Need help badly: Seeding Argentine Bahia

Need help badly: Seeding Argentine Bahia

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red rat – posted 19 October 2003 00:34

We live in SW FL and had a bahia lawn that looked awful (weeds/dirt). We put in a sprinkler system in anticipation of putting in a new lawn. After lengthy discussion, we opted to go for Argentine Bahia (seeding, not sod) instead of Floratam/St. Aug due to the maintenance issues with the Floratam. We killed weeds w/ weed killer, then rototilled entire lawn and raked out.

At present, we have reseeded the front and sides and prepped the backyard (we want to seed this within next week). The front was seeded at end of Sept., and is coming up, but we are not sure if it is just new weeds (see below) or actually the Bahia.

We initially did a trial on one side of the house without using weed killer, just rototilling, and put down plenty of seed. We are distraught because on that side we have a lush bed of new weeds (that looks much better than before), but no bahia. We watered 4 times/day for the first 30 days at approx. 10-15 minutes each. This seed was planted in late August. Any thoughts on why the seed never came up would be much appreciated, as well as any tips for rest of lawn as this is getting frustrating.

Thank you all, red rat

Craig – posted 19 October 2003 10:51

Red Rat,I had a similar lawn here in SE FL. Lots of weeds and sand. I tried seeding several types of grass and it never gave me what I wanted.

Your best bet is too kill what you have with Spectracide (which is what I like because it works faster) or Round-up.

Then, lay sod. Bahia is very inexpensive and available from many growers around the lake.

Give it some thought.


seed – posted 19 October 2003 19:02

red rat, Argentine bahiagrass can provide a rough but adequate turf in large sunny landscapes. It is slow to establish from seed, especially this time of the year (October). Best seeding months are from April to August, and it should not need any watering to come out of the ground during those warm, rainy months. This late in the year, you would probably do better to wait for April. Sod can be planted anytime. There is little or no point using Spectracide for vegetation cleanup. Use Roundup, because it will kill the grasses, which are your main problem. The broadleaf weeds can be mown down. Phil

redbird – posted 20 October 2003 14:25

Question for Phil,I just wanted more info on your opinion regarding Spectracide (not arguing, honestly curious). I’ve had such good luck with it killing every type of weed imaginable, much more quickly than Round-up. You obviously know more about chemical application than I do – why don’t you like Spectracide? Are there drawbacks I am unaware of?


jr – posted 20 October 2003 17:58

This spectracide question brings up another issue ive been thinking about. After reviewing the label for spectracide, it states it is a combination of diquat, the active ingredient in Reward, and fluazifop. It also states that it is a systemic herbicide. The issue comes to mind because there are some lawn maintenance people who like to mix reward in their roundup because the weeds look dead in a few hours, and assume the roundup will finish the job with the roots. However, this is not the case because the reward destroys the plants vascular system before the roundup is ever translocated to the roots and the weed will regrow. So, the thing with spectracide is that the fluazifop part is a systemic for grasses, but the diquat part destroys the vascular system on contact. Or at least that is my thinking on the matter, and if that is the case then it is not a systemic at all. Any other thoughts or flaws to my theory?

Craig – posted 20 October 2003 20:00

I can’t speak to the accuracy of the above post, but I know that I have used Spectracide with superb results. It has killed nearly every weed it came into contact with. It does not always kill bahia and St. Augustine. That sometimes takes more than one application.

However, because it shows results within 24 hours, it is easy to go back and treat areas you have missed. Roundup takes so long that it will take a week or more to show results. Everyone misses some areas when they spray large areas, so you will probably need to retreat anyway. I would rather use Spectracide and retreat within a few days rather than wait so long.

I am sold on Spectracide. The speed that it works out weighs the somewhat weaker product.


ted – posted 21 October 2003 11:49

no pros use spectracide. use professinoal strength roundup with a surfactant (sticker) you may have to wait a couple of more days, but you’ll have a better weed control. make sure whatever you’re spraying is green, actively growing, and wet.

seed – posted 22 October 2003 13:51

Spectracide is a brand name with at least five different weed control products (see below) containing different mixtures of active ingredients or different concentrations of ingredients, and with five different uses.

I do not know which Spectracide you are talking about, but not one of these five products removes existing perennnial grasses from areas that will later be replanted. That’s a more important problem in turf renovation than broadleaf weed control, in my opinion. Broadleaf weeds during establishment can also be severely reduced, if not eliminated, by mowing.

Each of these five may be a good product for the use for which it is intended, but not one product can get to the rhizome of tough grass weeds such as torpedograss and bermudagrass.


