Does anyone have a bahia grass lawn?

imagardener2(9-10)September 23, 2009

Our lawn looks like a wildfire hit it, dead, dead, dead (cinch bugs). So we're going to have it resodded and I'm thinking bahia instead of floratam. I don't want to use pesticides/chemicals and so floratam is out.

I would really like to hear from people who have a bahia lawn. Good or bad.

Denial doesn't work, I've tried that for the last 3 months and the lawn is still dead. So it needs to be done soon before cold weather (ha).


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We have a Bahia lawn. Some of it is weeds but it is mostly grass. I figure that once mowed it is all lawn anyway. I don't use fertilizer or pesticides and I don't water the grass. High points, it is more drought resistant. It will look dead when it does not get water, but it will come back. Downside, some people don't like the seed heads. It also looks different and feels different under the feet.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 7:26PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

I've had several in the past and favor them over St. Augustine because they are not water hogs and other than mole crickets being problematic during wet season they don't let weeds take hold like St. Augustine does. The other down-side during the rainy season is that you may have to mow twice a week to keep growth under control or you'll quickly have a jungle problem.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 7:41PM
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gardencpa is right - her lawn is beautiful right now . But it took plenty of time and plenty of rain to get there . She also has the perfect soil for Bahia .

Bahia will turn brown every winter . That's just the nature of this variety . Bahia is good against Tropical sod web worms . They much prefer St. Augustine .
Unfortunately , there is no such thing as a weed free green lush lawn without a little extra care . There are now plenty of organic lawn care products available .

It really is important to do soil tests first - before you do anything else . Bahiagrass prefers a pH of 5.0 - 6.0 . UF states : "It is not recommended that soil be in excess of pH 6.0 for bahiagrass ."

Try this link for more detailed info --

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida Lawn Establishment

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 6:54AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

It may prefer a pH of 5.0-6.0 but in my experience it's so hearty that a higher pH isn't a problem. When I lived in Brandon I seeded my back yard, almost an acre, with Bahia and within 15 months had a beautiful yard, pH 6.8.

It sure doesn't look green in the winter like St. Augustine, but it doesn't require water either, something we're soon going to be short of....

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 7:33AM
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You can not kill Bahia lawns, they root quite deeply, we have always had Bahia, yes you will get weeds, some can be controlled, mostly the broad leafed ones, also in winter mine goes completely brown, I never water, because it will come back as soon as the rains come, I feed mine right before the rainy season begins, I also spray the lawn, with triazicide, for lawn insects, right before a good rain.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 9:42AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

I have a small area of Pensacola Bahia that I started from seed & I like its toughness & it tolerates shade fairly well.

I don't see any mention of overseeding w/ Winter rye during the cooler months - I've done that for the past few years & really like the results - not only does it make a lush, soft green lawn during Winter, but it enriches the soil after it dies back.

I don't treat w/ anything - just throw on some compost & alfalfa meal every so often. & I'm not fussy, so there're lots of other things mixed in. I use a mulching mower as well.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 10:14AM
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you guys are so great, I really appreciate your first hand knowledge. The first thing I learned from the sod people who came to estimate is to say "buh-HAY-uh".

one thing we're trying to find is a residential lawn of bahia to look at and walk on, hard to find in my area.

thanks for your input. I have read that it grows like crazy when watered or rained on. that's a positive to me. And I've read that they aren't as susceptible to pests as St. Aug. However your comment that they DON'T let weeds in like St. Aug surprises me. I've read that it's harder to keep weeds out of bahia because St. Aug can be treated with herbicides unlike bahia. That is not an issue for us since we DON'T want to use chemicals.
In fact what we'd really like is a mixed yard of weeds and grass. Had one in Naples and never sprayed. Had wedelia, some St. Aug and other weeds. Looked fine.

thanks for that info. we'll check out the Ph. we've already been told to test our water (well irrigation) since bahia is not good with saline water.

that is valuable info about triazicide. one concern we have about bahia is that we could be importing fire ants because it is untreated and coming from what is basically a sandy based cow pasture.

Yes! to the idea of rye seeding. the sod people told us that bahia needs to be reseeded once a year to keep new plants coming since each plant lives only 5 years.

Bottomline: we continue to gather information. Something else I've heard is that it is hard to mow, dulls the blades very quickly.

So far I've only heard positive comments here. Doesn't anyone HATE their bahia lawn?

