How to Get Rid of Bahia Grass: 7 Actionable Tips & Tricks

Are you racking your brain searching for how to get rid of Bahia grass? Struggling with how to remove this aggressive weed without killing everything else in your backyard?

It’s a real headache knowing what to try next to eliminate Bahia grass and you’ve reached the end of your tether. This so called grass is taking over, even invading your flower beds, and you’re not happy.

But how to fix the problem of Bahia Grass? It’s tough. And we’re not just talking about the plant itself! Getting rid of this weed needs a solid plan of action to remove it.

Read on to discover the 7 actionable tips & tricks to control Bahia grass in your lawn.

What is Bahia Grass?

Bahia grass

Originating from South America, Bahia grass was imported into the United States of America in the early twentieth century. Because of its tenacious qualities (Bahia Grass loves drought, and poor soils), it was considered the perfect plant to populate roadsides and highways.

Southeastern United States such as Florida, Georgia, and Alabama struggle through hot summers with little rainfall, making it hard for other grass species to thrive.

Imagine what treasure importers’ thought they’d found! One that could look green all year round, resist the heat and put up with the odd flood.

How to Identify Bahia Grass

Anatomy of paspalum notatum

Now, Bahia grass is not pretty. There is nothing refined about this grass! Fast growing, weedy looking, and course, a devil to keep under control.

Its most identifying feature is the 2-pronged Y-shaped seed head sticking out incongruously above the rest of your lawn like a sore thumb.

Light green in color, Bahia grass creeps along on thick rhizomes. Underground, the horizontally growing rhizome stem puts out lateral shoots, thus extending its reach in every direction. Together with its prolific production of seed heads, Bahia grass is one determined weed.

Bahia grass is often confused with other similar-looking weeds. Weeds such as crabgrass, Bermuda grass, and centipede grass will need different treatments to eradicate. Take a look at this article on how to get rid of weeds in lawn for more advice on these particular pests. 

How to Eliminate Bahia Grass Without Damaging Your Lawn

Dragonfly on a tip of bahia grass plant

Being a perennial weed, Bahia grass is persistent. Unless you remove all the rhizomes from your lawn, this weed will continue to grow. And this is the problem. There really are only two ways to get rid of Bahia grass – dig it out, or use a herbicide.

Let’s take a look at both methods and take you through actionable steps to eliminate Bahia grass without damaging your healthy lawn.

6 Steps to Using Herbicide on Bahia Grass

Realistically, if you are trying to get rid of the weed in your existing lawn, you will want to use a herbicide. In a large area, you’ll find it almost impossible to remove all the rhizomes by digging them out. Read on for 6 effective steps to stop Bahia grass in its tracks.

Step 1: Post-Emergent Herbicide Application

You want to apply post emergent herbicide to the weed in late spring, or early May time. The Bahia grass is beginning to appear with fresh, new shoots and by spraying with herbicide you will be able to kill growth quickly.

Choose a chemical such as Metsulfuron. An effective herbicide known to control weeds in cereal crops, the weed-killer wipes out weeds, yet does not harm turf.

Step 2: Repair Bare Spots

Once you’ve removed the Bahia grass from your lawn, you will be left with bare spots. For best results, choose plugs, rather than seed to repair, as weeds will quickly populate those empty patches.

Speed is important, and by encouraging plugs to mature quickly, you are cutting out the opportunity for weeds to infiltrate the bare soil. 

Step 3: Reapply Herbicide

This is an important step to remember. By reapplying the same herbicide, between 4 to 6 weeks later, you make certain to kill all the seeds, rhizomes and Bahia grass left lurking in the turf.

But don’t be taken in if you can’t see any evidence of the weed above ground. Spraying for a second time is crucial to the success of your efforts. Be sure to follow the package instructions for best applications.

Step 4: Mow Frequently

Mowing your lawn frequently encourages healthy grass to grow and blocks any opportunity for Bahia grass to grow.

By mowing little and often with a sharp bladed machine, you’ll snip off the growing tips of the plants. Keep your grass at a height of 2 inches (5.1cm) throughout the gowing season, and you will crush chances for weeds, of any kind, to grow.

Step 5: Water Infrequently

Weeds and Bahia grass love water! Resist the temptation to continually water your lawn in order to discourage them. However, you don’t want to stress your grass unnecessarily, so be aware of when your lawn is in need of a drink.

Key elements of a good watering session is lightly, but over a period of time. This allows the water to soak into the turf and reach down deeply to encourage root growth. Strong roots are the firm foundation of a healthy lawn.

Check out this article on how to make grass green with a simple 7 step lush lawn strategy.

Step 6: Fertilize Prudently

It seems counter-intuitive to fertilize lawn to counteract weed growth. However, in feeding and nurturing healthy grass, you’re not giving weeds an opportunity to run riot. Healthy grass will block sunlight and water from reaching any weeds, vital elements needed for weeds to grow.

Ideally, you want to fertilize your lawn twice a year – spring and fall. For an in-depth guide to the best time to fertilize lawn, take a look at our guide to tip-top backyard care.

Use a good quality fertilizer spreader to help make this chore easier and more effective.

Step 7: Flower Beds and Borders

Controlling Bahia grass in flower beds and borders requires different methods.

  • Pull Bahia grass out by hand – If the soil is moist (after rainfall or after watering) it’s easy to pull the plant out by hand. Make sure to pull out by grasping close to the base of the plant and pluck it out.
  • Ensure you have pulled out all the roots at the same time, otherwise the weed will grow again.
  • Mulch with newspaper – Cover the de-weeded soil with wet newspaper, weighed down with compost or other forms of mulch. This blocks sunlight from reaching any further seeds or rhizomes left after you’ve removed the Bahia grass. As an added bonus, the newspaper will decompose adding nutrients which help improve soil condition.
  • Apply post-emergent herbicide – By using a herbicide such as glyphosate a few days prior to planting out flowers beds, you will maintain eradication of Bahia grass. Glyphosate will only target weeds, and will allow your flowers and vegetables to grow unhindered.


As with any herbicide, do check instructions for use before applying.

Eliminate Bahia Grass For Beautiful Backyard Lawn

Knowing how to get rid of Bahia grass can be an on-going crusade against this persistent weed. You’ve decided to tackle this problem head-on and search for the best advice you can.

Armed with the information in this article you feel confident this time you will succeed. By following the steps above, you will soon be in control of Bahia grass. And there’s no greater satisfaction than to be rewarded with a beautiful backyard lawn.

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