Bahia is originally a Brazilian and exported as grass for cattle pasture. Of the three varieties grown here, Argentine, Common and Pensacola, the last one is most popular in the U.S. Southeast. Though it's not the most abundant grass, it has high nutritional value to a cow, and cow farmers have been known to roll it up into hay bales to keep their charges healthy and happy during the wintertime.
Besides cows, it's great for lawns. Like most grass you can crop or mow it repeatedly and it grows right back. This grass likes this part of the world; it shrinks from the shade and loves being in our abundant southern sunshine, doesn't mind our occasional draughts or sorry soils, is disease resistant and grows extensive, tenacious root systems (up to seven feet deep). Its predilection of growing on road rights-of-way has also given it the name “highway grass.”
The bad. You might remember in early May when Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrical) made stark patches of white flower fluffs on Camp Salmen’s Parish Parkway and along nearby Interstate 12. It actually looked kind of pretty, like white wheat waving in the wind. Trouble is, it’s a relentless invader from Southeast Asia, very difficult to eradicate, and our cattle don't particularly like it. It is in a Battle Royale with Bahiagrass and other grasses for dominance along Gulf South roadways. Each patch slowly expands and permanently takes over ground from both native and introduced non-native plants and we at Camp Salmen are intent in keeping it out of our park.
The ugly. You might notice a few bare patches along the Parish Parkway where we have bombed invading Cogongrass into oblivion. This condition is only temporary and, hopefully, good grasses will take its place.