Thanks again


    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 2:32PM
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Just also keep in mind that Bahia doesn't like the shade. Otherwise I love it because it is very tough, whether there is a drought or a freeze, it always bounces back.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 6:36PM
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Gatormom is suffering from turf envy.... :o) Mary likes my grass.

I don't know what the ph of my soil is but I guess it is the right stuff. I do like the look of the over seeded rye in the winter but with an acre or more of lawn it isn't really practical for us.

Most of the grass was here and neglected for several years and then we just sodded up near the house. It all looks fine, weeds and all.

You are going to have a time finding residential Bahia lawns because they have gone out of fashion. They will be coming back though.

St. Augustine at its prime sure is pretty and Bu-hay-uh (I like that) is just kind of plain Jane. I'll take the plain Jane though. It suits.

Good luck in your search.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 6:55PM
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We have a bahia lawn and we hate it. Mainly because even when the grass itself doesn't need mowing you still have to mow it because of the stupid seedheads.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 7:17PM
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We have bahia & like it. The only thing I've recently noticed is alot of clover in some spots. Can a weed & feed,
(like scott's turf builder?) be applied? I would love to catch it before it takes over the whole lawn.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 9:34PM
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>>In fact what we'd really like is a mixed yard of weeds and grass. Had one in Naples and never sprayed. Had wedelia, some St. Aug and other weeds. Looked fine.

I don't fertilize, water or use pesticides. I just spread some bahia seeds during the rainy season. This doesn't give me the golf course lawn, there are always weeds, but I've found the bahia survives the dry season here better than the St. Augustine, grows well in sun or shade and doesn't pop up where I don't want it like St. Augustine does. It does have trouble fighting our weeds - like wedelia - but it fills in bare spots nicely and if you're doing seed instead of sod, it's easy and cheap to just keep reseeding. Not cheap to just keep resodding.
If you've got a lawn like mine, which it sounds like you do, then I'd go with bahia seed and buy a really big bucket of it, so you can reseed next year. As you keep doing it each rainy season, the yard looks better and better.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 8:32PM
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jkrup44(9B FL)

I have a bahia lawn. I like it. It does get weeds easily, but I don't mind much. I occasionally fut down some bahia weed and feed which limits them for a while. The seed heads cause me to mow more often that I would with other grasses. Even when its short, the seed heads shoot up and make it require mowing. Great drought tolerance. Low maintenence except the mowing.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 11:25AM
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jkrup44(9B FL)

I would also add that I think the color is nicer than st. augustine; it is a lighter shade of green. If I could do things all over again, I would still pick bahia grass.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 4:10PM
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Thanks again everyone for taking the time to share your knowledge.

The photo really helps too, jrzgurl.

Susannah-I wish we could seed but our dead St. Aug. is 4 to 5 inches thick. I tried seeding some bare patches but it all needs to be physically removed. Bleh.
Decision so far: yes to bahia if our irrigation isn't too salty. However, now we are thinking of doing more plantscape and less lawn. That is: doing bahia grass for the front road edge, swale and walkways and landscaping every other area with plants and mulch (lots of butterfly plants of course).

thanks to ritaweeda (is that your real name?) and jkrup and ktmeyer too.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 7:46PM
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Denise - That sounds like a fantastic plan.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 8:36AM
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manature(9B Sanford, FL)

Denise, we had bahia at our last 2 houses, and I know I'm late to the discussion, but I wanted to add my pros and cons. Like everyone has said, bahia is tougher, impossible to kill, very drought tolerant, and overall, a much better grass for Florida than St. Augustine.

The only downside is the 2 foot tall seed heads which DO need mowing, even when the rest of the lawn is fine. However, in zone 9, you only have problems with those over the summer. And if you can stand to ignore them for 2 weeks (skip one weekend mowing), you won't need to reseed your lawn each year, as it will happily do it all by itself. Other than deliberately skipping a week or so to let it reseed, you will have to mow the lawn every weekend during the high growth seasons. When it is getting enough rain, it grows fast.

But when comparing it to St. Augustine grass, it wins hands down every time, except for those who prefer the LOOK of St. Augustine lawns. With the growing water crisis in our state, and the growing acceptance of the fact that tons of lawn fertilizer and other chemicals are bad for all of us (for lots of reasons), I say if you have to have a lawn at all, go bahia. (And your sod people are IS pronounced buh-HAY-uh.)

