St Augustine Grass Care In South Florida

How To Care For St Augustine Grass

St Augustine Grass Care In South Florida-st-augustine-grass
A beautiful turf lawn

Maintaining a home garden along with a well-manicured lawn has many benefits for example beautification and increasing your property’s value, these advantages alone should be an inspiration to do what’s necessary to ensure that your St Augustine grass is in tip-top shape but to accomplish this requires some know-how. Below we will be discussing a lawn turf that will go to work for you as you spend time putting in the work.

A popular warm-season grass that’s a part of many landscape designs and home gardens is St Augustine, this grass type when well-maintained looks beautiful. I have worked on many projects from five-star resorts to private homes with this turf type. The proper care of St Augustine grass will reward you with grass that grows thick with a nice green that’s rich in color.

But to keep your St Augustine healthy looking especially as we are approaching the warm season requires putting the proper management practices in place that will reward you with a lawn that’s picture perfect. Here is what to do to ensure that your St. Augustine grass thrives, there is a saying that” the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” Why not let it be yours?

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7 Tips for St Augustine Grass Care

Planting Location

St Augustine grass loves the full sun but can withstand some shade, avoid the installation of this grass type in areas that are heavily shaded. However, if your St Augustine grass is planted in a heavily shaded area for example under a tree then it’s best to remove some of the tree’s branches to allow sunlight to reach the grass. The Bitterblue, CitraBlue, and Palmetto are more shade tolerant but still need some sunlight.

Soil Type

A good garden loamy soil is ideal for St. Augustine grass, a loamy soil will hold the right amount of water, has good drainage, and holds fertilizers for grass use. If your soil is not loamy then what you can do is add organic matter such as compost, leaves, turning over grass clippings in the soil, and peat moss are just a few materials to use to add compost to the soil. Other examples of composting are for example starting a compost pilehow to compost indoorshow to make organic soil, and garden soil amendment.

Watering Methods

Keep the soil evenly moist, or water your St Augustine grass 2-3 times a week, during the summer months may require an increase in irrigation. Apply ¼–½ of water. However, don’t over water which can lead to disease issues.

Fertilizing Methods

Provide your St Augustine grass every 6-8 weeks during the growing season spring through summer with an all-purpose fertilizer or Milorganite 6-4-0 Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer, The Andersons Innova 7-1-2 Organic Lawn Fertilizer, Scotts Natural Lawn Food, etc… Before fertilizer application read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

St Augustine Proper Cutting height

The proper mowing height for St Augustine grass can be anywhere from 2½ to 4 inches, St Augustine grass that’s grown in shady areas should be mowed at a height of 3 to 4 inches high. Many lawn mower brands can get the job done for you I have used many brands to maintain St Augustine keeping it beautiful for smaller lawns this mower has proven to get the job done making mowing very easy. For medium to somewhat larger lawns, this gas-powdered mower for a detailed finish it is good to have this tool handy.

Common Pests of St Augustine Grass

Common lawn pests such as white grubs may be active during this time of the year, mark or make notes of those areas and apply a preventive application the following spring or during the early summer months. Applications should only be applied when adult activity is at its peak, to know if there is a chinch bug issue look for grass in sunny locations that shows signs of yellow spots or drought symptoms. Next, remove the top and the bottom of a coffee can, push one of the cut sides of the coffee can into the ground, now fill the can with water. Within a few seconds if chinch bugs are present they will float to the top. If 15 or more chinch bugs appear proceed to treat with a lawn pesticide that’s formulated for chinch bugs. Before applying insecticides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. Lawn granular insecticides can be applied either by broadcasting or a handheld spreader for smaller lawns. White grubs are another issue, these insects can be found in the soil and can be identified as C-shaped and white with a brown head capsule to control apply this insecticide that has proven to be effective

Common Diseases of St Augustine Grass

Large brown patches of St Augustine grass usually develop during conditions that are cold and wet in the fall months, this disease is most active when soil temperatures decline 80°F. Keep a close eye out for this disease during the spring months as well, soil temperatures that reach 55°F for 4 days or longer should be treated with a fungicide. Large patches are also encouraged by low mowing heights, poor soil drainage, overuse of nitrogen during the fall and spring months, thatch accumulations, and overirrigation. Other signs of fungus are thin turf, straw-colored spots, circular patches, and yellow patches. Before fungicide applications read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

Downy Mildew Disease

Poor management practices can encourage downy mildew disease, but through proper management practices, this disease can be avoided. Poor air circulation will cause this disease. Downy mildew thrives when conditions are humid and wet. Dethatching and aerating your lawn as needed will encourage good air circulation. If dead patches of grass are discovered remove them immediately.  Water your St Augustine early in the day so the grass has time to dry before night time sets in.

Weed Control

To control goosegrass and crabgrass a preemergence herbicide should be applied in late February, postemergence herbicides will control broadleaf weeds. Before applying herbicides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

Dethatching Your St Augustine Grass

Because St Augustine grass grows thickly can develop thatch, thatch is a layer of dead grass and organic matter that settles just above the soil surface. Although a small amount of thatch is beneficial providing turf with nutrients as it breaks down a build-up of thatch can work against your St Augustine by preventing the soil from receiving air and moisture from rainfall. A build-up of thatch can also prohibit the health and growth of St Augustine.

Before applying a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring it’s good to go ahead and dethatch your St Augustine grass, before dethatching mow your lawn to half its normal height which is about 2 inches tall. Once that’s completed use a dethatching rake or a mechanical de-thatcher and run it across your lawn. Bag up your clippings and dispose of thatch. Once you’re done with dethatching water your lawn as scheduled for your lawn to regrow.

Renovation

If your St Augustine shows signs of bare spots or areas in May or when temperatures reach above  60°F continually treat these bare spots by using plugs planted on 12-to 24-inch centers or sprigs with space between plants at the rate of 112 bushels per 1,000 square feet. One square yard of turf pulled apart is equivalent to one bushel of sprigs.

Types of St Augustine Grass

There are several St Augustine grass types some of which include for example:

St Augustine Grass In South Florida-a-beautiful-lawn
A beautiful lawn
  • Seville: This turf type has a fine texture and is resistant to chinch bugs but is not cold tolerant.
  • Florentine: Has blades that are narrow giving a fine texture.
  • Floratam: Is resistant to chinch bugs but is not cold hardy.
  • Bitterblue: Drought and shade-tolerant.
  • CitraBlue: Drought and shade-tolerant, recovers from injury.
  • Palmetto: Drought and shade tolerant wear tolerance is good along with injury recovery.

Additional information to keep your St Augustine Grass Healthy  Looking

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 depending on the size of your lawn can use an aerating machine or aeration boots, for large lawns a professional company can do the job for you if you can’t perform the job yourself.

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 sharpen or replace the lawn mower’s blade, here is how to sharpen your lawn mower’s blade to keep healthy beautiful turf.

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 scalp, if there are sinks or low areas in the lawn then those areas should be graded by topping dressing.

The final word on St Augustine Grass Care

Caring for St Augustine grass is worth the investment because once properly taken care of will reward you with beautiful grass sprucing up your garden and landscape. This guide will help you to ensure that your St Augustine thrives and grows healthy.  Spring is just about here and the summer months are fast approaching so let’s take advantage of this time of the year by being good to our St Augustine because as we said earlier “the grass is greener or the other side of the fence” Why not let it be yours. Make your St Augustine the talk of the neighborhood.

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About the author

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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.