If you live in a coastal area in the South, chances are your soil is sandy and acidic. Temperatures range from warm to sweltering. That's why you need a grass that can take the heat, handle dry spells, and still look good. That sounds like a job for bahiagrass. Bahiagrass is native to South America and traditionally has been used in this country for low-maintenance areas, such as roadsides. Nowadays, there are several improved varieties on the market that produce beautiful turf that's ideal for lawns along the Gulf Coast.
Bahiagrass is a sun-loving grass that doesn't like cold or shade. It grows by thick stolons, or root-like stems. It doesn't spread aggressively, but forms a very thick carpet of grass. So a bahiagrass lawn is tough enough for foot traffic, but a challenge to mow (keep your blade sharp and use a heavy-duty mower). Bahiagrass is less likely to invade garden beds than other warm-season grasses. Better yet, it tolerates poor soil conditions well, and doesn't require much fertilizer.
For new bahigrass lawns, you can plant seed or sod, depending on your time and budget. If you decide to seed your lawn choose a quality seed, such as Scotts® Turf Builder® Pensacola Bahiagrass or Scotts® Turf Builder® Argentine Bahiagrass. Pensacola bahiagrass has a finer leaf texture and is more cold tolerant than Argentine bahiagrass, while Argentine bahiagrass is darker green.
Loosen up your soil and then spread the grass seed with a broadcast spreader, like the Scotts® Turf Builder® EdgeGuard® DLX. Be sure to use the spreader setting indicated on the product label. Keep in mind that putting down too much seed creates weak seedlings that often die because they cannot get the resources they need to develop into strong grass plants.
Bahiagrass should be fed 2-4 times per year starting in spring, after it greens up, through fall. When you feed, be sure to use a product that contains iron, like Scotts® GreenMAX™ Lawn Food, especially if the soil pH is higher than 7. You'll want to keep a bahiagrass lawn mowed to 2-3 inches tall, because the grass has a tendency to produce straggly seedheads.
Bahiagrass is not troubled by many pests and diseases. The most serious pest threat is the mole cricket, which burrow through the soil and damage roots. Very few diseases cause problems in bahiagrass lawns with the exception of dollar spot which can leave spots several inches in diameter scattered throughout the lawn.
Be sure to read labels carefully to ensure the product will not harm a bahiagrass lawn. Scotts Bonus S Southern Weed and Feed cannot be used on a bahiagrass lawn.