Bahaigrass A possible lawn grass choice

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 08:56 AM.

The ability of Bahaigrass to grow well on infertile, dry soils and its resistance to most pests has made it increasingly popular with Floridians. For most inland areas, Bahai is a good choice especially if you are interested in a low maintenance lawn. Unfortunately, if you live along the coast line, Bahaigrass is not for you due to its low tolerance to salt spray.

Bahaigrass needs a fairly acidic soil. The pH should be between 5.5 and 6.2. In alkaline soil, important minor elements are tied up in chemical forms that the grass cannot use, causing it to turn yellow.

Four Bahai grass varieties are commonly available- Argentina, Pensacola, Paraguayan, and Common. Most people think Argentina is best for lawns. Its dark green blades are long, narrow, and closely spaced. It produces a dense sod with good color. Argentina responds well to fertilization and it is more disease resistant than the other varieties. Pensacola is the second best variety, and is often seen along Florida roadsides.

Bahaigrass forms an extensive, deep root system. It sustains better than other grasses in fertile, sandy soils and does not require high inputs of water or fertilization. This makes it a good choice for home sites on large lots or acreage, or anywhere there is no irrigation system. Bahai prefers acidic soils and does not form excessive thatch. It may be grown from seed which abundant and relatively cheap, or established from sod.  Bahai may take time to germinate and cover may need to be provided. This grass can reseed itself from the seed heads it produces, especially during the long days of summer. It has relatively few diseases and insect problems making it a great choice for most Florida homes.

Disadvantages

Bahaigrass forms tall, unsightly seed heads throughout the spring, summer, and fall months that many find objectionable. This necessitates regular mowing to keep the stalks from becoming too tall. The seed stems are tough and can wear out mower blades, requiring them to be sharpened frequently Bahaigrass does not grow well in High-pH soils, such as those found in coastal areas. High pH tends to cause yellowing of leaf tissue due to iron deficiency. Bahaigrass grows in an open growth habitat, which can result in weed encroachment into sparse areas. It has a course leaf texture and provides less cushioning for recreational activities than some other species. Bahaigrass does best in full sun.

For more information on Bahaigrass contact the Gulf County Extension Service at 639-3200 or visit our website:  http://gulf.ifas.ufl.edu or www.http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu and see Publication ENH6, ENH962, ENH979, CIR427.



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