Bahiagrass Control - How To Eradicate Bahiagrass In Your Lawn

Controlling bahiagrass in lawns minimizes competition since bahiagrass tends to seed prolifically and spread into turf areas.

(Image credit: USDA APHIS PPQ - Oxford, North Carolina , USDA APHIS PPQ,

Bahiagrass is most commonly grown as forage but it is sometimes used as erosion control on roadsides and disturbed soils. Bahiagrass has excellent drought tolerance and can be grown in a variety of soils. The grass seeds quit prolifically and spreads into turf areas.

Unfortunately, bahiagrass has a rough, unattractive appearance that can spoil the look of green lawns. Bahiagrass control is achieved with a two-prong method of cultural and chemical means.

Recognizing Bahia Grass

The Y-shaped seed heads make it easy to identify bahiagrass. Unfortunately, by the time you see the seeds, the species is at its most invasive stage.

Bahiagrass is mat-forming and spreads by rhizomes. It is a light green color, coarse, and spreads in tufts or clumps. Efforts to eradicate bahiagrass in sod is foiled by its consistent use in warm-season climates. A useful bahiagrass preventer would be the suspension of its use in open settings.

Bahia Grass Control

A natural bahiagrass preventer is with cultural methods. Bahiagrass does not tolerate shade and high nitrogen soils.

When the grass is found in garden beds, it may be hand-pulled, but you need to be careful to get all the rhizomes. Organic mulch over six to eight layers of wet newspaper is also useful to smother the plants.

Consistent lawn mowing prevents the formation of seed heads and the further spread of the plant. Annual fertilization and proper watering techniques will keep sod healthy and help eradicate bahiagrass.

Perennial bahiagrass can be controlled with organic pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicides. In a vegetable garden, it is best to use an organic pre-emergent product and wait to plant. Follow up spraying may be required.

Bahiagrass is a perennial grass and manual removal is difficult because of the rhizomes. The best way to kill bahiagrass in most lawns is by applying a product with MSMA, an organic arsenical herbicide. If it is applied three times in seven to ten day intervals, the bahiagrass will die.

Any application of organic herbicide treatments should be consistent with the products' instructions. The best time to apply post-emergent products on lawns is when the selected species has just begun to green up after winter.

Control of bahiagrass requires vigilance and probably, repeated applications of treatments. Be sure to read all packaging carefully for safety and to make sure the product will not adversely affect your turfgrass species.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.