How to Grow St Augustine Grass: The Ultimate Guide

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If you’re looking for a lush, green lawn, St Augustine grass may be the answer. St Augustine is a warm-season grass that can thrive in climates with hot summers and mild winters. It’s also resistant to many types of pests and diseases, making it a popular choice for homeowners and landscapers alike. In this guide, we will discuss how to grow St Augustine grass, from planting to fertilizing to mowing. We’ll also provide tips on how to care for your lawn once it’s established. So if you’re ready to learn more about this versatile grass variety, keep reading!

What is the grass Augustine?

Augustine grass is a type of grass commonly used for lawns. It also has another name, which is used much more often than the first, which is Charleston grass. It is most popular in warm regions of the United States because it loves sunshine and does not like frost.

What is the grass Augustine?
Photo from @_yin______

This kind of grass does not need too delicate care, but it must be properly cared for. Thanks to professional gardeners, there are universal tips for caring for augustine grass. The most important thing they advise is to follow the weather, because in different regions of the country, it will change differently. It is important to calculate the date of the first frosts and of course the last, otherwise you can seriously damage the grass without giving it proper care before the cold weather starts.

Augustine grass thrives very well in temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive drought and still retain its beautiful rich green color. The herb has wide, flat stems and can grow quite large. Augustine grass also grows well in soil with a pH range of 6 to 6,5.

Peculiarities of caring for Augustine grass

The features of growing grass include more than just controlling your lawn whenever you want. Here, it’s important to follow a special calendar for planning your lawn care. After all, each month or period will have a completely different care of the grass. This process is very important to follow, because without it, the grass will quickly fall into disrepair.

Peculiarities of caring for Augustine grass
Photo from @_yin______

It may be difficult to get used to this calendar at first, but over time you will not forget how to properly care for the grass in any given season. Then you won’t have to use the prompts anymore.

Grass care from January to April

Augustine Grass Shearing

The best time to cut St. Augustine grass is late winter. Remember that the grass will be green in late April or early May, so it is important to cut it before then. Lawn mowing can be done in two ways: with a lawn mower or by hand.

If you choose the lawn mower method, it is important to check the sharpness of the mower blade here, as well as set a mowing height of 2 to 2.1/2 inches. If you set it too low, it will inevitably damage the lawn, so be careful. And a blunt blade will inevitably damage the grass, where it will simply rip it in half. Torn grass from blunt blades will become more susceptible to diseases and pests.

Augustine Grass Shearing
Photo from @st_augustine_lcn

If you choose the manual method, it’s important to just rake up all the dead grass residue from the lands. Remove all debris from the lawn to free up the grass for further growth.

During the mowing phase of Augustine grass, you may have trouble removing the straw. A sorter with blades set 1/4 inch deep will be good for removing straw. It is important to have 2-3 inches between them, as this is important for a good cut of the straw and its removal. A hand rake may be used instead of a lawnmower. It is important to be very careful when picking up the straw so as not to damage the turf.

Aeration Augustine grass

First of all, it is important to aerate the lawn regularly. This process will ensure an efficient and complete air supply to the grass roots. This method should not be used only if the soil has previously been treated with herbicides against weeds. Therefore, if in such a case to start aeration holes in the soil, it will damage the herbicide layer and weeds will be able to break through it.

Aeration Augustine grass
Photo from @grass_by_victor

It is allowed to create the aeration process together with the collection of straw. Also keep an eye on the condition of the grass itself and the weather. It is better to do aeration when there is definitely no frost.

Weed control

Weed control is an important part of growing St Augustine grass. There are many herbicides on the market that can be used, but be sure to read the label and follow all instructions.

St Augustine grass is incredibly susceptible to weeds such as dewclaw, wheatgrass and sand spurge. These annual weeds like to grow at the very beginning of Augustina grass flowering. To get rid of them, you need to use pre-emergent herbicides, which will fight the weed seeds, at the stage of their regrowth. It is better to treat grass against such weeds in mid-February or early March.

Then comes the fight against other types of already heat-loving weeds. It is very important to watch the color of the grass. If it has already started to turn green and you have not yet had time to treat it with herbicide, allow time for the grass to turn completely green, and then treat it. Weeds that have emerged should be weeded.

Insect kill

Augustine grass is most susceptible to the bedbug and medfly. These insects appear as soon as it starts to get warm. Frosts and freezes will keep the insects from multiplying too much, but as soon as temperatures become steadily warmer, they will multiply at a high rate. In such a case, you need to monitor the reproduction process of insects and if you notice that there are too many of them, it is important to apply an insecticide. In the horticultural store, special insecticides are available specifically for this kind of treatment of plants. But be sure to read the instructions for use of the drug.

Insect kill
Photo from @st_augustine_lcn

Augustina grass can also be susceptible to attack by the Japanese beetle. It is important to watch the plants and inspect the sod for white grubs that can live under the sod, too. An insecticide is also used to kill them.

Fertilization process

An important step for effective augustine grass growth is fertilization. But here it is important to first check the condition of the soil for its composition before you start fertilizing. Testing can be done with a special kit sold at a gardening store. It will show you what the soil composition is at the moment and what it will need to add.

Watering the augustine grass

Between January and March, this time is called the dormant grass period. Here it is important to water it, depending on the precipitation that has been in the winter. Winters vary from region to region in America. Winters that are too dry, cause the grass to begin to dry out. Here it is important to water it once a week if there has been no rainfall for 3-4 weeks.

