Bahiagrass Guide – Paspalum notatum

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is a perennial warm season grass that is well adapted to most types of soil. In fact, it grows extremely well on sandy or infertile soils. It was introduced from Brasil in 1914 as a pasture grass, but it quickly became a low maintenance lawn grass.

A great characteristic of this grass is that is able to extend its root system several feet down into the ground. It spreads by stolons. This is probably the number one grass if you are looking for a drought tolerant warm season grass. Unfortunately this is a type of grass that grows best in Florida and southern California and can not be used if you leave in colder regions like New England.

Bahiagrass Properties

Bahiagrass can be grown from seed or sod. From seed is much easier and it is also cheaper. The best time to re-seed is in the Spring or early Summer. It is not recommended to seed in the Fall because Bahiagrass have less time to develop deep roots before the colder months arrive. However, applying seed in the Fall is also a viable option if this is the only time we can re-seed. The main difference between seeding a lawn in the Spring and Fall is that during the Spring time, the grass has a better chance to grow and develop deeper roots.

Regardless if we grow from sod or seed, this type of grass tolerates drought, diseases, and insect damage. It grows really well, especially during the summer months, and does not tolerate well heavy foot traffic, as well as shade. It does however, produce a lot of seed heads during the growing season, from early Spring until late Fall.

Chemical Or Organic Fertilizer?

Although Bahiagrass does not require much fertilizer, it can be applied any time of the year if you use organic fertilizer. On a newly seeded lawn the application of chemical fertilizer is not recommended because of the nutrient leaching and runoff. Organic fertilizer on the other hand does not need water to be decomposed. Microbes are the ones that will turn the fertilizer into available nutrients to the grass.

Bahiagrass

Seedhead at MISC Piiholo, Maui – Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

Following the proper cultural practices like mowing, watering or general maintenance will prevent most weeds from growing well when having an established lawn. Chemical pesticides can kill Bahiagrass entirely, and generally will not control the development of weed seeds. An organic approach is always recommended because it encourages a healthy population of microbes in the soil. It increases the organic matter content. It improves the cation exchange capacity, and it also makes the soil more porous.

Do you grow bahiagrass on your lawn? Share your experience

Summary
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Bahiagrass Guide - Paspalum notatum
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Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is a perennial warm season grass that is well adapted to most types of soil. It grows well in direct sun.
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J Gil Organic
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