybeans, the use of pre-sowing EPTC has been recommended combined with a post-emergence application of fluazifop-butyl, haloxyfop-methyl or sethoxydim.

Herbicides are often unaffordable in many small farming areas. Therefore, the implementation of mechanical control procedures, already mentioned, could help to minimize herbicide usage and to obtain technically effective bermudagrass control.

A good approach for bermudagrass control could be the determination of economic thresholds for the weed. With this information it would be possible to advise when to initiate control practices. For example, in young Citrus reticulata plantations it was established that bermudagrass cover up to 25% within one year does not affect the growth of the trees, but heavier cover densities were highly depressive, hence control measures were recommended to be implemented before the plant cover reached the 25% level.

Countries: Costa Rica, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Chile, Cuba, Cyprus, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Venezuela, Vietnam

 

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