St. Augustine Grass Guide

St. Augustine Grass: Characteristics, Planting and Maintenance

St. Augustine grass is one of the most popular lawn grasses in Florida and the Gulf states. It has a good tolerance for heat and humidity. While the St. Augustine grass thrives in high temperatures (generally 80 -100 °F), it also makes a good, dense turf, given its tolerance for soil salinity

St. Augustine grass has broad, coarse leaves and blue-green blades. St. Augustine grass produces a satisfactory turf that effectively competes with other grasses and weeds while fostering only a few serious pests If properly planted and maintained. 

St. Augustine Grass Basics

St. Augustine grass is primarily used for lawns, a warm-season species from the Poaceae family. It is a warm-season plant that usually does not produce viable seeds and develops well in moist environments but has limited drought tolerance. St. Augustine grass is popular and has an amazing demand for home lawns since it can retain its color even when the temperatures go as low as 10°, a climate condition that discolors bermudagrass.

St. Augustine grass also flourishes at a pH range of 6-7.5 but does not grow or develop well in waterlogged soil conditions or soil with poor drainage. It is also worth noting that, unlike bermudagrass, this perennial turfgrass does not produce rhizomes.

What are the Characteristics of St. Augustine Grass?

For a better understanding, let’s go through the characteristics of this perennial grass.

  1. St. Augustine grass features blue-green grass that depict dense turfgrass and is most popular in the southern United States.
  2. It can be exposed to cool temperatures but will still retain its color longer than any other warm-season grasses.
  3. It is tolerant to extremely high temperatures and low moisture.
  4. Once cultivated, St. Augustine grass propagates on its own through stolons, plugs, and sod.
  5. It is somewhat less drought-tolerant.
  6. This warm-season plant can grow and thrive in a wide range of soil types with a pH between 5.0 to 8.0. 
  7. It grows best in tropical climates.
  8. It can make a great choice for coastal yards due to its tolerance for soil salinity.
  9. It grows best in the warmth of spring and summer.
  10. St. Augustine grass is mostly popular for ranches, pastures, and home lawns due to its ability to create lush and dense turf. 
  11. Sometimes referred to as “carpet grass,” St. Augustine also comes with common diseases and pests. 
  12. St. Augustine is sensitive to chinch bugs.

How to Plant St. Augustine Grass?

Even though St. Augustine grass does not require high maintenance, it is important to know how you can develop this grass through proper irrigation and fertilization to achieve a lush lawn. However, before knowing the work involved in maintenance, you must know how to plant St. Augustine grass.

Planting St. Augustine Grass involves the below-mentioned steps:

Step 1: Measure the lawn

Measuring the exact dimensions of the area or your backyard where you plan to plant St. Augustine grass is essential so that you know the amount of St. Augustine grass plugs you need to purchase for the area.

Step 2: Prepare the Area

You will need to rent a sod-cutter to remove the old sod and vegetation if you are replacing your lawn or yard. This step also requires you to remove all the weeds from the root system so that they do not pop back when your St. Augustine grass is establishing itself. 

Step 3: Apply fertilizer and mulch

Apply a readymade mixture of fertilizer and mulch, or prepare one at your home to assist St. Augustine grass plugs to fill in faster.

Step 4: Irrigate the land

Before placing your St. Augustine grass plugs, you must water the entire planting area. Watering the entire area will make the soil more malleable and provide immediate moisture to St. Augustine grass plugs. Remember that the soil should have a good drainage system where the water is soaked effortlessly and is not stagnant on the surface. Keep saturating the ground until the soil stops absorbing water.

Step 5: Place Your Plugs

Create holes that are 12 inches apart and have the same depth. Now, firmly place the plugs one by one into the holes. 

Step 6: Water the land daily

Water the area regularly until the roots of this warm-season grass are established. The roots will take around 7-14 days to establish. Now, you can water your lawn weekly unless it receives generous rainfall.

Step 7: Monitor the lawn for diseases and pests.

You need to keep a watch on your newly planted St Augustine grass since it is susceptible to pests and diseases while it is being established. If you come across mildew or brown spots on your grass, it is better to reach out to the Eden professionals for immediate treatment. 

Apart from this, using the right type of soil, planting the plugs in the right weather conditions, following a maintenance schedule and controlling weeds effectively are some aspects you must consider before committing to St. Augustine grasses. 

What are the Maintenance Needs of St. Augustine Grass?

The turfgrass maintenance schedule and management practices vary depending on the climate and the region where your St. Augustine grass is growing. While thatch removal is important for some St. Augustine grass types, core aeration is required to solve poor soil infiltration and drainage-related issues. 

Eden recommends keeping the height of the grass between 2-4 inches and refraining from mowing more than ⅓ of the leaf blade. The Eden experts also suggest not to overwater your lawn, which may promote disease outbreaks. You can hire an expert to evaluate and keep an irrigation audit of different areas of your lawn for effective usage of water resources.

It would help if you consider controlling weeds using a pre-emergent herbicide, thatch removal, insect and fungus control, and applying low-nitrogen fertilizer during winter to achieve a gorgeous, vibrant green lawn. 

What are the Common Problems to Watch for in Augustine Grass?

Some of the St. Augustine grass problems you need to look out for are chinch bugs, sod webworm, gray leaf spots, weeds, and fungi such as anthracnose and Nigrospora stolon rot. 

You may also come across yellow patches on your St. Augustine grass after a few rainfall series. You may think the issue is due to the lack of sunshine or nutrients. The Eden landscapers say that the rainwater extracts the nitrogen out of the soil, which in turn causes the yellow patches. Also, the constant moisture in the soil makes your lawn a bit stressed, probably making the roots difficult to absorb minerals and nutrients from the soil.

To conclude, St. Augustine is a warm-season grass that has good tolerance for heat and humidity and thrives in high temperatures, making it a dense and attractive turf. The best time to plant St. Augustine grass is summer and spring, and it just takes 7-14 days for the grass to establish.

If you found this article helpful, consider looking at our other blogs for more information on landscapes, or reach out to us for our effective landscape and irrigation services. 

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