Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bahia Grass
Paspalum notatum 'Pensacola'

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Paspalum (PASS-pal-lum) (Info)
Species: notatum
Cultivar: Pensacola


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #1 of Paspalum notatum by Farmerdill

By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #2 of Paspalum notatum by Farmerdill

By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #3 of Paspalum notatum by Farmerdill

By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #4 of Paspalum notatum by Farmerdill


1 positive
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative TREEHUGR On Nov 18, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I respectfully add that the Argentine variety is just as broad bladed if not more so than Pensacola and it's seed heads have got to be worse too. Both Pensacola and Argentine will grow throughout Florida.

I have a negative comment but I am going to remain calm, objective and as positive as possible.

Most people in the US don't know what Bahia is or has even seen it because it's mostly used in Florida and sometimes in Georgia. It's a broadbladed, thin mat, with a light green, not dark green color.

Oh no! Here it comes! Bahia is HORRRRRIBLE!! The person who discovered its use as a turfgrass should be forced at gunpoint to mow my lawn 3 times a week!

It looks terrible. When it's dry, it turns brown but thanks to the deep roots, it comes back. During the Florida rainy season, it grows, I kid you not 12-18" A WEEK! And worse yet, it produces seed heads which persist year-round (but are most noticable during the summer) and the seed heads proliferate the yard and lead to spreading of this grass.

The seeds get everywhere and spread to flowerbeds and naturalized areas. But unlike other grass that does the same thing, Bahia can have roots as deep as 8 to 10 FEET! and it's murder to pull that out.

Bahia stands no chance against the weeds and doesn't form a thick mat like most turf. It also doesn't hold up well against cars driving on it either but most grass doesn't for that matter- I just wanted to clear up that myth.

This grass is noted on some turf web sites as mainly an ideal grass for the side of roads and highways however given that it's growth rate is out of control, our highway department spends more money mowing this grass than it would with another type of grass.

Folks, simply put, Bahiagrass seed and sod is easy and inexpensive to produce, thus just like the palm tree racket down here, we have the bahia sod racket and the frugal builders who could care less what the place looks like puts bahia in the homes and bahia and st. augustine are all that the stores and garden centers in florida carry. No matter what any salesman tells you, this grass is torture.

As far as use as a forage goes, I can't say if this is any better than the other varieties because I don't eat grass. If I did, I'd probably avoid this variety because it looks unappetizing.

This sod reminds me of those funny stories of Floridians moving up north and discovering that they have to shovel snow and get bogged down with that. Well, this is the same thing. Northerners that move to Florida and get stuck with Bahia experience much the same experience...sweating and swearing as you try to cut this with a walk behind mower.

And it's pronounced BA-HEE-YA!!! Not BA-HAY-YA!!! Look it up!

Positive Farmerdill On Sep 10, 2004, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

"Pensacola Bahiagrass is grown and planted on more acres than any of the other varieties of Bahia. It has been established on several million acres of roads, lawns, pasture, forage and conservation lands in the Southern states of USA since it's discovery in 1935 by Ed Finlayson of the Escambia County Extension Service."

It is an excellent low maintenance lawn here. Essentially a mow and grow. Not as pretty a Zoysia, centipede, St Augustine , or even Bermuda. It is a course grass and will wear out mower blades fast. But it will keep on plugging in driest season without irrigation, It will also do well in acid soils. Also a good pasture grass although other cultivars are better for this purpose.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fairhope, Alabama
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Augusta, Georgia

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