Removing Bahia Grass From Centipede Grass

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You can kill Bahia grass in Centipeded grass with chemical herbicides.
You can kill Bahia grass in Centipeded grass with chemical herbicides. (Image: grass image by ana malin from Fotolia.com)

Centipede grass is the grass of choice for homeowners who want a low-maintenance yard. The grass is drought-tolerant, low-growing and suppresses weeds. Centipede grass spreads on surface runners known as stolons only, so the grass is easier to control than more aggressive grasses such as Bermuda grass. But one of Centipede’s primary competitors is Bahia grass. Bahia is an aggressive warm-season lawn grass that can crowd out centipede grass and form dense mats of weeds. You can control Bahia in Centipede lawns by applying chemicals that will kill Bahia and leave Centipede alone, according to Clemson University.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-emergent herbicide spray containing Atrazine
  • Non-selective herbicide spray containing Glyphosate
  • Selective herbicide spray containing Sethoxydim
  • Tank spray applicator

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent Bahia grass from sprouting from seed in your lawn. A pre-emergent that is approved for use in Centipede grass against Bahia grass is Atrazine. Spray Atrazine on your lawn for four consecutive days when air temperatures reach between 65 and 70 degrees in spring.

Spot-treat outbreaks of Bahia grass with a non-selective post-emergent herbicide that contains Glyphosate. Bahia grass grows on rhizomes as well as from seed, so post-emergent herbicide treatment will be required. Protect nearby Centipede grass with a drop cloth and treat the Bahia grass with a spray while the patch is still young and tiny. Spray the grass blades until they are saturated. The grass patch will pull the herbicide down into the rhizomes and kill them. Dig the rhizomes out of the ground once the grass patch is dead. Fill in the hole left by the grass roots with topsoil and allow the Centipede grass to grow back in that location.

Treat your entire lawn with a selective herbicide that contains Sethoxydim if spot-treatments are not practical. Herbicides containing Sethoxydim are approved to kill Bahia grass without damaging Centipede grass. Do not mow seven days before or after treatments. Do not spray Sethoxydim sooner than three weeks after Centipede grass turns green for spring. Reapply the chemical three weeks after your initial treatment to suppress the return of Bahia grass and prevent seed heads from being formed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothing including breathing protection, gloves, long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and close-toed shoes when working with chemical herbicides. Take a shower immediately after applying herbicides.

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