Bahia Grass: Everything You Need to Know

By PropertyClub Team
Oct 15th 2022
Bahia grass is a popular type of grass in the southern United States due to its drought resistance and low maintenance. Here's what you need to know about growing and maintaining a bahia grass lawn.

Homeowners who live in the south have to deal with sandy soils and hot temperatures. As such, they need a type of grass that can handle the heat and dry spells. Bahia grass is a grass native to South America and is favored due to its resistant nature and fast growth. Bahia grass can handle hot climates and still manages to look good. It also produces healthy, thriving lawns in a wide range of soil conditions.

hash-markHow to Plant Bahia Grass Seed

1. Prepare and Till Your Lawn

The first step in planting bahia grass seed is preparing your lawn by removing any weeds and existing grass from your lawn. Bahia grass takes a while to establish, so weeds can prevent it from taking root properly. Till the top 2 inches of soil, taking care to remove any rocks, sticks, and clumps of dirt with a rake. 

2. Add Fertilizer

Next, add a layer of fertilizer rich with nitrogen and potassium. If you have a soil testing kit, test the soil and make sure that the pH levels are between 5.5 and 6.5. Add about 1 inch of fertilizers and mix it with the existing soil with the rake. 

3. Spread the Bahia Grass Seed

Now it's time to plan your bahia grass seed. Using a broadcast spreader, spread the grass seed evenly. You'll want to apply 1 pound of seed per 100 square feet of lawn. Rake the soil again to mix the seed and topsoil together in an even mixture.

4. Water the Grass Seed

After seeding your lawn, you need to adequately water the bahia grass seed. It's best to use a fine mist and continue to water daily unless you have heavy rainfall. Make sure that you are not overwatering, as this can cause soil erosion and wipe away the seeds. 

5. Maintain Your Bahia Grass Lawn 

After the grass germinates in 2 to 4 weeks, reduce watering to once or twice a week. You can also apply an additional layer of fertilizer to help with growth. Once the grass has grown to about 3 inches high, you can mow it for the first time. Do not mow it less than 1 ½” and make sure to remove grass clippings from the first mow.

hash-markHow Long Does Bahia Grass Take to Grow?

It takes around 3 to 6 weeks for bahia grass to grow, depending on the soil conditions. Bahia grass is a slow-growing grass that prefers warm soil. If the soil is warm enough for the grass to germinate, it can grow in as little as 3 weeks, but if it's colder it can take bahia grass 4 weeks just to begin germinating.  

hash-markIs Bahia Grass Good For Lawns?

Bahia grass is great for use in lawns in hot and dry climates. It also does well in poor soil conditions. Bahia grass has a deep root system, so it is very drought resistant, even in dry, hard soil such as clay and sand. It has a rough texture and is not as smooth as other grasses that grow in the north, and it grows best when it is exposed to full sunlight and less shade. Bahia grass also has a good tolerance for soil that does not drain well. 

hash-markWhen Should Bahia Grass be Planted?

Bahia grass is a warm-season grass and was imported from South America in the early 20th century. It is most active during the late spring and summer during the hot months. With proper care and the right climate, bahia grass can be a perennial grass that comes back year after year. The best time to plant bahia grass is during the late spring and early summer.  

hash-markHow Long Does It Take Bahiagrass to Grow?

Like many warm-season kinds of grass, it takes a while for bahia grass to establish and germinate. Bahiagrass normally takes about 28 days (4 weeks) to germinate. Since it establishes slowly, it is susceptible to weeds before germination. However, bahia grass has a long and dense root system so it can grow in poor soil conditions and handle drought periods very well. 

Bahia grass is active during the summer months when it turns a bright green. When the cold months come in, the grass goes dormant, and it turns a dark brown or tan color. However, once environmental stressors subside, bahia grass can bounce back quickly. If maintained properly, it will go dormant in the winter and then spring back to life in the summer and start growing again.

hash-markHow Do I Make My Bahia Grass Thicker? 

Bahia grass will thin out over time, so the best way to maintain a thick Bahiagrass lawn is to overseed it to thicken the turf. The best time to overseed is during the spring, a month or two before the hottest part of the year. Bahia grass will not grow properly if you try to plant it during the fall as it won’t have time to establish and will dry out during the winter. 

Bahia grass will also grow thicker if you keep up a regular watering and fertilizer schedule. 

hash-markBahia Grass Bottom Line

Bahia grass is a great choice to use in lawns in the southeastern US as it does well in hot and dry climates. It's also a good choice for sandy soil conditions thanks to its deep root system lets it thrive even in difficult soil conditions. Although it takes a bit of work to establish a bahia grass lawn its well worth it as it looks great and is relatively easy to maintain and care for.