Pensacola Bahia Grass Seed
- Pensacola Bahia grass seed is used for lawn and pasture applications in the southern climates.
We do not recommend Pensacola bahia grass for lawns due to the poor appearance,
weak root structure and prolific seed sprout growth in the summer
months. Many people believe that the seed sprouts will re-seed the lawn
or pasture but that is hard to accomplish in a lawn. The seed stalks
have a thirty to forty day maturity period. In other words, the
Pensacola will re-seed but you must allow the stalks to fully mature
and begin to fall in the grass before a successful re-seeding is
accomplished. Allowing the seed stalks to mature will promote weed
growth and allow the grass to grow one to two feet in height choking
out the less dominate bunches of grass and leaving bare spots for weeds
to grow. Pensacola bahia grass is more cold tolerant than Argentine bahia grass and will provide a week or two of early grazing in the spring.
Pensacola Bahia grass is commonly used for lawn and
pasture applications across the Southern United States including
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi,
North East Texas, and the South West California. For more information
on how well Pensacola Bahiagrass grows in your exact location please
call or contact us.
BUY PENSACOLA BAHIA GRASS SEED
New Lawns - Plant 5 to 10 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.
Over seeding an existing lawn
- Bare spots can be easily filled in by spreading the area by hand or
with a spreader. Remember after spreading the seed to lightly rake in
the seed to cover no deeper than 1/4 inch. To properly over seed the
entire lawn use 2 to 5 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. after removing as much
unwanted dead or living vegetation.
New Pastures - Plant 25 to 100 lbs. per acre.
(25 lbs. takes 12 - 24 months to fully sod the pasture.)
more seed applied to the lawn or pasture on the first planting the
faster the lawn or pasture will fully establish a sod or grass base and
prevent future over seeding to fill in bare spots.
Over seeding an existing pasture: Over
seeding rates depend on the amount of established or existing grass in
the pasture area. Common applications for over seeding are 25 - 50 lbs.
Lawn Fertilization: Apply 5 - 10 lbs. of 16-04-08
slow release fertilizer per 1000 sq. ft. four times a year(Late Spring,
Mid Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall) for the first two years. After a
fully established lawn has been accomplished apply 5 lbs. per 1000 sq.
ft. two times (Mid Summer,Late Summer) a year.
Pasture Fertilization: Apply 250 - 350 lbs. of 16-04-08
slow release fertilizer per acre in Late Spring, Mid Summer and Early
Fall. Animals that are grazing will damage the Bahiagrass pasture if
the pasture is not properly fertilized annually. The grass must be
provided with adequate nutrients to compete with the animals.
Additional Bahiagrass Information
Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge.),
a warm-season perennial, is grown throughout Florida and in the Coastal
Plain and Gulf Coast regions of the southern United States. Bahiagrass
is adapted to climatic conditions throughout Florida and can be grown
on upland well-drained sands as well as the moist, poorly-drained
flatwoods soils of peninsular Florida. In Florida, bahiagrass is used
on more land area than any other single pasture species, covering an
estimated 2.5 million acres. Most of this acreage is used for grazing
with some hay, sod, and seed harvested from pastures.
is a warm-season grass that produces more grazing in the summer than
winter. Due to the longer growing season, forage growth is more evenly
distributed throughout the year in southern Florida than in northern
Florida. In southern Florida, growth of bahiagrass pastures slows in
October, and many pastures have very little forage after mid-December
until the grass starts growing again in early March. In northern
Florida, bahiagrass pastures are productive from April to November. On
selected sites, the grazing season can be extended by overseeding
cool-season legumes and grasses on the bahiagrass pastures. These
cool-season forages provide additional late winter and early spring
is popular with Florida ranchers because it: 1) tolerates a wider range
of soil conditions than other improved grasses; 2) has the ability to
produce moderate yields on soils of very low fertility; 3) is easily
established from seed; 4) withstands close grazing; and 5) is
relatively free from damaging insects (except for mole crickets) and
the major perennial pasture grasses grown in Florida, bahiagrass is one
of two propagated by seed. It is a heavy seed producer and begins
sending up seed heads in early summer. Animals may graze bahiagrass
seed heads and carry seed to new areas where it can become established,
as the seed will germinate after passing through the digestive tract of
cattle. In some instances, less competitive grasses such as Coastal
Bermudagrass and the digitgrasses (Pangola) may eventually be crowded
out by bahiagrass. Fortunately, a herbicide, Ally, is available that
will remove Pensacola bahiagrass from bermudagrass hay fields.
are native to South America and are widely distributed in Argentina,
Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil. Several different types have been
introduced into the U.S.
