Pensacola Bahia Grass Vs. Argentine: How To Identify Them?

Pensacola Bahia and Argentine grass share the same origin – Bahia grass.

But there are still certain differences between Pensacola Bahia grass vs Argentine in how to care for and grow. Both are good choices if you’re looking for pasture grass for your yard.

The following sections will be extremely helpful if you want to know more about them or consider which is better. Don’t overlook the best way to take care of them!

Bahia Grass Overview 

pensacola bahia grass vs argentine

Pensacola Bahia Grass

Due to its large root structure, Pensacola Bahia is very drought resistant. It does well in both hot and cold climates, but it performs better in colder climates than Argentine.

Since Pensacola can recover well from damage caused by frost, it is grown farther north than Argentine one.

Argentine Bahia Grass

Argentine Bahia is darker green than Pensacola and growing in a denser sod.

Compared to other types of grasses, it can withstand hot and cold weather better, although it does best in warm, humid climates like those in the tropics.

Both varieties of Bahia enjoy full sun, but Pensacola does better in the shade than Argentine. This is not the best option if there is a lot of shade because it will succumb to tree shade rapidly.

Pensacola Bahia Grass vs Argentine Bahia Grass: Differences 

Argentine grass is darker in color with wider blades, but it falls short of shade resistance yet can withstand wet and poor soil conditions better.

Pensacola Bahia thrives in transitional zones, but Argentine prefers hot, humid tropical regions.


Compared to Pensacola Bahia grass, the Argentine Bahia one has wider, darker-green blades. It develops a few seed heads and becomes a thick one.

Long, narrow leaves and numerous seed heads are notable features of the Pensacola Bahia. The depth of its root system can reach up to 8 or 10 feet.


The origin of Pensacola Bahia vs. Argentine Bahia is the same.

After being found in Brazil in 1914, this type was initially employed as a pasture grass in the Southeast of the United States.

Escambia County extension agent Ed Finlayson discovered Pensacola Bahia growing in open spaces and along street edges near Pensacola’s docks.

Since then, new types of lawns have been developed, and they have gained popularity as low-maintenance types for sandy and infertile soils.

Foliage & Growing Season

These perennial Bahia love the sun. In places that are prone to drought, the two species are common. Their primary differences are their leaves and growing seasons.

As mentioned, while Pensacola is whiter and less dense, Argentine grass has thick, dark green blades. Pensacola blades are a tad longer and slimmer than the others.

Their lush season begins at a somewhat different time. Argentine Bahia begins growing in the late spring and continues into the fall

But Pensacola Bahia starts its journey in the early spring, quite similar to fescue grass’s growth stages. By late summer, though, its active growth rate has significantly slowed, and its quality has declined.

Durability & Tolerance

Argentine grass enjoys direct sunshine and is vulnerable to freezing temperatures, frost, and other low temperatures, which typically cause winterkill. It is more resilient to poor soil conditions than Pensacola.

The Argentine kind can stay in still water for a while and is more resistant to wet and hot weather and severe rain than the Pensacola varian, though a little interior to marsh grass types.

As for Pensacola, although part of the top growth is killed by frost in some regions, it quickly grows back when temperatures rise.

Thanks to its thick and extensive roots, it can withstand droughts very well.

Even if the Pensacola lawn isn’t properly hydrated, it won’t quickly perish. So this planting can save a lot of time for people with busy schedules.

Additionally, it can tolerate shade better than the Argentine one, which withers and dies soon. This Pensacola variant is something to consider if there are high structures and trees around.

Ergot Resistance

Ergot is a smut disease that impairs seed heads, harms cattle’s health, and can affect the Argentine type more.

Dense grass produced by ergot seed heads requires replacement every three to five years.

Still, ergot can be tolerated to some extent by Pensacola.

Growing Zones

These two types of Bahia grass are tropical and vulnerable to frost. They grow best in Hardiness Zones 7-11.

The Pensacola is typically found in the Northern and transitional zones because, even though frosts can injure its green leaves, warm weather generally sparks recovery.

But the Argentine is preferable in hot, humid tropical regions.


Due to having fewer seed heads, Argentine Bahia is planted in more backyard lawns in the Southeast.

In Florida and other coastal regions, it grows as pasture grass. It makes superior feed than Pensacola because it appeals more to cattle and horses.

According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Pensacola is the variety of Bahia grown most frequently.

It typically grows in green lawns and near roadways as pasture grasses for decoration and visual appeal.

Seed Heads

Pensacola has longer, heavier seed heads than Argentine.

It’s interesting to note that these two grass varieties reproduce very differently.

As apomixis, Argentine seeds are identical to the parent plants. On the other hand, Pensacola seeds are a recombination that occasionally differs from the parent.

Because of this, Pensacola is textured, and the Argentine type of grass has a more uniform appearance.

Does argentine bahia grass spread? It doesn’t spread quickly but grows into a dense carpet of grass. Therefore, a healthy lawn is durable enough for heavy traffic but difficult to maintain.

