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How to Plant Bahia Grass Seed in Florida

Bahia grass is a good choice for Florida lawns where the soil is sandy or infertile. It has a deep root system to provide tolerance to drought, doesn't need a lot of fertilizer and has few problems with disease or insects. While bahia grass will not become a dense, dark green cover like some other grasses, it is a low-maintenance alternative if you don't mind the slightly reduced visual quality.

Plant your bahia grass in full sun; this type of grass does not tolerate shade.

Use scarified seed to plant your bahia grass lawn; this seed is treated with chemicals so that it germinates more quickly.

Remove debris, rocks, weeds, large roots and other obstacles from the lawn prior to seeding.

Send a soil sample to the Florida Extension Soil Testing Laboratory for best results; the lab will test the pH, lime and nutrients in the soil so you can add necessary soil amendments to ensure good establishment of your new lawn.

Till the soil 6 to 8 inches deep after adding compost or other soil additives.

Use a hand rake or tractor-drawn equipment to smooth the soil surface after tilling.

Compress the soil with a water ballast roller; this will provide you with firm soil for planting and will help reduce erosion.

Spray your existing lawn with a nonselective herbicide if you're replacing it with bahia grass; once the lawn turns brown, you may start reseeding.

Plant bahia grass in the spring or early in the summer to allow your lawn to grow a good root system and fill in before cooler fall and winter weather slows growth.

Water your new bahia grass lawn frequently until it becomes well established; you may need to water up to once or twice a day.

Do not mow your bahia grass until it has had a chance to develop a strong, deep root system.

Apply a balanced fertilizer to your bahia lawn in the fall and in early spring.

Water your bahia grass twice a week after it is well established.


Bahia grass has a low tolerance for saltwater, so consider alternatives if you live in a coastal area.

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