Pensacola is the most widely grown
cultivar. It was found growing in Pensacola, Florida in 1935 by
Escambia County Extension Agent, Ed Finlayson. Pensacola has long,
narrow leaves, taller seed stalks, and it flowers earlier than other
cultivars. Like other bahiagrasses, it has a fibrous root-system
capable of growing to a depth of 7 feet or more. Pensacola has some
cold tolerance, but top growth is killed by moderate frosts. In
northern Florida more early-season and late-season production can be
obtained from the Pensacola types than from other bahiagrass cultivars.
Tifton 9 Bahiagrass
was released in 1987. It was developed through a bahiagrass breeding
program by Dr. Glen Burton, USDA, Tifton, Georgia. Compared with the
Pensacola cultivar from which it was bred, Tifton-9 has much greater
vigor in the seedling stage and develops longer leaves. It also grows
better during the short-day, cool season and therefore has 30% greater
yield than Pensacola, but quality is the same.
PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT
should be planted on a well-prepared seedbed. Ensure that the seedbed
is limed to a pH within the range of 5-6 before planting. The optimum
temperature range for bahiagrass seed germination is 85 to 95° F.
Summer may be the ideal time to plant in terms of optimum temperatures
and moisture, but weed competition may be more severe. Spring plantings
may result in a more rapid establishment of a sod if an April or May
drought is avoided. In southern Florida, however, it may be planted any
time soil moisture is sufficient for germination and seedling
establishment. Seed should be broadcast at a minimium of 25 to 30 lb/A,
and covered with 1/2 inch of soil. Higher seeding rates up to 100 lb/A
can be used to obtain quicker establishment. Most producers use a
rolling device after broadcasting the seed to give all the soil
coverage necessary, and it produces a firm, smooth seedbed which
conserves moisture. Precision planters, such as a cultipacker-type
seeder or drill, may be used for more precise seed placement. Less seed
should be required to obtain comparable stands when these types of
planters are used. One of the best seeding methods is to firm the
seedbed with a land roller, plant the seed with a drill, followed by
the land roller. Mixing seed with fertilizer and spreading both in one
application is a popular method with many producers. If this method is
used, do not let the mixture set for more than one day before
spreading. Also, be aware of the possibility of losing the nitrogen and
potassium to leaching since there is no root system to absorb these
nutrients when they are applied. This may not be as much of a problem
for spring plantings as it is for summer plantings that are made during
the time of excessive rainfall.
seedlings are small and do not compete well with weeds. Therefore, weed
control is very important during the first few months in the life of a
new planting of bahiagrass. Also, the small seedlings are sensitive to
phenoxy herbicides and thus mowing must be used to control weeds until
the plants are 5 to 6" tall and well-established. At that time, a
phenoxy herbicide can be used to control broadleaf weeds. Cattle should
not be placed on the new planting for 3 months or until the stand is
thick enough that you cannot see bare ground. On the other hand, if a
"nurse crop" such as Japanese millet is seeded with the bahiagrass, the
millet should be grazed enough to prevent it from shading the
bahiagrass seedlings. At seeding rates used for pastures, it may take
two growing seasons to get a stand well-established. Once established,
bahiagrass has an aggressive growth habit and forms a dense sod which
is relatively easy to maintain. Peak sod density usually occurs in the
third year after seeding. For commercial sod production, the use of a
higher seeding rate may allow you to obtain peak sod density more
Fertilization and liming
For new plantings of bahiagrass, apply 30 lb/A N, all of the P2O5 , and half of the K2O recommended on your soil test report as soon as plants have emerged. Apply the remaining K2O and 50 to 70 lb/A N 30 to 50 days later. In southern Florida or if a soil test report is not available, apply 25 lb/A of P2O5 and 25 lb/A of K2O with the N as soon as plants have emerged and apply an additional 25 lb/A of K2O
later with the second application of N. If manure or biosolids are used
as the main source of nutrients, apply the entire annual application
once the plants are large enough to withstand physical damage from the
application. Magnesium is usually sufficient, but can be applied with
the initial fertilizer if a soil test indicates that it is low. Low
magnesium is usually remedied by using dolomitic limestone when the
soil is limed. Sulfur may or may not be needed but can be added during
establishment by using ammonium sulfate as the N source. Calcium will
be sufficient when the pH is raised to the proper level. Micronutrient
deficiencies are rare and under typical production situations do not
approximately Orlando south, recent soil fertility studies on
established, grazed bahiagrass pastures have shown very little if any
yield response to the application of P or K even though the soil may
have tested low in these nutrients. This result may be explained by the
fact that only the top 6 inches of soil is sampled for a soil test and
roots of bahiagrass plants can absorb nutrients from much deeper in the
soil profile. Additionally, between 70 and 85% of the P and K consumed
in forage is recycled to the soil through manure. It is presently
believed that soil testing for P and K in this southern region will not
indicate whether a bahiagrass pasture will respond to an application of
P or K. Therefore, in peninsular Florida south of an east-west line
that runs through Orlando, no P or K is recommended for use on
established grazed bahiagrass pastures, and soil testing for P and K
will not be needed. The suggested fertility program for grazed
established bahiagrass pastures south of Orlando is to apply about 60
lb of N alone in the spring. Phosphorous and potassium may need to be
added to these pastures in the future if a pasture begins to perform
poorly. From approximately Orlando north, soil testing and
fertilization recommendations will continue as in the past.
