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Bahia Grass Control In Lawns And Turf

Bahia Grass Control In Lawns And Turf

Bahia grass control in lawns and turf

Bahia grass is an invader!

Bahia grass is an invasive weed in the southern United States. No matter what officials may say. Sure, it can help to control erosion along highway right of ways, like almost any aggressive grass or vine species, but what is the cost of the cure? Hundreds of thousands of man hours are spent annually to maintain and control this weed, and the cost of such controls would easily offset the wiser choice of establishing other grasses for erosion control.

Bahia grass control options:

  • You can live with it, and mow it at least once a week during the growing season.
  • You can control Bahia grass by suppressing it’s growth with a number of different agents.
  • You can kill it.
  • You can prevent it.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Bahia grass control: Living with Bahia grass

If you live with the problem, you will need to mow pretty often, since at certain times of the year this invasive grass will grow more than a foot in under a week! Mowing twice each week is what I would recommend. The advantage of this course of action is that it allows for doing nothing, the disadvantage is that you will need to mow more often, or learn to live with the tall grass.

Controlling Bahia grass

It is possible to control the growth rate of Bahia grass using chemicals. There are a number of chemicals which can accomplish this when used in combination with other chemicals, and some that are labeled specifically as preventative growth regulators. These “pgr’s” are expensive to use. There is however one chemical which will do the job with a low dose, and at minimal cost. It is glyphosate. Glyphosates are made under several brand names, many of which are labeled for the suppression of Bahia grass, and do a great job of doing just that. The dosage is generally 2 to 6 ounces of 41% glyphosate per acre. At this rate, damage to other grasses is minimal to non existent. This combination will give seed head suppression for several months. The lower level of treatment will require re treatment after a couple of months, but will give a lower level of phytotoxicity, or yellowing. The highest rate will give season long control, but will cause a higher level of yellowing. The advantage is, that you get to lower the number of times you mow, and avoid the problems of erosion, and weed invasion that can occur when you kill off the majority of your Bahia grass turf. The disadvantage, is that you do not kill the Bahia grass. This however is offset by the weakening of the Bahia which allows other grasses to catch up, which might later allow you to actually kill the invasive grass without totally destroying your turf.

Killing Bahia grass

Why not kill the Bahia and be done with it? Well, that is an option. If you plan to kill it, there are products available such as the metsulfuron ureas that will do the job selectively. If you plan to do this, I recommend extensive forethought. If you kill the Bahia grass, and do not replace it with another grass, and it is your primary turf, the result will be grass burs. You must take care to use only the proper ratio, over the exact area, or you run the risk of salting out the good grasses. You should plan on seeding, fertilizing, and irrigating as soon as the label directions allow, in order to prevent the growth of grass burs and other weeds. If you do not do this, you will have grass burs in areas that have become bare. It is a fact, grass burs won’t grow where there is competition. You must make the soil able to produce competition for them, to prevent them.

Preventing Bahia grass

The best way to control Bahia grass, or any other weedy grasses, the best way to deal with any weeds, or for that matter, any pest is to prevent it from gaining a foothold! If you avoid, or prevent a problem, you don’t have to deal with it. How can you prevent Bahia from taking hold in your yard?

  1. The number one means of transporting weeds in lawns is dirty mowers. If you clean your mower before you mow your lawn, you can prevent the majority of seed transfer problems. If you have a Bahia grass right of way, mow your lawn while it is clean, and before you mow your right of way, or wash it between. This simple act will prevent the majority of transfers. It should be mentioned that you can not legally perform a chemical treatment on a highway right of way without a license in that category.
  2. The next thing that you can do, is to develop a healthy lawn. A healthy lawn will prevent a host of problems, and will prevent weeds from getting a foothold. Think of your lawn as an organism. If the organism is healthy, it resists disease and parasites. Weeds are parasites!

Aquatic Weed Control Types

Aquatic Weed Control Types

There are several aquatic weed control types and methods.Prevention is always best, find out more about the others below.

Aquatic weed prevention

Lake weed prevention is the best form of aquatic weed control. This is true of everything from the flu to auto wrecks: Prevention is always better than control or treatment after the fact!

Aquatic weed control using prevention starts with clean equipment.

The very best method for controlling lake and pond weeds, especially those of non native origin such as Hydrilla, Water Hyacinth, Giant Salvinia, and many others, is to prevent them from getting a start in your pond or lake.

