Bahia grass was introduced to the United States from Brazil in 1914. It was originally a pasture grass. Today Bahia grass is used by many, especially in Florida and the warm Gulf Coast area, as a lawn grass. Bahia grows well in poor soils and can tolerate drought as well as heavy storms, which makes it an excellent choice along the Gulf Coast. Bahia grass seeds should be planted in the spring, allowing the lawn a full growing season to become established before the onset of colder weather.
Water the area to be planted with Bahia seeds thoroughly to encourage the growth of weeds and other vegetation. Water every other day for six days.
Spray the area with a non-selective herbicide on the seventh day, 24 hours following the last watering. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for using the herbicide and do not spray any plants you wish to keep. Do not spray if it is windy or if rain is forecast within the following 24 hours.
Rake the area well seven days after the application of the herbicide to remove all vegetation and any other debris.
Rototill the top 8 inches of soil. Rake again to remove any vegetation turned up by the rototiller and to level the ground. Slope the ground away from buildings at a 1 to 2 percent decline.
Use a trowel to collect samples of soil from eight to 10 locations, mix the samples and allow them to dry. Take approximately a 1 cup sample of the combined soil to your state's soil testing laboratory (check with your local nursery or home improvement center for the location of a soil testing facility near you) and have the soil tested. Let them know that you plan to plant Bahia grass.
Add any soil amendments (primarily lime) that the soil test recommends. Do not add fertilizer prior to planting seeds.
Use a fertilizer spreader to broadcast seeds evenly over your prepared site at the rate of approximately 1 pound of seeds per 1,000 square feet.
Rake the area with your hard steel rake to slightly bury the majority of seeds. Roll a lawn roller of medium weight over the area to fully connect the seeds with the soil.
Water the area well for at least 90 days. Keep the ground damp but not saturated. Be patient. It can take up to four weeks for some varieties of Bahia to sprout. Do not mow until the lawn has established a good root system (approximately 45 to 60 days after germination). Set your lawnmower to a height of 3 to 3 1/2 inches.