Like many of you, I find a freshly mowed lawn to be very rewarding. I wait and wait for a dry day, crank up the zero turn, and zone-out. Something about smoothing out that grass and seeing the fruits of my labor just brings a smile to my face. I guess what they say about “turning into your parents” is true. Sadly, after this afternoon-long effort, I come back to a yard with the ugliest weed I’ve seen. Not even three or four days later, Bahia is already rearing its ugly head. Like you, I wanted to figure out just how can we control this terrible weed?
If you don’t know, that really tall “Y Shaped” weed in your yard is called Bahia. It is a very aggressive perennial weed that is found in lawns all across the south. There are two common varieties around here, Pensacola and Common, both nearly identical and just as ugly. This weed will shoot up in your yard just a few days after mowing and will be at 18 inches in no time. It produces a seed had that creates an even bigger batch of weeds the next time you see it. It also has underground rhizomes (a fancy way to say roots) that help it spread like crazy. So, the question is, what can we do about it?
To me, the best method of control for almost anything in life, is prevention. If we can stop Bahai from establishing in the spring, it will be more manageable throughout the year. If you have Centipede, St. Augustine or Zoysia, you can apply Atrazine as labeled for fair suppression (70-79) as a pre-emergence herbicide. This next part is important: DO NOT apply near the root zone of ornamentals or during the spring green-up. So, this can be used toward the end of the winter and before your yard starts to come back. If you have Bermudagrass, make sure it is dormant because if not you will have a yard full of dead grass. It is probably best to avoid Atrazine in Bermudagrass lawns, but it is an option I wanted to mention.
If you are tired of looking at the Bahia now, during the period we would call “post-emergence”, you still have a few options. A chemical known as metsulfuron (trade name Manor) can be used on Centipede, Zoysia and Bermuda for good control. If you can find a good lawn care company or other licensed professional, they will be able to purchase and apply this product safely. If you use any over the counter products, remember to always follow label instructions and do not exceed the recommended rate. There are a few other options that I won’t mention here, but you can always call or stop by the extension office and we can discuss what else is out there. Thank you for taking time to read this article and as always, stay safe out there.