Pensacola has long, slim (narrow) leaves with an extensive root system that grows to depths of 7-10 feet. Pensacola also has more cold-tolerance than the other Bahia’s, thus it can be grown farther North toward and into the transition zone. Top growth is usually killed by “mild frost”, but it recovers fast with warm weather. In colder areas the Pensacola variety produces more early and late season forage growth than the other Bahia varieties.
This grass is a full sun, high heat, drought resistant, easily seeded establisher. It can grow in shadier conditions than most warm season grasses and is grown in conjunction with pine tree farming. Pensacola Bahia forms a dense, thick sod that can keep the weeds out and is very disease resistant with the mole cricket and army worms being the only pest problems. The fertility rates for Pensacola are lower than many other forage grasses and it can withstand heavy herd trampling and revover from overgrazing rather quickly. The recommended planting rate for pasture applications is 20 lbs per acre. Pensacola Bahia is not normally used for home yards due to how quickly the grass produces seed heads.
The dense root system of Pensacola also makes it an excellent choice for use in erosion control applications. Erosion control jobs include road shoulders, embankments, retention pond slopes, etc. These applications require blended seeds to be effective. The blends vary depending on the time of year for planting, and the planting zone. A typical blend will consist of Bahia, a quick-germinating host (millet or rye depending on the time of year), and Hulled Bermuda. At Wise Seed Company we custom blend our seeds for any application, and will provide guidance to help our customers meet any of their erosion control needs. Please call us at (863) 635-4473, and we will be happy to help formulate the ideal blend for your needs.
Normal (average) germination period for Pensacola Bahia is considered to be 28 days. When dormancy is broken in the seeds, they will germinate in approximately 28 days...during hotter summer months such as July / August, when rainfall is also plentiful, Pensacola Bahia seed can germinate in as little as 10-14 days. Higher soil temps coupled with moist conditions will also cause more seed to germinate. In applications where irrigation is feasible, the ideal watering schedule would be as follows: Water for one hour every day until germination occurs (two hours on extremely sandy soils), then one hour every other day for two weeks, then one hour every three days. If the area planted is receiving regular consistent rain, additional watering may not be required. Please bear in mind that local water restrictions may not allow for this schedule.
There are a few steps that should be heeded during soil preparation and planting to insure successful germination, and healthy growth of seed.
First a soil sample should be taken and analyzed. Soil samples can be taken to a local Agriculture Extension agent, fertilizer plant, or private lab for analysis. The analysis will reveal the soil type, pH, and other factors. The analysis will allow the agent to make recommendations as to what will need to be added to the soil to make it ideal for the type of seed to be planted. Most seeds will do well within a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
A properly prepared seed bed is essential for successful planting. The area to be planted must be cleared of debris and all existing vegetation removed. The area should then be chopped or disced as needed to create an even fluffy soil.
The preferred method of planting seed is with a grain drill or culti-packer. This equipment allows for precise metering of seed and depth placement. Most people will not have access to a drill and will instead use a broadcast spreader for planting. The broadcast method will work well, but also requires the area to be rolled to insure proper seed-to-soil contact. In areas with very fine sand, light dragging is preferred to rolling. In any case, seed should not be buried more then ½ inch deep with ¼ inch being ideal.
Fertilizer can be applied at the time of planting. Consult with an Ag extension agent or fertilizer plant for proper formula and application rates.
For any other questions about specific planting methods, please call us at (863) 635-4473 and we will be happy to assist you.