Bahiagrass: How to Grow this Grass Lawn

Introduction to Bahiagrass Lawns

Bahia is one of Brazil’s 26 states. It’s also a perennial grass type that originated in South America.

It was brought to Florida around 1913. Its initial introduction to the United States was as a pasture grass for hay production and erosion control.

Bahiagrass has since been naturalized, and new bahiagrass varieties have been adapted for lawns in areas with poor soil conditions and heavy traffic.

Bahiagrass is a low-growing perennial with stout underground rootstocks that make it drought tolerant and grow slowly.

introduction-to-Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass grows best in the southeastern United States.

From central North Carolina to the eastern parts of Texas, several cultivars have adapted to sandy soils.

Argentine and Pensacola lawn grass cultivars create a low-maintenance bahiagrass lawn in warm-season climates.

Pensacola Bahia grass seed capitalizes on the best qualities of Bahiagrass.

It thrives in poor soil conditions, producing long-lasting, dense, drought-resistant lawns.

Pensacola’s deep, comprehensive root structure improves heat and cold tolerance, providing higher winter hardiness and lawn quality than the typical Bahia.

Argentine Bahia grass seeds are more expansive, have a finer leaf texture, and the lawn color is darker and more appealing.

Deep roots, drought and disease resistance, and low growth- and maintenance requirements combine to make this a common maintenance lawn type.

Because Bahia grass can survive in poor soil conditions where other warm-season grasses may struggle, it’s a favorite in gardens with acidic soil.

With its deep root system, this perennial is drought tolerant, has a fine leaf texture, and requires minimal maintenance.

Planting a Bahiagrass Lawn

Bahiagrass seed germinates slowly but establishes quickly, so you can get the benefits of seeding your lawn.

When young, the open growth style of Bahia makes it subject to weeds. Short stolons above-ground stems contribute to the plant’s slow, steady growth.

The stolons send deep (up to 8-feet) roots into the ground at short intervals and eventually form a dense, long-lasting all-purpose turf.

Bahiagrass can be planted using sod or bahiagrass seed.

planting-a-Bahiagrass-lawn

Like most warm-season grasses, Bahiagrass is best established during the period of early spring to early summer.

It will grow in poorly drained soils where Bermuda grass would be unable to, creating lush green lawns.

In southern climates and the gulf coast, where colder temperatures are not a problem, you can plant bahiagrass seeds in the early fall.

Planting in late spring or summer increases the risk of weeds invading the lawn before proper active growth.

Like other grasses (but less so with Bermuda grass and Bentgrass), good site preparation will help your bahiagrass lawn get an excellent start.

Soil testing should be a regular gardener’s ritual for all garden beds. To validate the pH of your soil, test it every three to four years.

Bahiagrass prefers acidic soil, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Bahia suffers from iron deficiency on soils with a pH greater than 7.0, resulting in a pale yellow tint.

Bahiagrass prefers acidic soil with a pH of less than 6.5. To establish a new lawn, use five to ten pounds of grass seeds per 1,000 square feet.

For Bahiagrass to germinate, there must be good seed-to-soil contact.

Bahiagrass seed takes a long time to germinate and can take months to establish.

Bahiagrass Lawn Care and Maintenance

Because Bahia grass does not respond well to pesticides commonly used to remove unwelcome invasions, a well-kept Bahia lawn will generally crowd out weeds, making this the preferred weed control technique.

Herbicides used to manage weeds can harm or slow down the growth of good Bahia grass, so use caution when using them.

When a Bahiagrass turf starts to turn yellow, it’s a warning that the soil needs to be supplemented with an iron nutrient.

This usually happens in the spring or fall, and by using this element, the grass will be restored to a beautiful light green tint.

Bahiagrass has various types that have evolved to suit local climatic circumstances.

The Argentine Bahiagrass grows better in the deep south and gulf coast.

At the same time, the Pensacola bahiagrass variety is colder tolerant and best suited for growing in areas further north prone to frost or cool spells.

