How to Care for a Bahia Lawn

Overview

Landscapers prize bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) for its low maintenance nature, few disease and pest problems and high drought tolerance, according to the University of Florida. Originally hailing from Brazil, this grass needs a warm climate to thrive and grows best in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 10. With the proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy a bahiagrass lawn for years to come.

Step 1

Water the lawn on an as-needed basis, as bahiagrass has very low water requirements. Watch for signs of drought stress, which include the grass blades folding inward and turning a blueish hue, as indicators of when water is needed. When you water, apply enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 8 inches.

Step 2

Fertilize the bahiagrass. Bahiagrass lawns have very low fertilization requirements, according to the University of Florida. The university recommends apply fertilizer at four equally spaced intervals, starting in the spring when the lawn emerges from dormancy through the summer and fall. Use any fertilizer labeled for lawn use, such as a 16-4-8 product.

Step 3

Mow the bahiagrass. Cut the lawn down to 3 inches every time it reaches a height of 4.5 inches. Allowing the grass to grow this tall encourages deeper root development. Cut once a week or as needed since growing rates vary by climate.

Step 4

Treat the bahiagrass lawn with pre-emergent herbicides every February or March. Because the grass doesn't form a very dense lawn, it's more susceptible to weed invasions than lawns made of zoysiagrass or bermudagrass. Example herbicides include pendimethalin, prodiamine and benefin, and keep weed seeds from germinating among your bahiagrass.

Tips and Warnings

  • Apply all herbicides according to their labeled guidelines since toxicity varies by product. Exercise extreme caution when handling such products and avoid ingesting or breathing the chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Lawn fertilizer
  • Lawn mower
  • Herbicide

References

  • "The Lawn Bible: How to Keep It Green, Groomed, and Growing Every Season of the Year"; David Mellor; 2003
  • University of Florida: Bahiagrass for Florida Lawns
  • "Expert Guide to Lawns: Pro Secrets for a Beautiful Yard"; Joseph Provey, et al.; 2008
Keywords: bahiagrass lawn care, growing bahiagrass, bahiagrass lawn management

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.