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?
- 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.
- 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!