Torpedo grass vs bermuda is a confusing comparison because both these grasses are so similar in appearance. While bermuda is a popular grass type in homes in warmer US states, the torpedo is mostly considered a weed.

Torpedo and Bermuda Grass

We are compiling all the major differences between these two types of grass, along with each grass’ key characteristics. In this comprehensive article, find out how to take care of your Bermuda and eliminate torpedo weed.

Features Torpedo Grass Bermuda Grass
Scientific Name Panicum repens Cynodon dactylon
Leaf Blade
  • Leaf blades develop dents in the middle
  • Individual blades grow up to 10 inches long
  • Very soft and plump grass blades
  • Brilliant dark-blue in color
  • Leaf blades are broad and flat
Common Usage
  • Considered a weed mostly
  • Residential grass lawn 
  • Shoreline stabilization
  • Good for turfs and residential lawns
  • Golf courses and other athletic grounds
Light Requirements Will continue spreading in partially light Cannot tolerate light
Recoverability Reasonably good Slow recovery 

The Key Differences Between Torpedo Grass vs Bermuda

The main difference between Torpedo and Bermuda grass is that Bermuda is a popular turf grass while Torpedo is considered a weed to be eradicated. Bermuda has a horizontal spreading habit, while torpedo weeds tend to grow upright, as the grass blades can grow as tall as three feet.

Both these grass varieties look very much alike, and it cannot be easy to distinguish them from a distance. At their best, these have blue-green leaves with heavy grass blades. Small, fine hairs are on the leaf sheaths of both types of grass. 

When the leaves of torpedo weeds are small, they look alike. They develop a slight bend in the center as they grow bigger than three inches. At the same time, the Bermuda blades remain straight and flat throughout their lives.

Learning All About Torpedo Grass

Torpedo grass is a type that is prone to grow in warm seasons, and it is best to grow along shorelines, it is resilient to grow in all soils. On the other hand, it’s prone to die quick, so keep natural and herbicidal killers away from the grass.

This type of grass is a species classified as an invasive weed in most states within the US. It prefers warm temperatures and stays dormant during the late summer and spring seasons.

– Warm Season Grass

Torpedo is a warm-season perennial species that is considered to be a weed all across the United States. It is most prevalent in the hotter southern states because of suitable weather. People who live in colder US states do not have to face this weed. It is rarely, if ever, grown as lawn grass by choice. 

Because it prefers warm temperatures, it sprouts mostly around late spring and grows rampantly in the summer. After summer ends and temperatures drop, a visible decline in the growth of torpedo weeds is evident. This grass undergoes dormancy when winter is particularly cold, below 30 degrees. This is also the best time to weed it out of the lawn, as the roots provide minimum resistance.

– Best for Shoreline Planting

Torpedo is not recommended for plantation in places like playgrounds because it is an invasive species and will kill other grasses and plants growing alongside it. It is best used for shoreline stabilization due to its killer survival skills and extensive root system.

– Ability To Grow In All Soil Types

This grass is so formidable that it can grow in all soil types. Technically, the perfect habitat for this grass is moist but well-aerated and loose sandy soil. However, you will also see this grass growing in compacted clay-like soils where most others do not survive. 

Even competitive grass types with extensive root systems cannot keep this grass from spreading everywhere. If your lawn has loose soil with a good underground water source, it is more at risk of torpedo weeds sprouting everywhere.

Torpedo Grass Qualities

– Tolerate Shade

Of course, this grass weed likes unrestricted sunlight to stay lush green all day. Much to the dismay of most lawn owners, it continues to grow even in areas that stay partially shaded throughout the day. 

The growth of this weed is affected only a little bit by the lack of direct sunlight. Otherwise, it carries on invading the lawn unimpeded. A complete lack of direct sunlight, luckily, will kill torpedo grass. That is why placing a tarp over a torpedo lawn for several weeks is an inexpensive method of weed eradication that almost always works.

– Upward Growing

Torpedo has more of an upwards growth habit as compared to other types of grass and this is because the significant grass would comprise underground rhizomes from which grass blades emerge above the ground.

Upward Growing

This is a grass that grows upwards in interlocking towers of blades at intervals of eight to 12 inches.

– Be Cautious of Natural Killers

When you think about what kills torpedo grass, many natural homemade remedies come to mind. All of these are effective but need a consistent application for several weeks. Which is why you must be cautious to keep these factors away from the grass. For instance, ammonia is a common liquid that can kill grass and it can be found in most houses!

For instance, you must keep away from scalding hot water effectively kills grass and weed after just three to four applications. The best thing about this method is how inexpensive it is. Take care not to burn yourself, and wear protective shoes, pants, and gloves while pouring water over the weeds. Pour water really low near the ground to avoid unnecessary splashes.

Another relative and a common method is to buy a black-colored piece of tarp. This tarp must be placed all over where torpedo weed grows and secured at the edges using nails. Then place a two to three inches thick layer of mulch over this tarp and leave it for several months. Once the tarp is lifted, you will see that the weed has been killed from lack of sunlight and air. You can easily pull it out using a sickle or a shovel.