northern Florida, three fertilization options are recommended for
established stands of bahiagrass. Detailed below, these are also
printed as part of the soil test report from the Extension Soil Testing
Laboratory. Choose the option which most closely fits your fertilizer
budget, management objectives, and land capability. The P and K
recommended on the soil test report should be modified according to the
option chosen, because the P and K recommendation is dependent not only
on the soil test results but also the amount of N used.
Low-N Option (for
grazed pastures only) - Apply around 50 lb/A N. At this level, N will
still be the nutrient that limits forage yield even when the soil test
level for P and K is low. Therefore, do not apply P or K. Do not use
this option if you cut hay because nutrient removal by hay is much
greater than by grazing animals.
Medium-N Option -
Apply around 100 lb/A N. At this level of N fertilization, P and K may
be limiting if your soil tested low in these nutrients. Apply 25 lb/A P2O5 if your soil tested low in P and none if it tested medium. Apply 50 lb/A K2O
if your soil tested low in K and none if it tested medium. Retest your
soil every second or third year to verify P and K levels. If you plan
to make a late-season cutting of hay, apply around 80 lb/A N between
August 1 and 15 (about 6 weeks before the growing season ends).
High-N Option - Apply 160 lb/A N and the recommended rates of P2O5 and K2O
for each of your pastures. Split the N into two applications of 80 lb
N/A each, applying in early spring and early summer. The fertilization
rates suggested in this option are high enough to allow bahiagrass
pasture to achieve above average production. Management and
environmental factors will determine how much of the potential
production is achieved and how much of the forage is utilized. A single
cutting of hay can be made without need for additional fertilization.
established stands of bahiagrass, apply fertilizer in the early spring
(February - March) to maximize much-needed spring growth. Bahiagrass is
a very efficient forager and recovers nutrients from deeper in the soil
profile than other popular forage grasses (up to 70% of N applied is
recovered), so danger of leaching losses is low. Bahiagrass has a
somewhat unique trait of accumulating nutrients in its stolons. It has
been estimated that the stolons in a fully established mature stand of
bahiagrass that is well-fertilized may contain a reserve of nutrients
that will last 2 to 3 years.
a good stand of legume (white clover, etc.) exists in the pasture, N
fertilizer may be reduced or eliminated altogether. Phosphorus and
potassium recommendations for the particular legume should be followed.
testing should be used as a guide for applying lime. In southern
Forida, lime to a pH of 5; in northern Florida, lime to a pH of 5.5.
Bahiagrass pastures, once limed to the target pH, will require repeated
liming depending on the source and amount of annual N application.
