Bahia Grass vs. Bermuda Grass: What Are Their Differences?

Grass, Bermuda, Lawn, Abstract, Backgrounds
iStock.com/Tatyana Consaul

Written by Heather Hall

Published: October 25, 2022

Share on:

Advertisement


Bermuda grass and bahia grass look very similar to each other. They have a similar-shaped leaf that is nearly identical and grow in the same pattern. It is no wonder that many people think they are the same plant. But these two kinds of grass thrive in different regions and are used in different applications. Let us break down the similarities and differences now.

Comparing Bahia Grass vs. Bermuda Grass

Both bahia grass and bermuda grass are low maintenance and create a dense mat in a short period.
CharacteristicBahia GrassBermuda Grass
Scientific FamilyPaspalum notatumCynodon dactylon
Common NamesBahia, grass, common bahia, Pensacola bahiaBermuda grass, Dhoob, durva grass, crabgrass, dogs tooth grass, couch grass, wire grass, scutch grass
Native RegionMexico and South AmericaEurope, Africa, Australia, Asia
DescriptionFlat, rough-textured leaves. Green with a purple hue at the base of the leaf. A V-shaped cluster of flowersGray-green blades with rough edges. Stems have a purple tinge.
Seed heads with 2-6 spikes
Ideal Temperature77-86°F75-99°F
Growing RequirementsTolerant of sandy soil, heat, and drought. Likes full sun or partial shade. Fertilize once in spring.Tolerant of salt and drought. Likes full sun or slight shade. Fertilize every month. No acidic soil.
UsesForage, erosion control, lawnSports field, lawn, Indian religious ceremony

Key Differences Between Bahia Grass vs. Bermuda Grass

The biggest difference between bahia grass and bermuda grass is the growth requirements. They are drought-tolerant grasses, but bermuda grass has deep roots that can withstand more extended periods without water. Both of these grasses are low maintenance and create a dense mat in a short period. However, bahia grass will grow happily with very few nutrients making it a lower maintenance option. We will discuss these differences in more detail now.

Bahia Grass vs. Bermuda Grass: Name

Bahia grass will grow happily with very few nutrients making it a lower maintenance option.

Bahia and bermuda grass are both from the Poaceae family, along with many other cereal and bamboo grasses. Bermuda grass has many common names. Because of its invasive nature, gardeners call it devil grass. It is also known as durva grass, crabgrass, wire grass, dog tooth grass, couch grass, and scutch grass.

On the other hand, Bahia grass is only known as common bahia or Pensacola bahia because it is a popular sod in the southern United States.

Bahia Grass .vs Bermuda Grass: Native Region

Bahia grass is s subtropical or tropical perennial grass. It is native to Mexico and South America and grows wild in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Bermuda grass is not native to Bermuda but comes from Africa, Australia, and Asia. You will find it growing wild everywhere between latitudes 45°N and 45°S.

Bahia Grass vs. Bermuda Grass: Growing Requirements

Grass, Bermuda, Lawn, Abstract, Backgrounds

Bermuda grass is also used for forage, but only in areas with frequent fertilizer application and excellent drainage.

Both bahia grass and bermuda grass are best grown in a warm climate. Neither of these grasses will thrive if planted in northern areas with dark, cold winters. Bahia grass and bermuda grass are tough cookies and can tolerate saline soil, drought conditions, and extreme heat. During long periods of drought, bermuda grass can grow roots as long as 6.6 feet deep to search for water.

The most significant differences between these two types of grass are fertilizing, mowing, and sunlight. Bermuda grass needs to be fertilized often to thrive; this heavy feeding causes lots of new growth. If this bermuda grass is your lawn or sports field grass, it will have to be mowed and trimmed much more often than bahia grass, which only needs yearly fertilizer. Another consideration is sunlight. Bermuda grass will turn utterly brown in the shade, while bahia grass can tolerate a partly shady situation.

Bahia Grass vs. Bermuda Grass: Uses

Bahia grass is used for forage and is a favorite pasture grass because of its low maintenance. It doesn’t require frequent feeding and is tolerant of soils with little nutrients, so farms enjoy this grass for livestock. Municipalities and homeowners also use it as an excellent turf grass for areas that need erosion control. The thick carpet-like mat created by bahia grass will hold the soil down in times of high wind or rain.

Bermuda grass is also used for forage, but only in areas with frequent fertilizer application and excellent drainage. Bermuda grass cannot tolerate wet feet, so it is not suitable for wet locations. Bermuda grass is perfect for a sports field or lawn that doesn’t receive much water. It is a durable grass that can take a lot of heat and abuse and remain green and thriving. In India, bermuda grass is used as part of a religious ceremony.

NEXT UP…


Share this post on:
About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.