Here is part of the information available at http://spectracide.com

1. Spectracide® Total Vegetation Killer Concentrate – for bare ground vegetation control2. Spectracide® Systemic Grass & Weed Killer2 and Concentrate – edging (kills on contact)3. Spectracide® Brush Killer and Spectacide Brush Killer Spray Concentrate – brush control4. Spectracide® Weed Stop® Weed Killer for Lawns and Concentrate – A 3-way concentrate for broadleaf weed control; do not use on Floratam variety of St. Augustine grass in Florida.5. Spectracide® Weed Stop® Crabgrass Preventer Pre & Post Emergent Spray Concentrate – a preemergence herbicide

redbird – posted 22 October 2003 13:57

Phil,I think we are all referring to the systemic grass & weed killer. I actually had really good performance with it killing common bermuda, red sedge, bahia & centipede. The bermuda & red sedge ( I hope am identifying the red sedge correctly). Were tough as nails and did not respond well to Round-up professional strength diluted @ 2.5 oz. Per gallon (the recommended rate for bermuda grass. Again, I am not arguing – just talking. It really worked well for me.


jr – posted 22 October 2003 14:28

The label I was referring to was the ingredients of the grass and weed killer and I think the point of my comments and question is being missed. Spectracide does not work to kill grasses permanently and doesn’t work as a systemic. I’ve never used it nor has any other professional I know of for this reason. I was just throwing out a possible explanation for why it doesn’t work and to see if anybody else concurred with my reasoning, based on my knowledge of how the various herbicides work.I use Reward (diquat) mainly for aquatic weed control, and Fusilade (fluazifop) for over the top applications on perennial shrubs full of grassy weeds. Those are the two constituents of the Spectracide label. Diquat is a contact killer, and fluazifop is a systemic. The point is that a contact herbicide usually works by destroying a plant’s vascular system, which is the tissue that conducts materials from the leaves to the roots, and vice versa. A systemic herbicide has to travel through this system to get to the roots, to kill the roots. If the contact herbicide destroys the vascular system before the systemic gets to the roots (and it will because they work quickly) then the systemic ingredient is wasted. A costly example of this is the one I mentioned in the previous post, mixing Roundup and Reward to get a quick kill in planting beds.

redbird – posted 23 October 2003 05:13

JR,I understand your point – an interesting one that I am not qualified to comment on. I only asked about this issue because I am confused why the professional applicators on the forum have no confidence in the product (Spectracide) and yet it has worked well for many of the homeownwers who use it. Again, not starting an arguement or disputing anyone’s expertise – just curious about the positive results that many of us have experienced vs. the opinion of the pros.

I actually experienced a big problem trying to get rid of grassy weeds (planted intentionally by the builder) prior to putting down sod. An applicator who works for the builder did 3 round-up applications, one week apart – stuff kept coming back. I did an application of professional round-up myself (2.5 oz per gal) – stuff came back. Finally I divided the 8500 sf into two areas and used used two products a) round-up plus spectracide, b) straight spectracide. The grasses died and didn’t come back in both areas. I realize that this is only anecdotal experience, but it made me curious.


jr – posted 23 October 2003 13:16

Your experience does not contradict my post at all. It is entirely possible, even likely, to get a good kill on a difficult weed with a contact herbicide under the right conditions; it’s just a different function. The distinction between a contact herbicide and a systemic, to put it simply, is that a contact herbicide temporarily injures a plant and a systemic kills it permanently. However, you can injure a plant so severely that it will not recover. This is most likely to happen with a contact herbicide during hot dry weather and dry soil. If conditions aren’t favorable for a plant to grow anyway, and then you burn all of its above ground parts off with Spectracide, it will die. Pros generally prefer systemics because its more of a sure thing, that’s all.

Craig – posted 23 October 2003 20:04

I think the moral of the story here is that Red Rat should kill all of his existing ground cover (perhaps with Garlon 4) and lay sod.


Alex_in_FL (Lex) – posted 08 December 2003 17:04

While looking for a way to kill cogon grass (an invasive weed) I have learned a lot about fluazifop and roundup.

Both are systemics. The fluazifop will translocate before the diquat destroys the transport system (in most cases).

Round up is probably preferred because: (1) it kills more weeds (and crabgrass), (2) it has no residual action, (3) once it hits the ground it decomposes rapidly. Also Roundup kills several grasses that fluazifop doesn’t (example is zoysia). The diquat might kill it but most likely the zoysia would come back from the rhizomes.

Those are my thoughts and findings. Hope this answers (partly) the question you asked.

e8x72nbp3 – posted 30 December 2008 10:40

The company that markets Spectracide tells me that the only product safe for Florida St. Augustine/Floratam variety is Stop Weed for St. Augustine and xxx. It’s ingredient is atrizine.

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