Last Updated on April 4, 2023 by Mattias
Sandy soils in the southern US limit the choice for lawn grasses, but there are still plenty of good options. Argentine Bahia and st augustine are two of the most popular warm-season grasses that are highly suitable for this region. When you put these grasses against each other and hold comparisons, there are significant differences between the two.
St augustine grass has been in the game for a long time, but Argentine Bahia is also a promising newcomer that offers a range of similar benefits. If you are having a hard time choosing between these two grass varieties, then take a look below and learn all about Argentine Bahia grass vs st augustine.
Argentine Bahia Grass vs St Augustine
Both Argentine Bahia grass and St Augustine perform well in hot summer months and their drought tolerance is well-desired in southern regions. However, the thing that mainly distinguishes them is their appearance. Where the Bahia grass has a light green color and crow-shaped leaves, st augustine has a deep blue-green color of leaves.
Even though they share similar characteristics and offer a common range of benefits, Bahia grass is low maintenance in comparison to st augustine. Growing properly requires less water, less attention, and low amounts of fertilizers. Bahia is also known to be more drought-tolerant than the latter.
Apart from their closely related origin, these grasses have little in common. They may offer similar benefits but there are plenty of ways you can distinguish one from the other. Comparing them makes it easier for you to decide and helps you understand your preferred grass type properly.
Look below at the detailed comparison of Argentine Bahia grass vs st augustine grass and see which is the most suitable option for your lawn.
Comparison- Argentine Bahia Grass vs St Augustine
As mentioned above, there are plenty of similarities and differences between Argentine Bahia grass and st augustine grass. Let’s explore each in detail
- Argentine Bahia grass
Argentine Bahia grass, commonly referred to as highway grass, is a perennial grass variety that appears year after year on your lawn. Bahia grass, in general, is native to Central America but Argentine Bahia grass stems from South America (mostly Argentina). This grass type has a fine texture; its green color is darker than normal Bahia grass. You can expect it to range from light to medium green.
This grass makes up for a desirable coastal turf, and it is mainly distinguished by its v-shaped seed heads. Argentine Bahia is coarse-textured, and its leaf blades are broad in size. You can easily identify it in your lawn by looking for 2 v-shaped spikes with brown/ black clustered flowers. Its leaves form an open canopy, and it grows through underground rhizomes. The growth will be dense (often invasive), and the stems will be colored red or pink. Argentine Bahia grass establishes a thicker sod than other Bahia varieties.
- St augustine grass
St augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is also a warm-season grass that has been the lawn owner’s favorite for a long time. It is native to the southeastern United States and has a distinct appearance, unlike any other grass variety. St augustine forms a dense turf with a medium to dark green color. Unlike Bahia grass, st augustine relies on above-ground stems (stolons) for its growth and reproduction, and you can spot these narrow stems on the lawn surface.
Some of the main appearance factors of st. Augustine grass has a medium height, thick growth, coarse-textured leaf blades, and rounded edges. The leaves are 3-5mm in size and they have a flat and hairless appearance. St Augustine grass is not exactly pleasant to walk on with bare feet but it forms a dense and full growth on your lawn.
One way that differs between Augustine and Argentine Bahia is the appearance of their flowers. As mentioned above, Argentine Bahia has dual stems (v-shaped seed heads) that have clustered flowers on top of it. However, St Augustine grass has a singular raceme.
- Seeding rate
If you want to establish a new lawn, then, unfortunately, seeds are not a suitable option for st. augustine grass. It has a low seeding rate, meaning it barely produces enough seeds for you to buy. Even if you get your hands on st augustine seeds, they germinate poorly and produce a shallow turf. Your local gardening store is unlikely to have seeds, and you’ll need to use st augustine sods or plugs to start the lawn. These options are not only expensive but complex as well.
Argentine Bahia, on the other hand, has a high seeding rate, and its seeds are readily available. You can easily buy them from your nearest gardening store or nursery and start a Bahia lawn with minimum effort.
- Growth rate
Now for the most anticipated part, the good news is that both Argentine Bahia and st augustine grass have high growth rates, and they spread quickly in your lawn. St augustine grows through its stolons and carpets your lawn in a thick dense turf; however, this growth rate is slower than Argentine Bahia. Since Bahia grass has a high seeding rate, it reproduces faster than st augustine and spreads even faster.
If you are looking for quick results, then both Argentine Bahia grass and st augustine are the best options. But remember that st augustine is slower than Bahia grass, and it can’t grow without proper care, fertilizers, and maintenance.
- Argentine Bahia grass
You can’t just plant grass in your lawn and expect it to grow vigorously. Every grass needs has a certain set of needs and if your site doesn’t comply with those growth requirements, the lawn gets affected.
Argentine Bahia grass is a warm-season grass variety that prefers full sun and direct sunlight to grow properly. This grass can tolerate partial shade, but it needs at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sunlight each day, or else its growth will be stunted.
Its peak growing season takes place in warm climates i.e, late spring and early summer. Argentine Bahia is highly heat resistant and drought tolerant which makes it one of the few grass varieties that can survive the sharp summer months of the southern United States. Unlike other varieties, it will not lose its color during this period and will remain evergreen throughout the rough drought conditions. I
t is a low-maintenance grass that can easily grow in poor soil conditions. Where other grasses need fertile and nutrient-rich soils, Argentine Bahia’s deep root system also allows it to grow in unfavorable and infertile soil types. All it requires is a well-draining system, and growth will be lush. The preferable soil ph would range from 5 – 6.5, and you can plant it in regions where other grass types are unlikely to establish.
