Tips to Improve Your St Augustine Grass
A newly installed lawn looks so beautiful and stunning but what happens when that lawn that you invested your time and money in turns from a dream lawn to a nightmare? What went wrong? this has been the unfortunate experience of so many, the good news is there is hope to revive your St Augustine grass to its former glory. What to keep in mind is when your St Augustine starts to decline may be either underlining issues that need to be addressed or poor management practices that are contributing to St Augustine’s decline.
The good news is these issues can be addressed and corrected so your St Augustine grass can bounce back to good health, it’s going to take some work however but you will achieve the desired results as you follow this guide.
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St. Augustine Grass Issues
- Wrong Cutting Height
- Cutting To Often
- Mowing with a Dull Blade
- Lawn Pests
- Lawn Disease
- Poor Quality Soil
- To Much Foot Traffic
Although St Augustine, water requirements need to be met to encourage healthy growth, and an excessive amount of moisture can lead to decline, monitor the amount of water that this grass type is getting. During the growing season when your St Augustine grass is growing actively supply 1 inch of water per week, soils that are sandy often require frequent moisture. Water (1⁄2 every 3 days), These amounts of water can be provided either by irrigation system or rainfall.
If you’re giving St Augustine grass more water than what’s required then cut back, if your grass is being irrigated by a sprinkler system shut it off during the rainy months because having your sprinkler system on during the rainy season can lead to grass deterioration as well
Fertilizing at the right rate will promote healthy lush green growth but excessive amounts or and overuse of fertilizer can cause more damage by burning your lawn. Fertilizers that are high in nitrogen will damage your lawn when overused, symptoms of grass burn include yellowing and browning of the grass along with root damage. Before fertilizing your lawn read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
Wrong Cutting Heights
The wrong cutting height can rob grass of nutrients, in fact, “grass clippings contain 4% nutrients, St Augustine grass should be mowed to a height of 2 1/2 to 4 inches. Lawns growing in shaded areas should be mowed at a height of 3 to 3 1/2 inches. When mowing in the summer never move more than a third of the leaf blade. If more than a third of the leaf blade is removed St Augustine will become stressed and discolored.
Taller blades provide shade for the grass root system to remain cool and hydrated during the summer months, when mowing in winter time your mowing frequency can be reduced to every 2 weeks because of slow growth during this time of the year. Ensure however that the grass doesn’t get too tall which can present problems when the spring months return.
Cutting To Often
St Augustine grass should be mowed once per week during the growing season, which is typically from April through October in Florida. During the summer months follow the mowing heights as discussed earlier which is 2 1/2 to 4 inches.
Mowing with a Dull Blade
Ensure that your lawn mower blade is sharp at all times because a dull blade will tear the leaves or the grass blades causing it to take on an unattractive appearance. A brown cast will also develop. When this happens your St Augustine grass will become stressed and weak which will encourage weeds and disease. At least once a year sharpens or replace the lawn mower’s blade.
If certain parts of the lawn have high spots then adjust the blades by raising the lawn mower so these high-spot lawn areas don’t get scraped, if there are sinks or low areas in the lawn then those areas should be graded by topping dressing.
Even the best-kept lawn can come under attack by lawn pests however a lawn that is stressed because of bad maintenance practices will cause more damage by encouraging weeds and lawn pests. Pests of St Augustine include chinch bugs that suck the grass fluids leaving behind a secretion that blocks or inhibits the free flow of nutrients and water which causes the grass to wilt followed by death.
White grabs are also another pest of St Augustine grass, these soft-bodied C-shaped larvae of beetles like the Japanese Beetle and Europen Chafer, destroy the grass by feeding on grass roots.
Brown patch is a disease of St Augustine grass that’s encouraged by humid high weather that is caused by a fungus, this disease thrives best in rainy hot weather or irrigation to late in the evening when the grass can’t dry out in time. Take-all patch is a root disease that is influenced by fungus, in the beginning, the patch takes on a brown appearance.
The grass blades then wilt and become brown, when this happens the grass root system weakens. Tiny lesions in the grass are created by Gray leaf spots along with thinning grass and brown spots.
Poor Quality Soil
St Augustine grass that’s installed in poor soils will lead to shallow root growth, which will stop grass from developing hardy and healthy with adequate access to moisture and nutrients. Performing a soil test will show nutrients that are lacking and what should be added for proper grass growth.
Too Much Foot Traffic
St Augustine grass cannot stand up to or withstand heavy foot traffic like Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass, Perennial ryegrass, or Kentucky bluegrass. Try to stay off your St Augustine grass as much as possible. If there are tiny or dying spots in your lawn and depending on the size of your lawn can use aerate machine or aeration boots, for large lawns a professional company can do the job for you if you can’t perform the job yourself.
In case you missed it, here are the best lawn mowers and weed eaters for St Augustine Grass
- The best weed eaters for St Augustine Grass
- The best lawn mower for St Augustine Grass
- The Ego lm2101 Lawn Mower Work
The final word on how to revive St Augustine Grass
St Augustine grass is a warm-season turf that looks amazing once maintained, over the years I have worked with this grass type. If your desire is to have a green lush healthy lawn then following this guide will help you along the way. A well-maintained grass can increase your property’s value which I think is a great investment. So be good to your St Augustine and your grass will be good to you.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.