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St. Augustine

Botanical Name
Stenotaphrum secundatum
Height
Maintain at to 2 to 3 inches
Light
Full sun to part shade (cultivar dependent)
Soil
Well drained, does not tolerate waterlogged or droughty soil
Planting & Care

St. Augustine is a fast-growing warm season grass that is medium to dark green in color with a coarse leaf texture.  It is best used in warm, humid regions that are not exposed to prolonged or excessive periods of cold temperatures.

Plugging - Space plugs on 6 to 24 inch centers (depending on cultivar) in a diagonal grid pattern. Firmly tamp plugs to achieve good soil contact.  Closer spacing provides quicker coverage and reduces weed development.  Keep soil moist to prevent the roots from drying out.  Scout and remove any weeds that appear in bare areas between plugs.

Sprigging - Plant sprigs end-to-end in furrows 6 to 12 inches apart.  Stolons should be covered with soil, but make sure leaf blades are exposed.  Tamp soil and water thoroughly.  Keep soil moist until new growth begins and the area is covered in growth.

Sodding - Sod is the most expensive approach, but provides an instant lawn.  It also reduces the potential of weed competion.  Lay sod in a staggered, brick-like pattern.  Make sure edges of sod are fitted tightly together.  Roll and water sod to establish good root-soil contact.  Continue to continue to keep the soil moist to establish new roots.

  • Poor wear tolerance and does not hold up well to foot and vehicle traffic
  • Poor cold tolerance
  • Good salt tolerance
  • Make sure the mower blade is sharp for healthier and better-looking grass.
  • Remove no more than 1/3 the total height of the grass at one time to reduce the stress on the lawn.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn. Short clippings DO NOT cause thatch and break down quickly, adding moisture, organic matter, and nutrients to the soil. A season’s worth of clippings equals one fertilizer application.
  • The amount of fertilizer your lawn needs should be based on the quality of lawn desired and the time you want to spend managing your lawn. High quality heavily used lawns require the maximum amount of fertilizer, while low maintenance lawns need the least.
  • Start with a soil test so you apply the proper amount of fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Fertilize low maintenance Southern grasses in April and high maintenance Southern lawns in April, June and August.
  • Increase success and decrease the risk of damage by using Milorganite fertilizer. It’s an organic-nitrogen slow release fertilizer that won't burn the lawn and the iron is an added bonus. Plus, the phosphorous is non-leaching. And when the microorganisms work on the Milorganite it releases phosphorous and potassium bound in the soil, making it available to the grass.
  • Proper watering helps keep your lawn healthy and enables it to out-compete the weeds. Water early in the morning, if possible, and thoroughly when footprints are left behind. This encourages deeply rooted drought and pest tolerant grass.
  • Recent droughts and efforts to conserve water may mean a change of habit. If you allow your lawn to go dormant during drought, minimize foot traffic and play on dormant lawns.
  • Don’t apply herbicides or quick release fertilizer to dormant lawns. The fertilizer will feed the weeds and both can damage the dormant grass.
  • Once you let your lawn go dormant, leave it dormant until the weather cools and rains return.
  • A healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds. When weeds occur it usually means the growing conditions are better for the weeds than your grass.
  • Aerate lawns growing on compacted soil or with a half an inch of thatch or more.
  • Hand dig small populations of weeds. There are some new tools on the market that make this easier.
  • Spot treat weeds using the most eco-friendly products available.
  • Always sweep grass clippings and fertilizer residue off the walks and drives. This simple step keeps unwanted nutrients out of our waterways and eventually drinking water.
  • Consider using a push or electric mower. It’s good for the waistline and the environment.
Problems
Chinch bug, webworms, armyworms, grass loopers, mole crickets, large patch, gray leaf spot, nematodes, thatch
Varieties
  • Raleigh - medium green, best adapted to heavier clay soils with medium to low pH
  • Seville - fine texture, dark green, low growth habit, good shade tolerance
  • Palmetto - full sun to part shade
  • Floratam - coarse-textured, poor cold and shade tolerance relative to other varieties, needs at least 6 hours of sun daily, mow to a height of 3.5 to 4 inches

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