Bahia grass is suitable for lawns mainly because of its drought and heat resistance properties. It thrives where most grass types fail.
If you live in an area with poorly drained soil that lacks enough nutrients, you need lawn grass that can handle such conditions and still look good. Bahia grass is the grass for the job.
Bahia grass doesn’t require much mowing. It requires little water and isn’t attacked by many pests and diseases. We’ll look at Bahia grass pros and cons, how you can care for your lawn and how to plant Bahia grass in your yard.
Bahia Grass Overview
Bahia grass is a warm-season grass that prefers full sun and is used extensively in agriculture. It doesn’t produce dark-green turf, but the turf is coarse and drought resistant.
Besides the coarse turf, Bahia grass is drought resistant due to its deep root system, which perseveres even in sandy and infertile soil.
Bahia grass thrive in acidic lawns. Alkaline or neutral soil will cause iron deficiency.
You can start growing Bahia grass from seeds. However, it grows slowly when using seeds due to the grass’s short stems called stolons, which root at very short intervals.
The growing phase happens from late spring to the hot summer months. The grass is green during these active growth periods. It turns to a dark color during its dormant period, then bounces back once more when the rain falls.
The dormant phase happens during winter. To prevent lawns from turning completely brown during this phase, lawn owners often overseed Bahia grass to maintain color.
Bahia grass is a good option if you’re designing a lawn meant to receive heavy traffic. The grass can tolerate foot traffic but lacks the soft cushiony feel associated with other lawn grass. The following are Bahia grass pros and cons:
- Bahia grass is unaffected by heat and doesn’t lose water quickly
- It can also tolerate shade better than other drought-resistant grass, such as the Bermuda grass
- Bahia grass tolerates poorly-drained soils
- Bahia grass doesn’t produce much thatch
- It has low fertilizer needs
- It can be grown from seeds, sods, or plugs
- Suffers few diseases and few pest attacks
- Bahia grass is susceptible to weeds when young due to its slow growth process
- Bahia grass can be destroyed by lawn care products applied when the grass is in the dormant phase
- Since its rhizomes grow laterally, the enormous root system can invade other vegetation planted nearby
- It can’t be mowed evenly, so the finished look is slightly shaggy
- It’s intolerant of cold, shade, and salty water
- Bahia grass grows slowly and takes longer to establish a new lawn
Bahia Grass Varieties
There are four varieties of Bahia grass: Pensacola, Argentine, Common, and Paraguay. Pensacola and Argentine are more common.
Pensacola Bahia has longer blades, performs better in colder weather, and establishes faster than Bahia Argentine.
Argentine Bahia grass has a more delicate leaf structure and a dark, dense, attractive color. The grass quickly dies when planted in shady areas since it’s not tolerant to low amounts of shade like Pensacola. It’s also easier to mow Argentine than Pensacola because Argentine has fewer seed heads.
How to Care for Bahia Grass Lawn
Bahia grass pros and cons are different for each grass variety but caring for them involves the same basic steps.
You’ll know your Bahia grass needs watering when the blades fold, wither, or turn bluish-gray. Another sign of thirsty Bahia grass is when the grass doesn’t pop back up when stepped on. Don’t overwater Bahia grass because it requires little water. Overwatering attracts weeds.
Mow 3-4 inches high during the grass’s active growth phase. Ensure you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade height.
Doing so might cause the grass to loose its heat and drought tolerance, an increase in weed growth, or the root growth might be suppressed.
Bahia grass has tough grass blades and flower stalks that require mowing using a heavy-duty rotary mower. A heavy-duty mower reduces the number of times you have to sharpen the blades.
You can determine your lawn’s fertilizer needs by conducting an annual soil test. Bahia grass fertilizer requirements are low, often 2-4 applications a year.
The low fertilizer needs make the grass an excellent candidate for infertile soils.
Apply one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. The grass blades will often take on a dark color after application.
Mole crickets will certainly attack your Bahia grass. You can get rid of mole crickets by applying insecticide. The most common Bahia grass disease is the dollar spot which is treatable using a fungicide.
How to Plant Bahia Grass
An ideal time to plant Bahia grass is in early summer and late spring.
Bahia grass takes about four weeks to establish roots. During this time, the grass is susceptible to weed damage.
Follow the below steps to plant the grass on your lawn:
- Till two inches and remove debris using a rake
- Test the soil and aim for a pH of 5.5 – 6.5
- Add one inch of potassium and nitrogen fertilizer and mix with the soil
- Spread one pound of seed per 100 square feet using a broadcast spreader
- Water the lawn with a fine mist to avoid eroding the seeds away
So, Is Bahia Grass Good for Your Lawn
Bahia grass is a great choice for lawns because it can withstand drought, low nutrients and is not bombarded by pests/diseases.
Bahia grass pros and cons differ with each grass variety, but the grass remains an excellent choice for your lawn.
Hello! My name is Chris, and I am the founder of Yard Floor. When I was a toddler, my family had a lush green lawn. I was at the center of caring for and maintaining this lawn and even proceeded to take an associate’s Degree in landscaping. I am here to share my years of experience with you – be it repairing your mower/tractor or caring for your lawn.