Bahia Grass: Everything You Need to Know

The PropertyClub Team
Nov 7th 2020
Bahiagrass 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 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. Bahiagrass is a grass native to South America and is favored due to its resistant nature and fast growth. Bahiagrass can handle hot climates and still manages to look good. It also produces healthy, thriving lawns in a wide range of soil conditions.

Planting Bahia Grass Seed

First, you will want to remove any weeds and existing grass from your lawn. Bahiagrass 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. 

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. 

Using a broadcast spreader, spread the Bahiagrass and 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. After seeding, water the lawn with a fine mist and continue to water daily after. Make sure that you are not overwatering, as this can cause soil erosion and wipe away the seeds. 

After the grass germinates in 3-4 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.

When Should Bahia Grass be Planted?

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

Bahiagrass 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. Bahiagrass also has a good tolerance for soil that does not drain well. 

How Long Does It Take Bahiagrass to Grow?

Like many warm-season kinds of grass, it takes a while for Bahiagrass 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, Bahiagrass has a long and dense root system so it can grow in poor soil conditions and handle drought periods very well. 

Bahiagrass 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, Bahiagrass 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.

How Do I Make My Bahia Grass Thicker? 

Bahiagrass 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. Bahiagrass 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. 

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