Lawn Care for St. Augustine Sod

Overview

St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a warm-season turf grass that is highly adaptable to a wide variety of soils. Adapted to warm, subtropical areas of the United States, St. Augustine is a popular turf grass used in many southern and coastal lawns due to its high salt tolerance. Consider the growth requirements of the various cultivars of St. Augustine when selecting one to use in your landscape. Some cultivars are more cold and shade sensitive than others, and some are affected by pest and diseases more than other varieties.

Step 1

Consider the amount of sunlight the planting area receives when selecting a cultivar of St. Augustine grass. Common, Floratam, Palmetto, Floralawn and FX-10 cultivars of St. Augustine have a poor tolerance to shade. Bitterblue, Floratine, Raleigh, Delmar, Jade and Seville cultivars are tolerant to shady conditions.

Step 2

Select a cultivar tolerating your area's coldest temperature, as some are cold hardier than others. Floratine, Floralawn, Common, Floratam and FX-10 have a poor tolerance to cold. Bitterblue, Raleigh, Delmar, Jade and Seville will tolerate cool temperatures.

Step 3

Mow St. Augustine sod approximately once per week during the warm growing season. Grass will go dormant in winter and will require mowing approximately once every four to six weeks. Cut the grass in a different direction each time you mow to cut down on thatch build-up.

Step 4

Cut the cultivar you are growing at the appropriate height for best growth results. Cut semi-dwarf varieties shorter than varieties with a normal growth habit. Cut Common, Bitterblue, Floratine, Floratam, Floralawn, Palmetto, FX-10 and Raleigh to a height of 3 to 4 inches. Cut Delmar and Jade cultivars to a height of 1 to 2 inches. Cut Seville to a height of 2 inches.

Step 5

Fertilize St. Augustine sod after the weather warms in spring and new growth develops on the grass. Apply 1/2 pound of a liquid fertilizer or 1 pound of a slow-release fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of sod. Use a 15-0-15 or 15-2-15 lawn blend applied two to six timer per year, starting in early spring through early fall.

Step 6

Water St. Augustine sod when the grass begins to wilt, turning bluish-green and the leaves slightly fold. When needed, saturate the grass with 1/2 to 2/3 inch of water. Consider your local weather conditions as watering schedules will vary during rainy or hot periods.

Step 7

Apply a pre-emergence herbicide to control weeds before they appear in early spring. Select a herbicide designed specifically for use on St. Augustine grass and apply according to directions. Apply post-emergence herbicides, such as a "weed-n-feed" formula, if the sod develops weeds. Use a blend specific for St. Augustine and apply according to the directions on the package.

Step 8

Use a fungicide or insecticide designed for use on St. Augustine sod if brown patches appear or insects such as chinch bugs or mole crickets become a problem. If the sod is overwatered, it can create a fungus problem. Apply at a rate directed on the package. Cut off both ends of a coffee can and stick it into the lawn where the suspected insects are and fill with water. Wait for five minutes and if chinch bugs are present, they will float to the top.

Things You'll Need

  • Mower
  • Water
  • Pre-emergence herbicide
  • Post-emergence herbicide
  • Fertilizer
  • Fungicide
  • Insecticide

References

  • University of Florida: St. Augustine Grass for Florida Lawns
  • Florida Turf: St. Augustine Grass
Keywords: St. Augustine care, St. Augustine sod, growing St. Augustine

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.