It is also worth paying attention to what the soil is made up of. Sandy soil does not hold water well, but clay soil does. A soil probe will help you keep track of moisture levels.

Augustine grass care from May to August

Augustine Grass Shearing

During this period, the height of the mowing already increases, where the figure ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches. If the grass is in a shady area, it will be better handled with a lawn mower than one in the open sun. Keep an eye on the condition of the blades, they should always be very sharp. Remember that blunt blades tear and damage the grass, which increases the risk of disease and pest infestation. It is advisable to use a mulching mower to cut such grass. It will leave the cuttings on the turf when you cut the grass. The cut grass will decompose and nourish the turf.

Fertilizing augustine grass

During this period, it is especially important to take the time to treat the grass with fertilizer. If you live in the northern part of America, soils there are usually acidic, so it is important to measure the soil composition before fertilizing. To replenish the acidity of the soil, if it is not acidic enough, you should add sulfur to it.

Fertilizing augustine grass
Photo from @mrlushlawn

In any other case, the soil will always require lime. You will also need to add 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per thousand feet of turf for the entire growing season. If the soil is sandy then, it is important to increase the fertilizer dose.Β On clay soil, it is worth reducing the fertilizer dosage.

To enhance the green color of the grass, you can feed it with chelated iron. It should be fertilized about three times during the summer.

In early May, apply 1/2 pound of actual nitrogen per thousand square feet and phosphorus. Be sure to check tests for soil composition.

From June through July, fertilize the soil again with 0.5 to 1 pound of actual nitrogen, with a high potassium addition of 15-0-15. This fertilizer works very well with sandy soil types. If after a test it is found that the soil is deficient in phosphorus, you should add it as well.

In August, add 0.5 to 1 pound of high potassium nitrogen to the bud – 15-0-15. Also do a soil test that will show whether or not you should add phosphorus to the soil. Finish all the action with a potassium fertilizer.

If the grass turns yellow, it’s not getting enough iron, or it’s getting too much phosphorus. You can also spray the plant with liquid iron in early spring and fertilize with manganese sulfate, lime, and sulfur, but only after a soil composition test.

Augustine grass irrigation

Proper watering and irrigation is critical to a healthy, lush lawn. Watering St Augustine grass at the right time of day and with the right frequency can be the difference between a beautiful lawn and one that is struggling. Irrigate the grass to keep it from getting stressed. If you see the entire lawn with grass is dry, pour up to 1 inch of water on it. Wait until the water is completely absorbed into the soil before watering the lawn again.

Augustine grass irrigation
Photo from @leadinggear

A good tip on how to tell if your lawn is dry or not is the color of the grass. When it is completely dry, it takes on a bluish cast. Also, when there is a lack of moisture, crumpled grass does not regain its shape.

Water the augustine grass deeply, but not often. This is the best rule for this type of grass.

Insect kill

Augustine grass is infested with bears, bedbugs, spitters, larvae, ground pearls, nematodes and others during the summer. Bed bugs are especially active during hot and dry months. These bugs suck the sap out of plants and thus destroy them very quickly. You can control the extermination of insects with insecticides, which can also be applied in early spring. Your gardening store will be able to help you find the right insecticide that works against your insect species.

Diseases of augustine grass

Grass diseases in summer are most often caused by environmental stressors such as drought, heat, or conversely excessive moisture. Diseases common to St Augustine grass are gray leaf spotting, brown spotting, dollar spotting, and spring dead spotting. These are all fungal diseases that are important to monitor immediately. Greater heath – likes moisture, so when infected with such a disease, the grass should be given time to become dry.

Diseases of augustine grass
Photo from @homestead_lawn

If you notice that the turf around the edges of the lawn is turning brown and starting to rot, you need to apply fungicides.

Grey spot disease control occurs during the hot months of summer. The disease begins with purple spots on the leaves, and in the neglected stages the grass takes on a scorched appearance. Gray spot disease control is a fungicide treatment.

Weed control in summer

Augustine grass can be affected by the weed thistle and annual lespedeza in the summer. Here it is better to use three-component herbicides, where it is very important to read the instructions for use carefully before use. Do not use if summer temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, if the first sprouts appear, or if the grass suffers from drought.

It is important not to mow the lawn for 3 days before treatment, and it is also important to water it well, one day before treatment.

Augustine grass care from September to December

Cutting and fertilizing

Mowing should be done with a lawn mower, which sets the grass cutting height to 1 inch. Nitrogen should be excluded from the fertilizer, but sulfur and lime should be applied if the soil test is positive. Potassium will help strengthen the grass and give it a better overwintering process.

Cutting and fertilizing
Photo from @mgmturf

Watering the augustine grass

During this period, you need to water the grass without allowing it to completely dry out. Don’t water the grass too much, but follow the recommendations above on how to keep track of dry and wet lawns.

Control of insects, diseases and weeds

If you miss an insecticide treatment in the summer, the insects will grow to adults and can cause significant damage to your lawn. Here it is important to re-treat the grass with insecticide in time for the first frost.

Augustine grass is susceptible to big patch disease during this period. It is very important to treat it with fungicides.

A pre-emergent herbicide can be applied in September, which will act to kill the seeds of winter weeds. If you apply the product in September, you need to repeat the treatment after 8-10 weeks again.

If your grass is infested with stargrass, whitefly, and annual bluegrass, you should apply selective herbicides. If necessary, you can repeat the treatment after 10-14 days.

Nicolas Wayne

Gardening and lawn care enthusiast

Nicolaslawn
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