One other thing...there ARE a couple of other choices out there. We have a lawn on one side of our house that has been taken over by what I believe to be centipede grass. It is very pretty. Grows low to the ground like St. Augustine, but has a finer blade. Doesn't seed. Doesn't need extra fert or chemicals. Is very lush and green, stays green all winter, and doesn't seem to suffer overly much in dry weather. I've never seen it for sale anywhere, but we had a large area of it at another house, and it was equally trouble free. I tried to learn more about it online, but can't find any pictures that look just like it. And the pictures of centipede that I found did NOT look like it.

My neighbor, who is also a Florida native (hey, that means there are TWO of us in Sanford!!) says that it is the same grass they had when she was growing up (she's in her 70's) and that they all called it centipede, too. And it was the ONLY lawn people had in her day, before the introduction of St. Augustine. So if your sod people have any info on that, even if it is called something else by now, it might be worth checking out, too. It doesn't grow tall so doesn't need mowing as frequently as bahia.

Just one more thought to cloud the issue even more, haha.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 8:43AM
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Yes , I do have turf envy of gardencpa's beautiful lawn . I'd love to turn my cows loose on it ! I'd love even more to have my pastures look half as good as her lawn .

Bahia is the predominate pasture grass in Florida . It can really take the traffic , is drought tolerant , is nematode resistant when healthy , and provides excellent food for grazing animals .

It does turn brown all winter or during a drought but bounces right back . We overseed pastures with annual rye grass for the cattle and to add organic matter to the soil .

A quote from the link : " Bahiagrass is generally less troubled by insects, diseases, and nematodes than other Florida lawngrasses . "
What's not to love ?

I finally found the link I wanted you to read Denise . I think it might help answer any questions you still have .

Here is a link that might be useful: Bahiagrass for Florida Lawns

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 1:12PM
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Love my much easier than St. Augustine. It's not as pretty as St. Auggie, but it's much more manageable. I am curious about overseeding with winter rye, though. Is that OK to do?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Was searching for info on bahia and ran across this forum. I joined because I want to share my situation. I live in an area of deep sand (think beach sand), pH @5.5, we average 26 inches of rain annually. This region has lots of oak/hickory forest and little glades of native bunch grasses.

I tried transplanting some sprigs of zoysia grass, but despite nearly constant watering, could not keep it alive in this sand.

I have a bahia patch that came up naturally in the back yard in an area of dense all-day shade. It seems to make a nice turf where nothing else will in the sand. I haven't watered it at all, nor fertilized it, yet it seems healthy and is definitely spreading by rhizomes. I am noticing a few other small patches have started up nearby, I'm guessing from seed.

I have noticed the seed heads, but they were sparse (maybe because of the shade?) and really didn't require any special attention other than mowing once or twice.

I'm transplanting some of the sod to my front yard where I hope to get a similar patch growing. I'll post some pics when I get a chance.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:18PM
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The "Argentine" variety has much fewer seed heads. It's more expensive than the "Pensacola" variety, though. When I bought my current house (a foreclosure), the side yard off the kitchen was covered with lawn debris, and there was nothing underneath but sand and a few scrawny sprigs of St. Augustine. I seeded with Argentine and it's been a great lawn going into its fourth growing season, now. Almost never see a seed head and haven't had to reseed or do anything with it really. There's a large honeybell tree on the far side and the lawn seems happy with the citrus fertilzer that I spread around the tree and beyond the drip line into the lawn. If you water once a week it doesn't turn brown in the winter, but still stops growing.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Hope you like to mow. I've HATED every single bahiagrass lawn I've had. Then again, I absolutely hate mowing and edging and refuse to do it any more. I hire a lawn service and with my floratam it costs $60/mo for my half acre lot (the best money I've ever spent, by the way). That's two mows or $30 a cut. It looks fine and doesn't get too long except a few weeks a year.

If I had Bahia and wanted to keep the ugly seedheads down, it would have to be mowed twice a week in summer. It would be very expensive to have this service that often.

It also looks terrible in the winter.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:03AM
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When would be the best time to reseed Bahia? After putting in 3 St. Augustine Lawns, we finally went with Bahia 2 years ago. I've noticed a lot of clover and some bare patches. I have a Pest Control Company that fertilizes, etc, but I don't think whatever they are doing is working. Does anyone have a suggestion on the best fertilizer or weed preventative for Bahia? Would appreciate any information....Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:35AM
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