Be on the lookout from some common household vinegar, because it is another way that can kill torpedo weeds by dehydrating them. Vinegar is an effective grass killer that needs to be mixed in water first to make a solution. Then apply this solution to the weeds on a regular weekly basis until it turns brown and dies. Baking soda kills torpedo grass when mixed with water and applied daily.

– Be Careful with Herbicides

On the other hand, you must also stay away from some non-selective herbicide as an effective torpedo weed killer. The best time to apply these is during the late fall or early spring period when this weed is undergoing winter dormancy. The best approach is to follow the instructions given at the back of the herbicide bottle. Even commercial herbicides need frequent reapplications to be 100 percent effective. 

Once the weed has died, it will have to be removed from the ground by manual force. Otherwise, the dead weeds remain in the ground and take time to turn into compost. Remember that chemical herbicides are not always the safest, and you must take strict safety precautions against them.

Learning All About Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is the one that would turn into an invasive species quickly, moreover, it is durable regarding foot trafficking. However, it does not tolerate shade, but it is drought tolerant, prone to be growing horizontally, during the warm seasons, you will see it thrive. 

This is the grass that has a specification of being a warm-growing variety popular because of its resilience. Except for its poor shade tolerance, this grass will carry on growing against all odds.

This is the type of grass that would swiftly grow by giving stolons up from the ground at a distance of about six inches. Multiple grass blades shoot from these stolons to fill the space between each stolon. This is the type of grass that grows thickly but tends to lie low generally. 

– Turn Into An Invasive Species

Bermuda grass can survive under all adverse conditions, so it needs constant maintenance to keep it under control. If left on its own, it will spread by itself beyond the border of your lawn, and this is when it will grow with an invasive characteristic and become hard to control.

You will see it growing between cracks in the pavement and on the sidewalks, and the reason behind this is that its extensive roots will take water and food away from the plants growing alongside it on the lawn. Things can get out of hand, and proper weed control might need to be employed to keep this grass precisely in check. 

Which means that when you invest in it, remember that regular mowing is important, and you must keep pulling out grass blades venturing outside your lawn’s boundary. When it becomes dormant, late fall is the right time to carry out weed control management on a Bermuda lawn.

– A Durable Grass With Good Foot Traffic

Few types of grass with foot traffic tolerance are as good as Bermuda. That is why it can be planted even in highly used areas like playgrounds and tennis courts. No matter how much your kids play around on the turf, Bermuda will stay intact and start developing empty patches of ground. 

This is allowed for the rapid healing mechanism of this grass along with the fast growth of new of the shootings of this grass blades. What you must do in this case is to keep the grass at one to two inches of height ensures that it incurs minimum damage during usage. When a grass blade is long, it will also break down quickly. 

Bermuda is a grass that can be grown everywhere. It suits the backyards, lawns of residential homes, and playgrounds in schools and parks. It survives being put in heavily trafficked roadside turfs too. 

– Not Shade Tolerant 

Warm-season grasses prefer full sun for at least six to eight hours each day and struggle to grow even in partially shaded conditions, because it will begin to weaken, and it won’t establish itself if sun is not present in its growth. Bermuda is no exception and has an equally poor shade tolerance. This grass is one that would be prone to growing in shaded areas where only indirect light has access will turn yellow or brown instead of green. 

Light is important for the food-making properties of grass, and it will also suffer from growth retardation as a result. Moreover, you must know that this is a tough grass in all other aspects, but you must maintain its light requirements.

Bermuda Grass Qualities

– A Drought Tolerant

Bermuda likes to be watered with one inch of water weekly as part of its routine lawn care. If your neighborhood has a water shortage problem, then just one-quarter of an inch of water will keep this grass lush green.

Nonetheless, it grows long roots that venture deep underground along with underground rhizomes that can store water. These properties allow this grass to resist prolonged drought conditions for four consecutive weeks. 

With the changing climates in different parts of the world and water being such a useful commodity, we strongly advocate going for grass types like Bermuda that need the bare minimum amount of water. Even when it turns brown from lack of water, it does not die and can be revived after one to two thorough watering sessions.

– Warm Season Grass

This is a grass that is a warm-season grass that likes it hot to thrive like lawn grass. Only when the temperatures start rising in spring will this perennial grass start turning green after winter dormancy. This means that it will be spring and summer when the sun is directly on it, when it will grow well and thrive. 

Warm Season Grass

It is the perfect grass to grow in hot states because it thrives at 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even Bermuda’s soil temperature needs upwards of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate its grass seeds.

Warm-season grasses like Bermuda cannot stay green when temperatures drop in early fall. Below 30 degrees, your Bermuda grass will turn brown and become dormant for the rest of the winter. In case of frost, this grass will die permanently and must be reseeded in the spring.


In this article, we compared two common warm-season types of grass with the potential to have invasive weed-like growth. Bermuda is one of the most commonly grown grasses in the US because of its drought tolerance, durability, and the beautiful green color. 

The only downside is that you will have to take care that it does not begin to spread beyond its means. We do not recommend planting torpedo grass in the lawn because it is a full-fledged weed that will take ages to kill later.

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