What’s wrong with bahiagrass? Depends who you ask.
Bahiagrass is a coarse grass that was introduced into the U.S. in the 1930’s as a forage grass for cattle. It’s drought tolerant and does well in poor and even hard-packed soils, so some people use it as turf grass. It’s also used for roadside erosion control in some areas. So it has its uses.
But boy, is it ugly.
The stuff is coarse and weedy-looking, it has an open canopy and does not fill in well as turf, and it grows about two feet in a week so it’s a devil to keep mowed if you do choose—for whatever reason—to grow a bahiagrass lawn. Plus, it has a strange and unappealing Y-shaped seed head that stands out like a sore thumb in a lawn.
How To Get Rid Of Bahiagrass In Central Georgia
Around here, bahiagrass grows wild in pastures, vacant lots and forgotten areas, where it tends to take over. It goes to seed in about half the time as most other grasses, and spreads like the dickens. So you can imagine that bahiagrass control is a constant battle. Bahiagrass is super tough and hard to get rid of, but if you’re really determined and willing to be in it for the long haul, here is what we suggest.
What Kills Bahiagrass?
Once it’s established, getting rid of bahiagrass typically calls for a lot of chemical work. Which type of chemicals you can use on it depends on the season and on what type of lawn it’s growing in.
As weeds go, bahiagrass is a really tricky one. It tends to die back during the cool season, but it’s a perennial grass, so it comes back every year. When it gets cold it will die off but shoots right back up in spring.During the cool season you can spray with Roundup if the surrounding turf is completely dormant. If it’s not you’ll kill the turf as well.
In the warm season, if you have a Bermuda grass lawn, we kill bahiagrass with MSMA. We typically treat it with 2-3 sprayings. For zoysia or centipede grass or other types of turf we use a product called Mansion, which requires 3-4 sprayings.
Bahiagrass is very aggressive as well as widespread, so you may not be able to prevent it completely. But we highly recommend taking preventative measures as your first line of defense in bahiagrass control.
Typically, that means spraying regularly. We usually treat yards 7 times per year for most types of turfgrass. In early spring we put down a preemergent, which takes care of weed seeds left in the soil over winter.
Another thing to be careful of is to avoid introducing bahiagrass seeds into your lawn. Weed seeds can drift a long way, and you may not be able to keep them out entirely. But be careful who you let onto your lawn. Some people will mow a bahia field and then go mow your lawn. That is almost guaranteed to distribute bahiagrass seeds all over your lawn. That is one reason why at T.Lake, we clean every piece of equipment between properties.
What About Organic Bahiagrass Prevention Methods?
As much as we respect the organic approach, that’s a tough one. The first step is to pray really, really hard. Beyond that, you might try vinegar solutions. White vinegar, diluted ½ and ½ with water, may help put a dent in your bahiagrass, but you have to be vigilant and get right on it.
Beyond that, it’s really important to keep your lawn mowed frequently enough, whether you’re using organic methods or not. Bahia does have a life expectancy and will eventually die out if you keep knocking it down every week and don’t allow it to go to seed. Most homeowners don’t mow often enough. We recommend weekly mowing for bahiagrass prevention.
Bahiagrass Control In Central Georgia
Proper control of bahiagrass is beyond the scope of the typical homeowner—not just because of the constant vigilance it requires, but because the chemicals needed to control it require a professional applicator’s license. Most people we know, though, would rather not do it themselves anyway.
If you would like to get rid of bahiagrass the easy way, why not give us a call? You can reach us online, or call our Macon people at 478-750-7733, or our East Dublin office at 478-272-3878. We’ll be happy to take the job off your hands.