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How to Care for Bahia Grass

Bahia grass is a low-maintenance, warm-season turfgrass that’s popular for use in lawns in climates that have mild winters. Bahia grass becomes dormant during winter, turning brownish and bouncing back in early spring. Because of bahia grass’s dormancy during the colder months, many people overseed their bahia lawns with annual ryegrass to achieve a green lawn year round. Bahia grass is somewhat drought-tolerant, does will with a higher mowing height, is rarely plagued by pests or diseases and requires little extra care.

Water your bahia grass to supplement rainfall whenever the blades begin to turn bluish-gray, fold up or wilt. Water it to provide ¾ to 1 inch of water each time, wetting the top 8 inches of soil.

Mow your bahia grass once every seven to 14 days during spring through fall to maintain it at 3 to 4 inches in height. Never cut more than one-third of the grass’s total height in a single mowing.

Feed your bahia grass between spring green-up and fall with a 16-4-8 NPK lawn fertilizer, according to the instructions on the package. Use a rate of ½ lb. of water-soluble nitrogen to 1 lb. of slow-release nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn, divided into two to four applications.

Treat your bahia grass lawn for infestations of mole crickets, which tunnel into the soil and feed on the grass roots and shoots, causing brown patches in your lawn. To control the infestation, you can introduce natural mole cricket predators, such as the Larra wasp or the beneficial nematode Steinernema scapterisci. You can also apply an approved insecticide or bait to get rid of the mole crickets.

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your bahia grass in late winter or prior to new growth in early spring, if you’ve had problems with crabgrass, sandbur, goosegrass or crowfootgrass weeds in prior years. Pre-emergent herbicides that are effective on common weeds found in bahia grass include dacthal, oryzalin, pendimethalin, dithiopyr, prodiamine, benefin and bensulide.

Apply a post-emergent herbicide to your bahia grass lawn to control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds that have already begun to grow, such as spurge, knotweed and lespedeza. Apply the post-emergent herbicide only when air temperatures are 60 to 85 degrees Fand the grass isn’t stressed from drought or other factors.


Bahia grass is prone to yellowing due to iron deficiencies. If your bahia grass is turning yellow, apply ferrous sulfate to your lawn at the rate of 2 oz. mixed with 4 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet. Follow the instructions on the label, and apply the ferrous sulfate once every six weeks between spring and fall.


Avoid tearing the bahia grass blades by keeping your mower blade sharpened at all times. Bahia grass blades are tough, so sharpen your mower blades at least once per month during the spring, summer and autumn.

Don’t apply the post-emergent grass herbicides DSMA, atrazine or MSMA to your bahia grass, because these chemicals will severely damage the grass.

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