Pensacola Bahia Grass vs Argentina Grass Lawn Care 

bahia grass typesbahia grass types


Bahia grass thrives in direct sunlight and is ideally suited for southern climes. It dislikes being in shaded locations.

Soil Water

Argentine vs. Pensacola Bahia grass do well in the soil where other types of lawn struggle. It is the best option for nutrient-deficient, sandy, poor soils.

For this type, acidic soil is a requirement in terms of pH. Alkaline or neutral soil might contribute to issues like iron insufficiency.

Humidity And Temperature

Summer heat is one of several difficult situations that this grass can withstand.

Although Argentine Bahia vs. Pensacola Bahia grass doesn’t need a lot of water to survive, excessive humidity offers a lot of moisture.

The deep South and Gulf Coast regions are optimal for this grass type to flourish.


Bahia lawns need little fertilizer, which explains why they are simple to maintain. You should get a soil test done before fertilizing.

Give fertilizer following these findings if any needs are shown. Otherwise, adding too much fertilizer or when it is not necessary could have opposite effects.

Lawn Care

February Through May

  • Weed prevention and fertilization: Use fertilizer in the early spring to protect your established lawn against crabgrass.
  • Mowing: As soon as your grass grows, begin to mow. To increase stress tolerance and promote deep roots, cut them at a height of 2 to 3 inches.
  • Seeding: Late spring and early summer are the best times to seed or overseed your lawn once soil temperatures are typically in the 65° to 70°F range.
  • Weed control: When grass and weeds aggressively grow in the late spring, treat your lawn with weed-killer products to control emerging ones.
  • Watering: If necessary, water your lawn to keep the desired shape. Overwatering makes grass brittle and vulnerable to lawn ailments.

June Through August

  • Mowing: Maintain the ideal mowing height of 2-3 inches for your lawns.
  • Soil testing: To verify soil pH, test your soil every three to four years. Bahia prefers acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
  • Fertilization: Use the right fertilizer to feed your Bahia Grass lawn. Bahia stays green thanks to the extra iron.
  • Watering: Only water them when needed to keep their color.
  • Pest control: With insect killer chemicals, you can stop lawn damage and the spread of mole crickets, chinch bugs, and other lawn pests.

September Through November

  • Mowing: Up until the growth stages stop and the Bahia Grass goes dormant, keep mowing it at 2 to 3 inches.
  • Weed control and fertilization: Treat weeds and fertilize your Bahia lawn six to eight weeks before the first anticipated frost in your area.
  • Overseeding: Wait until Bahia grass turns dormant and brown before overseeding if you want your lawn to have winter color. 
  • Watering: To keep the color of the grass, only water when necessary.
  • Leaf Management: Rake any fallen leaves to remove them.

December Through February

  • Mowing: If your lawn grows all year, keep mowing at the standard height.
  • Watering: Only if necessary, water the dormant lawn to avoid desiccation. Give overseeded lawns 1 to 1.25 inches of water each week.
  • Weed control: For dormant Bahia grass lawns, spot-treat winter weeds because their green color stands out against the static grass.

Pensacola Vs. Argentine Bahia Grass: Which Is Better? 

types of bahia grass

Compared to Pensacola, Argentine has a shorter growing season and emerges later in the year, but it is denser, darker green, and has fewer seed heads and finer blades.

Another factor to consider is that Argentine Bahia grass’s color fades several weeks earlier in the winter months.

Because frosts can damage Pensacola’s leaves, but warm weather typically prompts a recovery, it is generally chosen for the northern and transition Zones. Tropical climates that are warm and rainy are ideal for Argentine grass.

The final choice depends on your area and requirements to determine the most suitable for your house.


Is Pensacola Bahia Grass vs. Argentine Harmful To My Dogs?

No. Pensacola vs. Argentine Bahia is frequently utilized as cattle pasture grass since they are not poisonous to dogs, cats, or horses.

Dog owners disagree over which variety of Bahia grass is ideal for a dog-friendly yard. Since Argentine grass is denser, most dog owners prefer it to keep their dogs’ paws safe from harm.

How Long Do Pensacola Bahia Grass And Argentine Take To Grow?

Depending on the soil conditions, Bahia grass takes between 3 and 6 weeks to grow.

When your area is warm enough for it to germinate, the grass can grow in 3 weeks, but if the soil is cooler, it may take 4 weeks for the grass to start to sprout.

When Should I Plan My Bahia Grass?

The ideal planting seasons for Bahia grass are late spring and early summer. It is most active in the late spring and summer months.

Final Thoughts 

The choice between Pensacola Bahia grass vs. Argentine grass boils down to  your preferences and local climate.

They don’t take too long to plant and grow. You can maintain them for a long time with proper care without much effort.

However, there are also a few differences between them that you need to consider to choose, and the Argentine type is a bit more preferred.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

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