Fertilization and Weed Prevention

Some compounds found in weed-and-feed lawn products can harm Bahia grass, especially if the grass isn’t actively growing.

Please read the label on any weed-killer or fertilizer before using it on your Bahiagrass lawn to be sure it’s safe to use.

Use a crabgrass preventer as weed control in your established Bahiagrass lawn early in the spring.

Before crabgrass germinates, which occurs when soil temperatures consistently hit 55-degrees Fahrenheit, you should apply the Crabgrass Preventer at any time.

This usually occurs in early February or even late January in southern Florida. Make sure you follow the directions on the label.

When Bahia lawns are more winter hardy than most common varieties, it turns brown in dormancy. You can easily spot weeds in the winter.

Fertilize your lawn with a mix that contains iron and nitrogen in the growing season, but 2- to 3-pounds per 1,000-square feet is ample.

Higher applications will damage your Bahia lawn. Bahia lawns can grow in infertile sandy soil, but iron deficiencies are common.

Pests and Potential Problems

Mole crickets and chinch bugs have a history of wreaking havoc on established lawns.

Dollar spot fungus is the only major pathogen that affects Bahia grass. Treat for mole cricket with chemical treatments between June and August.

Mowing

mowing-Bahiagrass-Lawn

To prevent damage to your perennial grass lawn, never remove more than a third of a glass blade from a single mowing.

Keep your Bahia grass length between 2- and 3-inches. Mowing lawns at a lower height promotes better spreading.

Bahia seed heads may be toxic to some animals. Regular mowing removes seed heads from your lawn.

During the winter, dormant Bahiagrass lawns do not require mowing. Continue mowing at usual heights if your lawn grows all year.

Continue mowing ryegrasses at the height of 2- to 3-inches for dormant lawns overseeded for winter color.

Watering

To keep the color of your established lawn, water it as needed. Overwatering Bahiagrass causes it to wilt and become prone to lawn disease.

FAQs

Is Bahia grass good for lawns?

Bahiagrass is a species of grass planted in the southern United States because of its drought and heat tolerance, as well as its capacity to flourish in areas where other lawn grasses fail. It is used in lawns in a very restricted area in the southern United States, and it is a reasonably resilient, low-growing, and low-maintenance grass.

Is Bahia grass invasive?

Unfortunately, by the time you see Bahiagrass seeds, this grass species is at its most aggressive. The grass forms mats and spreads through rhizomes. It grows in tufts or clumps, is light green in color, and spreads in tufts or clumps. Efforts to remove bahiagrass in sod are thwarted due to its widespread usage in warm-season locations.

Does Bahia grass grow quickly?

Fairly quickly. Homeowners who grow Bahiagrass, particularly in the southern United States usually have grass planted in sandy soils and scorching heat. As a result, they need a variety of grass that grows fast and can withstand both high temperatures and prolonged periods of drought. Bahiagrass is a kind of grass that is native to South America and is highly prized for its hardiness and rapid development. As a result, it is ideal for establishing dense, blanketing lawns.

Other types of grass to consider

If you are looking for other varieties of grass to grow in your yard, check out our other related posts:

References

  • Hancock, D.W., Lacy, R.C, Stewart, R.L, Tubbs, R.S., Kichler, J., Green, T.W, & Hicks, R. (2017). The Management and Use of Bahiagrass, Bulletin 1362, The University of Georgia Extension.
  • Price, J. (2013). Bahiagrass, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, The University of Georgia Extension.
  • Griffin, M., Silva, L., Dillard, L., Mullenix, K., Kesheimer, K. & Russell, D. (2020). Bahiagrass in Alabama. Farming, Alabama A&M and Auburn University Extension.
  • Lemus, R. (Revised by Broome, M.L.). (2016). Forage: Bahiagrass – Mississippi’s Summer Pasture. Information Sheet 843, Mississippi State University Extension.

About/Mentions: Bahiagrass, Lawn, Gardening, Sod

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