Native to the West Indies, Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) is a warm-season grass commonly found in southern United States. This drought-resistant and relatively low-maintenance grass also can turn into an invasive weed in many home gardens. It thrives in a variety of soils including sandy, clay, dry and infertile soils, and resists most insects and disease. Whether growing this grass or tackling it as a weed, certain questions arise regarding its management, care and control.
What Does Bahia Grass Look Like?
Bahia grass blades are light green and have a coarse texture. According to Texas A&M University, the blades are long, thin and pointed at the tip, and grow on short, woody rhizomes and stolons.
How Can I Start a Bahia Grass Lawn?
Bahia grass is started by planting seeds, plugs or laying sod. Planting seeds or laying sod is preferred to plugging because Bahia grass grows slowly and it takes a considerable amount of time for the plugs to spread and grow over the soil surface. Seeds are cheaper than laying sod but take time to germinate and spread. Laying sod, albeit costly, provides an instant lawn over bare soil.
How Do I Plant Bahia Grass Seeds?
Loosen the top 4 inches of soil with a shovel. Add an even layer of compost to the soil and rake well. You need 2 lb. seeds for every 1000 square feet of area. Use a handheld spreader for planting seeds over small areas and a broadcast spreader for larger areas. Rake the area again to ensure the seeds go 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in the soil, and water well. Water once every day, preferably in the morning, for two to three weeks, or until the seeds germinate.
How Often Should I Water and Mow My Bahia Grass Lawn?
Bahia grass is a drought-resistant grass and can last many days without water. For best results, water your lawn grass once every four to five days, and make sure it gets enough moisture to saturate the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Mow bahiagrass down to between 2 to 4 inches. Mow every five days between the months of June to August to remove the unattractive seed heads the plants produce.
How Do I Prevent Bahia Grass From Spreading In My Flower Beds?
Spread a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch over the Bahia grass to prevent it from spreading and invading flowerbeds or other areas in your garden. Manually removing the grass by hand is also an effective way of preventing it from spreading. Moisten the soil beforehand with a garden hose and uproot sections of unwanted grass with a shovel. Make sure to pull out all the roots as well.
How Do I Kill Unwanted Bahia Grass?
Select an organic or chemical method to kill Bahia grass. Although organic methods of eradication are cheaper and environmentally friendly, they take longer than chemical methods that provide instant results. Smother Bahia grass down with heavy plastic or pour boiling water over it for organic control, or spray a broad-spectrum herbicide that contains glyphosate over the area.