Bahia vs bermuda grass

If you’re debating between bahiagrass and bermudagrass for your lawn, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Both types of grass are tolerant of the warm climate and can thrive in sandy soils, but there are some differences between the two. For example, bermudagrass requires much more attention, but it is also better suited for small lawns, while Bahia is great for large-sized lawns and parks.

If you’re considering switching up your lawn grass, you may be wondering whether bahiagrass or bermudagrass is the better option.

Both types of grasses have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that will best suit your needs.

Lawn with Bermuda grass
Close up of ber

Which one is more cost-effective to plant? Bermuda grass or Bahia grass?

Cost is a crucial aspect if the previously mentioned factors aren’t enough to convince you. Bahiagrass can be cheaper to plant than Bermuda grass. Around $150-300 per acre based on the level of fertilization for bahiagrass, and $300-475 for establishing Bermuda grass.

What is Bahia Grass?

Bahia Grass is the grass that thrives in hot climates, like southern Florida or the Gulf Coast. The grass was brought to America at the beginning of the 20th century, as a reliable grass for the pasture of livestock and cattle. It grows green through the three seasons. It is extremely tolerant of the sun, sandy soil, drought, as well as salt if it grows near the edges of plains with tides.

Bahiagrass is a common choice for pasture grass and hayfields in the southeastern U.S., but it can also be used as lawn grass. Bahia grasses are shade-tolerant, drought-tolerant, and do well in sandy or infertile soils. However, bahiagrass is not as tolerant to cold weather and can go dormant during the winter months. It’s also not as competitive as Bermuda, so it may require more frequent lawn care.

Bahia grass golf field
Field with Bahiagrass

What is Bermuda Grass?

Bermuda grass is one of the most drought-resistant and sun-tolerant grasses. It thrives in sunny positions and shade will stunt its growth. This makes it another great option for a southern Florida lawn. The resilience in the face of heat comes from a deep root system, which can grow to be as deep as 6.6 feet (2 meters) if the soil allows it. These grasses is also great at absorbing salt and humidity.

This grass is also one of the fastest-growing turf grasses. Bermuda is similar to Bahia grass. It grows slowly and spreads via stolons. They can root at any point on the ground. It forms thick growth over time.

Optimal growth temperatures for these grasses confirm their warmth-loving nature. It will stop growing if the temperature drops below 0°F. In winter, it will turn brownish-tan.

Besides being known for its drought resistance, this grass type also provides good coverage and can withstand heavy foot traffic.

Bermuda grass planted in the yard
Bermuda grass on a lawn

Common Bermuda grass

The common Bermuda grasses are medium green, medium-to fine-textured turf. The grass’ roots are deep and expand rapidly ensuring resistance to drought heat. The speed of spreading could cause problems with invasion into undesirable areas if it is not managed properly. It doesn’t perform well in shade and becomes brown in winter until temperatures rise to a steady sixty degrees. Common Bermuda grass grows well in poor soils.

Hybrid Bermuda grass

Hybrid Bermuda grasses are less dense, soft and greener as well as more finely-textured than common Bermuda grasses. This grass type is a heat-loving species and fast-growing, drought-tolerant and extremely durable which makes it an excellent option for lawns with a lot of traffic. Hybrid Bermuda is more resistant to pests and diseases than common Bermuda, however, the buildup of thatch can be an issue.

Is Bahia grass the same as Bermuda grass?

There are definitely differences between these grasses. Bahiagrass is able to thrive in sandy soils, while Bermuda requires well-groomed soil that has great drainage. Both types of grass are tolerant of the warm climate, Bermuda demands much more attention, while Bahia is great for large-sized lawns and parks. After you have fed your spring lawn and seeds, Bahia will need regular mowing. It is recommended to cut it down to about 2-3 inches in height so that the grass blades can be more effective in protecting the roots.

Bahiagrass is also more tolerant of sandy soils, while bermudagrass requires well-drained soil.

Do these grasses remain green all year round?

Bahiagrass does go into dormancy during the cool winter months from December to February. To prevent an entirely brown lawn and to prevent it from becoming brown, you can overseed it with a variety of rye that is fast-growing during the fall months.

Bermuda is more sensitive to cold than other warm-season grasses like Bahia grass, which is why its dormancy periods start earlier and end later. However, in frost-free climates, Bermuda stays green all the time during winter. In its growing regions, it goes through winter dormant and turning brown.

Can these grasses last through a dry year?

The resistance to drought is the reason Bahia grass is so popular among homeowners and lawn-care professionals. Although it may shed its bright green hue when it is in an extended drought, its extensive roots can withstand the many droughts. When the rains come back the lawn will begin to grow with minimal support. It is very rare for the healthy lawn to be destroyed because of the drought. This makes such grass types appealing in areas in which water conservation is a priority.

You can overseed Bahia grass in the early spring, just when the lawn starts to come out of dormancy. Putting down extra seed in the fall won’t net any results until the dormancy period passes.

Bermuda grasses can last through a dry year. It is a very resilient type of grass that can withstand drought conditions. However, during extended periods of drought, the grass will go dormant and turn brown. Once conditions improve and there is more moisture available, the grass will green up again.