Pasture may need to be limed again every 2 to 3 years if high rates (>
100 lb/A) of N from ammonium sulfate are used, annually, but about
every 4 years if only 60 lb N/A from ammonium nitrate is applied,
yearly. Also a higher target pH is required when pastures are
overseeded with a cool-season clover or ryegrass. If white clover or
other cool-season legumes are overseeded on a bahiagrass pasture, the
pH should be raised to 6.5 prior to overseeding. A pH of 6.0 is needed
for warm-season legumes and ryegrass. Although soil testing for P and K
on bahiagrass pastures is not recommended for south Florida, soil
testing for pH every 3 years as a guide for lime application remains
establishing bahiagrass on new land that is very acidic, try to apply
and incorporate the lime 6 to 12 months before planting the bahiagrass
so that the lime will have had sufficient time to nutralize the soil
is used mainly for beef cattle pastures. If it is fertilized and
rotationally grazed, it will carry about one animal unit per acre from
approximately mid-March to mid-November (on southern Florida
flatwoods). Carrying capacity will be much less (2.5 acres per animal
unit) under continuous grazing on upland sands and for a shorter period
in northern Florida. The quality of bahiagrass forage is adequate for
mature beef cattle, but weaned calves or stocker yearlings make
relatively low daily gains, especially from July through September.
the years, bahiagrass has been compared with many other grasses at
several locations in the state for both yield of dry matter and animal
response. The other improved grasses tend to out-yield the older
cultivars of bahiagrass, especially at locations where they are best
adapted. No direct comparisons of other species with Tifton-9 are
available. Pensacola tends to out-yield Argentine at northern locations
primarily due to its superior frost tolerance. Tifton-9 will produce
30% more forage than Pensacola in both northern and southern Florida.
response data is available for different locations within the state. In
trials conducted at Belle Glade on organic soils, Argentine produced
more animal gain per acre than Pensacola; both produced more than
Pangola, and all produced less than St. Augustinegrass. Range Cattle
Research and Education Center trials indicated little difference
between Pensacola, Argentine, and Paraguay 22. Stargrasses have
produced higher average daily gains and greater animal gain per acre
than Pensacola bahiagrass. At Gainesville, Pensacola bahiagrass and
Coastal bermudagrass produced similar animal gains. Pensacola compared
with Floralta limpograss produced average daily gains that were
similar, but carrying capacity and total animal gain per acre were
greater for limpograss. Work at the West Florida Research and Education
Center indicates that Pensacola produces slightly more animal gain than
Argentine. At this time, the animal response data available for
Tifton-9 Pensacola shows that both average daily gains and animal gain
per acre are similar to those of other bahiagrasses indicating the
difficulty of converting the forage yield advantage of Tifton 9 to beef
products through proper grazing management. Average daily gains of
about 0.5 lb/day and seasonal liveweight gains of 250-300lb/A can be
expected from grazing well managed bahiagrass pastures.
and various legumes can be successfully grown with bahiagrass if soil
moisture is sufficient and if competition from the bahiagrass is
reduced before seeding the companion crop. Competition from the
bahiagrass can be reduced by grazing off the top growth and disking or
chopping the pasture just prior to or at seeding. Soil moisture is
critical, especially for ryegrass and white clover; therefore, only
selective sites should be overseeded with these cool season species.
Irrigated or low-lying pastures in central and southern Florida, moist
flatwoods in northeastern Florida, and clay soils in western Florida
are suitable sites for overseeding these forages. The summer legumes,
aeschynomene, Florida carpon desmodium, stylo, and phasey bean are
adapted to the moist flatwoods soils in central and southern Florida.
Other legumes, such as crimson clover, red clover, arrowleaf clover,
alyceclover, hairy indigo, perennial peanut, and stylo have been used
on sites that have good soil moisture but do not flood. Legumes should
be used with bahiagrass where adapted. They not only improve pasture
quality and all aspects of animal performance, but also reduce the use
of N fertilizer. However, incorporation of legumes precludes the use of
herbicides to control broadleaf weeds.
seed production is another source of income on some ranches. Yields
range from 50 to 150 lb and occasionally up to 350 lb of clean seed per
acre. If a producer plans to harvest seed from a particular pasture or
field of bahiagrass, field preparations should begin early in the year.
or February, if there is enough accumulated dead grass to supply fuel
for burning, it should be burned. Burn after a rain when the tops have
dried, but while the soil surface is still moist. Fertilize using the
high N option, but split the N by applying the first application with P
and K in February or March and the second application of N alone
between late April and the end of May, before seed stalks have started
to emerge and cattle have been removed. During the spring, keep the
grass grazed as short as possible. Never let the top growth accumulate
to the point where it lodges and completely shades the stolons. Not all
seeds mature at the same time, but ripen throughout the summer. Seeds
are mature and ready for harvest if they will strip off when pulled
through partially closed fingers. The peak of seed maturation normally
occurs in July for Pensacola and in August for Argentine bahiagrasses.