Methods of aquatic weed movement

There may be some methods of trans-location which are beyond your control, such as water coming onto your property from other bodies of water upstream, or movement of animal life such as ducks, geese, cranes, and herons who could be carrying hitch hikers, but the highest percentage of exotic aquatic trans-location occurs through human help.

This can be intentional, such as planting some of those nice little blue flowers someone saw at another lake, or adding a little hydrilla for good bass cover. This is never a good idea. In the first place it is illegal, and in the second, those cute little flowers, or that nice cover for bass, could soon engulf your lake!

It can be unintentional, such as not cleaning your boat, propeller, trailer, live well, and other fishing gear after a trip to an infested lake. It is best to consider all lakes as though they are infested, and clean accordingly! While some public lakes do not have these problems, it is still a good idea to do a thorough cleaning before moving to the next location. You should also require anyone else boating or fishing on your private impound to do the same. These methods will not guarantee a lake free of exotic invaders, but they will help you to do all that is in your power to prevent them.

On the surface, biological aquatic weed control seems like a great idea. It sometimes is. Biological control seems to be the “green” thing to do, but I have a few things that cause me to question this method.

Biological Aquatic Weed Control

  • The controls are limited. There are a few weevils, that eat a couple of plants, there is an oriental fish that eats almost any vegetation, but so far, that’s about it.Although all sanctioned biological controls have been thoroughly researched by the top scientists in the field, things can still go wrong.
  • Changing weather conditions, and interaction with other species over extended periods of time could bring about a completely unexpected chain of events, culminating with a new ecological disaster!
  • If the new control is a natural enemy of the exotic plant we are trying to stop, and something changes, you now have two invasive predators in the environment instead of just one. What if the new entity decides it likes to eat sweet potatoes, corn, or soybeans more than what it was brought in to control?
  • In most states, the only legal grass carp for controlling aquatic weeds, are sterile grass carp. This is because they consume so much vegetation, and having an extra one or two could lead to a lake devoid of any vegetation. Accidents can still happen. The accidental, or even intentional introduction of a pair of non sterile fish into our waters could spawn the cleanest, but deadest fishing lakes in the world. The escape of the sterile form into a river could do immense damage as well.
  • If the lake weed problem is in the early stage, there is hope for eradicating it. Try using the chemical method early, and often until the problem is gone.
  • Continue to use the chemical treatments for periodic maintenance, and make adjustments to the environment such as liming if needed, and fertilization. If aquatic weeds can’t get sunlight, they can’t grow. Proper fertility will help to keep the proper level of suspended algae growth.
  • If mechanical lake weed control is needed, it should be done with the least disturbance possible, to limit fragmentation. The plants should be cut smoothly.
  • The fragments should be harvested from the water. Every fragment is a potential plant, so remove them all.

There are other concerns as well, but in a completely controlled setting, the desired effect could be gained. We should exercise extreme caution when using this method.

Mechanic Aquatic Weed Control

Mechanic lake weed control is the physical removal of a plant, or part of a plant from the lake. One methods for controlling lake weeds is physical control. The cutting, harvesting, pulling, or rolling down of the weeds by mechanical means. Mechanical, or physical control is useful in several situations. Physical removal is not always a good thing. Many times, mechanical means fragmentation which can lead to problems.

Aquatic vegetative reproduction.

Exotic weeds, and even some native plants often reproduce vegetatively. This is just another way of saying that pieces of the plant can, and do develop roots, or feeding tentacles when broken away from the mother plant. This is especially true of aquatic plants.
Many lake and pond weeds reproduce from fragments at a rate of 50% or higher. Imagine this: If you have 1 hydrilla plant in your lake, and you chop it up into 100 pieces, the chances are very high, that you will have 50 of the fragments survive and take root. Multiply that by 1000, and you can begin to understand the problem!

Now, the use of mechanical controls can be good, and sometimes are the only means of bringing about a pond or lake that is clean enough for recreational use, but it should be avoided if possible.

Chemical aquatic weed control

Many people fear chemicals, but when it comes to aquatic weed control, it is often the best option for the pond or lake, and it is often the most environmentally sound method as well. If you choose to use this method of aquatic weed control, there are a few things you should know:

It is vital to follow label directions. In fact, it is a federal crime not to follow the label directions. There are contact herbicides, and systemic herbicides. Contact herbicides kill only the part of the plant that they contact. Systemic herbicides work through the plant to get to the root. They need sufficient chemical to contact the plant for sufficient time to have the maximum effect.

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