How fast do these grass types grow?

One of the disadvantages of planting Bahia grass seed is that it grows slowly and may take up to a few months to grow a lawn. However, the slow growth will help it develop its own resilience to the effects of drought as well as the scorching sun, making it less likely to require another planting. Seeds are inexpensive even if they take a long time to develop. If you’d like immediate results, speak to your lawn care expert about putting in sod, however, you’ll need to watch carefully to ensure appropriate growth of the roots.

Bahiagrass grows more slowly than Bermuda, so it will require less mowing. When it comes to maintenance, bahiagrass only needs regular mowing after you’ve fed your spring lawn and seeds. It’s recommended that you cut it down to about 2-3 inches in height so that the grass blades can be more effective in protecting the roots.

Bermuda, on the other hand, needs to be mowed more frequently, since it grows faster than Bahia grass.

Bermuda grass after enduring foot traffic
Bermuda grass on a sports field

How much foot traffic can these grasses handle?

If you’re looking for a grassy lawn for your play area or public space with many people walking through, Bahia grass may not be the right choice. It’s most effective in large open areas. It is not able to produce a soft thatch so it can’t achieve the soft and spongy feeling of a luxurious lawn. If your home is surrounded by a large area that enhances the landscape, and rarely invites visitors from the children, Bahia grass will create an amazing and sustainable green area.

Vegetative Bermuda grass hybrids have excellent wear tolerance, but they are more costly to install and require more care than seeded Bermudagrass hybrids. In 2012 NTEP trials, seeded hybrids such as Bermuda Princess-77 and Bermuda Yukon had similar wear tolerance to vegetative hybrids. At times of heavy traffic, wear tolerance was tested in different times during August and September.

Lawn Height

Bahiagrass is one of the tallest lawn grasses. It should be kept between 2 and 5 inches high to keep it healthy. Bermuda is at the lower end of the scale, with an average height of 1 in. It is crucial to not cut more than one-third of the blade height in any single cutting.

Fertilizer Rates

Bahiagrass doesn’t need to be fertilized as frequently as Bermuda. Bahia should only be fertilized once a year after it has come out of dormancy. Bermuda grasses should be fertilized every month to keep a healthy lawn.


Bahiagrass takes longer to establish than Bermuda. The lawn should be established within one year if fertilization is not interrupted. Bahiagrass can take as long as two years to establish.

Disadvantages of Bahia Grass

Bahiagrass germinates slowly, so, despite its dense and tough cover, it can take up to two years before it fully matures. The lawn can take as long as two years to mature fully.

Weeds will not be an issue as the Bahia grass creates a nearly weed-proof covering if the lawn is healthy and maintained well.

Bahiagrass is only green during active growth in spring and summer, which is the same for all warm-season grasses. For grasses, dormancy is the same as hibernation for bears. Your lawn will remain dull until the grass becomes green and vibrant again in the spring.

Bahia can be managed in autumn by using cool-season ryegrasses. This will make your lawn winter green, but it won’t hurt if you have snow on your lawn.

Bahia Grass Pros

  • Tolerant to heat and drought
  • Salt tolerance
  • Doesn’t need a lot of watering
  • Doesn’t require frequent fertilization.
  • It provides a strong and durable cover
  • Less susceptible to disease and pests

Cons of Bahia Grass

  • It takes longer to grow a lawn from seeds than it does when it is planted directly from the seed.
  • Turns brown in winter.
  • It may be less appealing than some other varieties of turfgrass.

Disadvantages of Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grasses are fast-growing grass that will need extra mowing and fertilization. The grasses that grow fast have higher nutritional requirements. It is also natural that it grows quickly, so you will need to mow it more often, maybe twice per week.

Bermuda is fast and aggressive. Therefore, you may need to use control techniques like edging.

Bermuda is tolerant of acidic soils and prefers neutral soils. Lime may be required if your soil is acidic. Centipede grass is an alternative that can tolerate low pH. It shares some characteristics with Bermuda and can be used in these situations.

Pros of Bermuda Grass

  • Tolerant to heat and drought
  • Salt tolerance
  • Doesn’t need a lot of watering
  • The soil can tolerate a variety of pH values from neutral to alkaline
  • Grows quickly
  • High durability and resistance to foot traffic

Cons of Bermuda Grass

  • Can spread aggressively
  • Due to the rapid growth, it is necessary to fertilize and mow extra
  • Not recommended for use in acidic soils
  • Winter turns brown.
  • It goes dormant in the spring and then starts to grow again in the autumn
Bermuda grass on a golf course
A grass lawn with a pond


These descriptions make it clear that both Bermuda and Bahia are amazing grasses that can survive in extreme heat and dry environments. There is very little difference between them, and both are good options if you want a drought-resistant lawn.

Ultimately, the best type of grass for your lawn will depend on your specific needs and conditions. If you’re not sure which type of grass would be best for your yard, consult with a local landscaper or nursery.

However, we hope this article helped you to understand the differences and choose your favorite in the close Bahia vs Bermuda grass contest.

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