If a custom seed harvester is used, arrangements should be made well in
advance of the expected harvest date. After the seed is harvested, the
remaining forage can be grazed or harvested for hay. The hay will be
low in quality, and thus would be a good candidate for ammoniation.
bahiagrass, cut at the prehead stage of growth, makes good quality hay.
However, it is difficult to cut and bale because the grass is dense and
low-growing. Surplus pasture growth accounts for most of the bahiagrass
hay. Much of it is low in quality because it is cut after the plants
head out and, in some cases, after heads are combined for seed. If hay
is harvested from a grazed pasture in the late summer, it is suggested
that additional N (60 to 80 lb/A) be applied to grow the hay crop.
Also, apply P and K if these nutrients were not applied in the spring.
Apply the fertilizer no later than 6 weeks prior to the end of the
growing season which occurs around October 1. When a field of
bahiagrass is used only for hay production, with multiple cuts, use the
same fertility program as would be used for Coastal bermudaguess or
other hay type grasses.
commercial sod business in Florida is a large industry, and ranches may
have an additional source of income from selling bahiagrass sod from
suitable pastures. Argentine bahiagrass is the favored cultivar in the
sod trade because it produces fewer seed heads than Pensacola. See
Florida Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin 260, Sod Production in Florida , for additional information.
is used in rotation with peanuts, soybeans, tobacco, and some vegetable
crops grown on sand land. After 2 to 3 years growth of bahiagrass, the
population level of certain nematodes and other pests is reduced. Also,
a slight increase in organic matter and an improvement in soil tilth
may result. Tifton-9 Pensacola, with its more rapid seedling growth and
quicker establishment, has been suggested for use in certain crop
best defense against weeds is to maintain a healthy sod that covers the
ground. When needed, certain herbicides are available to control
specific weeds. Banvel®, 2,4-D, or a combination of the two will
control most broadleaf weeds. Velpar® is available for use on
smutgrass, and Crossbow® and Remedy® on brush and briars. See fact
sheet SS-AGR-08, Weed Control in Pastures and Rangelands , for detailed information on use of these herbicides.
crickets and armyworms are two important pests of bahiagrass. Loss of
pasture growth to armyworms is not prevalent but can occur especially
during periods of summer or fall drought. Armyworms can be controlled
by timely treatment with insecticides. To prevent extensive damage,
treatment must be made when worms are small.
is a favored host for mole crickets. The extensive stolon-root system
is a source of enegy carbohydrates and nutrients for the pest. Mole
cricket damage to bahiagrass pastures has continued to increase. Damage
begins with early spring yellowing of grass followed by dieback in
patches and thinning of stand later in the season. The damage inflicted
by mole crickets to pasture is aggravated by acid soil conditions (pH
less than 4.5). A biological control agent (a beneficial nematode that
does not affect any plant) is now commercially available to help
control mole crickets in bahiagrass pastures. Other biological control
agents are being developed and will likely be available for use in the
future. Sometimes toxic baits are available and complementary, which
can be applied in the summer and early fall for temporary control mole
crickets. See the current IFAS Insect Control Guide for control recommendations.
is a good general use lawn or pasture grass. Once established it can
withstand heavier grazing pressure than the other pasture or lawn
grasses in common use. Cattle and Horses are less likely to destroy a
stand of bahiagrass when pastures are overstocked and grass production
is inadequate to meet the needs of the livestock. Bahiagrasses have the
ability to withstand drought and to maintain sod at extremely low
minimum fertility, bahiagrass is not very productive, but it will
persist as a pasture whereas other improved grasses under such
conditions might be taken over by weeds and eventually lost. Bahiagrass
has the ability to build up and store a supply of mineral nutrients as
well as carbohydrate reserves in its stolons and roots. It also has the
ability to continuously cycle nutrients and thus keep them in the top 4
to 6 inches of soil.
is not as productive in terms of forage as some other grasses because
it puts about 50% of its energy production in the sod. Its quality is
often low from July into winter. When mature, all of the bahias are
extremely fibrous, unpalatable, and low in feeding value. Not much can
be done with regard to its productivity relative to that of other
grasses, but the quality of feed available in the pasture can be
improved by grazing young forage and by overseeding the pastures with
is a good general-use lawn or pasture grass that responds to moderate
fertilization, tolerates unfavorable conditions, and is easier to
manage than other improved pasture grasses.
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