Bahia Grass Sod for The North Florida Landscape
Bahia (Paspalum notatum)
Bahia grass sod was introduced from Brazil in the early 1900’s. It was originally used as a pasture grass in the southeastern United States.
Pros and Cons:
Bahia grass sod is tolerant of a wide range of soils and is not affected by infertile soils such as sand. However it grows best in full sun and slightly acid soil, if grown in alkaline soils iron chlorosis becomes a problem and must be treated.
Bahia grows best in full sun but some varieties of Bahia will tolerate some shady conditions as long as it gets full sun for part of the day
All varieties of Bahia sod are considered to be not salt tolerant. That includes both direct and indirect salt spray and should be avoided where these conditions will be a factor to consider in your North Florida Landscape.
Bahia develops an extensive root system making it drought tolerant and requiring relatively little water on an as needed basis to maintain a healthy lawn in the landscape environment. Bahia grass sod is the most drought tolerant of all varieties of sod for the North Florida Landscape. After new sod has been established water only on an as needed basis applying 3/4 of an inch of water per application ( 465 gallons per 1000 s.f.)
All varieties of Bahiagrass sod will develop coarse thick seed heads from May to November that rise up over the foliage and will require frequent mowing to keep it attractive.
Mow at 3-4 inches in height every 7-14 days during growing season taking care to never remove more than one third of the height of the grass blade. Always use a sharp mower blade when cutting Bahia as its thick stems and coarse blades will tend to shred on a dull blade causing unnecessary stress to the grass sod.
Bahia sod makes a durable grass lawn able to withstand moderate traffic.
Bahia grass sod does not require an extensive fertilization method to thrive but will still need a minimum application of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 16-4-8 twice a year once in the spring and again in late summer when used as a lawn grass sod.
Pest Problems and Management Practices:
Bahia grass has fewer insects, diseases and nematode problems than any other variety of lawn grass sod for North Florida but is not completely pest free. All varieties of Bahia can suffer from mole cricket damage, and can occasionally be bothered by species of lawn caterpillars. Bahia grass sod is also considered susceptible to brown patch.
Disease Problems and Management Practices:
Bahia grass sod is considered susceptible to dollar spot. A light application of Nitrogen (1/2 lb per 1000 s.f.) should encourage the grass to outgrow symptoms without further chemical treatment being required.
Bahia grass lawns can be established by sod or by seed. Sod can be put down year round in North Florida and seeding is most effective when Bahia grass seed is sewn in spring or early summer.
Bahia grass sod is a good choice where a low maintenance grass is desired and a slightly less visually appealing grass is acceptable. Great for areas where drought tolerance is required and in areas where soil erosion is problematic.
There are several varieties of bahia grass sod Each variety varies slightly on the above characteristics but still holds the same general tendencies.