Furthermore, Argentine Bahia doesn’t need much water either, and 1- 1.25 inches of water per week would ensure a healthy green lawn. The best way to water this grass is by directing water pressure toward the roots and making sure that the top 7 inches of the soil are deeply soaked.
- St augustine grass
Since st Augustine is also a warm-season grass, its growth requirements are not all that different from Bahia grass. Its peak growing season takes place in summer and the best time to plant it comes right around the mid-summer season. One of the most desirable features of this grass is its shade tolerance.
When compared to other warm-season grass varieties, St Augustine has a much higher tolerance rate and it can thrive with only 4 hours of direct sunlight. However, it is not as drought-tolerant as its opponent and needs constant watering in order to remain lush and green.
As for its soil requirements, unfortunately, st augustine is not as low maintenance as Argentine Bahia, and its needs are much more specific. If you want a healthy st. Augustine lawn, then you need to ensure that your growing medium is well-drained, fertile, and rich in nutrients.
It won’t survive in poor soil types, but sandy soil is a viable option. It needs a soil pH that ranges between 6 – 8. This number is higher than Argentine Bahia grass, but you can adjust your soil levels with accessible methods. A similarity between these two types of grass is that none can grow in clay soils.
Much like Argentine Bahia, st augustine also needs little water. Since these grasses are mostly planted in coastal areas, rainfall fulfills their water needs. St Augustine also needs 1 inch of water per week, but you should divide that amount into two and give your lawn 0.5 inch twice per week. Gaps in between watering sessions prevent the risk of waterlogging.
Adequate lawn maintenance is the key to a healthy lawn. Bahia has a deep root system which means that you don’t need to water it as often as st augustine grass. Apart from the general watering, there are other maintenance needs as well. Before you choose a grass type for your lawn, you should take a deep look into the maintenance requirements of your preferred type of grass and see whether you can provide it or not,
Argentine Bahia is a low-maintenance grass that thrives in infertile soil mediums and has fewer needs than st augustine grass. It can grow with the minimum input on your part, making it easier for you to maintain it. On the contrary, the st augustine lawn requires proper care and additional fertilizers to thrive fully.
St. Augustine is not all that bad, and even in maintenance, Argentine Bahia grass needs more mowing than st augustine grass. It only goes into dormancy for a short period which means that its growth is ample and active for the rest of the year. Since Argentine Bahia has a higher seeding and growth rate, it needs to be mowed frequently during the growing season. Whereas St augustine tends to appear more attractive when kept higher, and it doesn’t need to be mowed as often.
This grass has desirable features, making it one of the most popular turfs for hay production in southern parts of the country. Even though Argentine Bahia is primarily used as pasture grass, it can also be used for other purposes. It is a pretty common choice for wildlife habitat and sod-based rotation.
Since this grass is highly adaptable to poor soil types and unfavorable site conditions, it can also be planted to control erosion. Generally speaking, you can plant this grass in any area where sandy and infertile conditions are found.
Meanwhile, St augustine grass is best suited for home lawns. It establishes a dense and coarse textured turf that is pleasant for the eyes. It has good durability, and it can survive the heat of the south. It is a common choice for Florida lawns and golf courses, but its tolerance to salt makes it an excellent choice for beach houses as well.
Common pests and diseases
Once you identify the pests and diseases, you can take necessary measures to prevent infestation. It’s best to watch for potential threats because even summer lawns as tough as Bahia and st augustine are vulnerable to pests. You can use pre-emergent herbicides, post-emergent herbicides, and weed control products to fix the damage, but the best way to prevent diseases is by maintaining a healthy lawn.
|Argentine Bahia grass||St augustine grass|
|Mole crickets||Chinch bugs|
Which One To Choose
A few things can make this important decision easy for you. Firstly, you need to ask yourself which qualities you want your lawn grass to have. If you live in a dry region where droughts are common, Argentine Bahia’s excellent drought tolerance will aid you best. Afterward, you should consider your preferred lawn appearance. If you want a dense, thick, and coarse-textured lawn, then st augustine is a great option. Meanwhile, Bahia grass should be chosen for quick growth and medium green color.
The most important question is whether your lawn can fulfill that grass’s growth requirements. For instance, Is the weather suitable? If cold weather dominates your location and winter months are prolonged, neither of these grasses is suitable.
Is the soil type ideal? If you have an infertile sandy lawn, you can choose Bahia grass, but if your site has well-draining and fertile soil rich in nutrients, you can plant st. Augustine as well.
Make sure to consider your budget before choosing a grass. As discussed above, you can’t start an st augustine lawn with seeds, and plugs/sods are extremely expensive. St. Augustine also requires more maintenance, so if you are looking for an affordable variety, the Argentine Bahia will be a much better option.
Argentine Bahia Grass vs St Augustine Summary
In this article, we compared two of the most common warm-season grasses; Argentine Bahia grass vs st augustine. At last, we can conclude that these grasses are different in a number of ways. From their appearance, growth factors, growth requirements, and maintenance requirements to their uses, features, and pest resistance.
They vary from each other quite noticeably. However, they both come from the same origin so their differences are not as opposing as one would imagine. For instance, they both can grow in sandy soils and establish beautiful lawns but a St Augustine lawn will need the sandy medium to be fertile whereas Bahia will be able to grow in infertile soil types as well.
If you have come to a situation where you have to choose between these two types of grass, we recommend considering each factor and evaluating which one seems more beneficial for your property.
Did you find this article helpful? We hope it made you understand the differences, similarities, and general comparison between Argentine Bahia and st. augustine grass. Share it with your friends and family as well.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.