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 on a variety of soils. The grass seeds prolifically and spreads into turf areas.
Unfortunately, it has a rough, unattractive appearance that can invade green lawns. Control of bahiagrass is important in lawns to minimize competition. Bahiagrass control is achieved with a two-prong method of cultural and chemical means.
Recognizing Bahia Grass
The Y-shaped seed heads it produces easily identify bahiagrass. Unfortunately, the species is at its most invasive by the time you see the seeds.
Control of bahiagrass rests on identification of the plant. The grass 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 6 to 8 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.
There are numerous chemicals that can kill bahiagrass. The perennial grass is controlled with pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicides. In a vegetable garden, it is best to use a pre-emergent chemical and wait to plant. Bahiagrass control in garden beds is achieved with spot spraying of a chemical like Glyphosate. Any product with Atrazine is effective in lawns as a pre-emergent treatment. You can kill bahiagrass with Imazaquin in any setting except where food items are grown. Follow up spraying may be required with any chemical.
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. If it is applied 3 times in 7- to 10-day intervals, the bahiagrass will die. Any application of chemical treatments should be consistent with the product’s 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 repeated applications of treatments. Be sure to read the packaging to make sure the product will not adversely affect your turfgrass species.