St. Augustine Lawn Turf Grass

Geographic Zones: St. Augustine lawn grass grows in warm, coastal areas best. This includes the areas near the Gulf of Mexico as well as from mid-California down.

Water Requirements: In the coastal areas, where it naturally grows best, St. Augustine can survive on the average rainfall provided in these areas with very little additional watering. If the area you are attempting to grow in is further inland, grass water requirements will increase as well.

Fertilizer Requirements: Fertilization requirements are largely dependant on your soil. Keep in mind when fertilizing that too much fertilizer can cause lawn thatch and an increase in insect problems.

When to Plant: The best time to plant is in the spring or early summer, when temperatures are high.

Recommended Mowing Height: Height for this type of grass depends solely on your personal preference. It is recommended, however, that you mow the yard somewhere between 1-2 inches and that, in the fall, you mow ½ inch higher in order to increase density in preparation for the winter.

Light Requirements: This grass does best in areas with large amounts of sun exposure. While it can survive in somewhat shaded areas, it will become thin and spindly in these areas.

Best Places to Use: While it can handle a moderate amount of traffic, it is generally suggested for use in relatively low-impact areas.

Common Diseases: These include brownpatch, gray leaf spot, Pythium, Helminthosporium, rust, downy mildew, SAD (which is a virus only treatable by varieties that resist it), and others. Of these, the most serious are brownpatch and gray leaf spot. While they rarely end up killing the turf, they can severely weaken and thin the grass so that its appearance is greatly diminished.

Common Pests: There are several pests that can plague a St. Augustine lawn, including sod webworms, armyworms, cutworms, ground pearls, chinch bugs, and white grubs.

Soil pH: St. Augustine can grow in a wide range of pH levels, from 5.0 - 8.5, but at levels above 7.5, it can develop a chlorotic appearance.

Special Advantages:

  • Grows well in hot climates
  • Has a moderate tolerance for shade

Special Problems:

  • Produces a heavy thatch
  • Doesn't tolerate low temperatures or drought very well
  • St. Augustine requires a lot of maintenance to keep it healthy
  • Finding seeds available is rare. You must use other forms of planting such as installing sod or tiller shoots.
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