Palmetto is one of the many cultivars of St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). Developed on a Florida sod farm in 1988 and released to the public in the 1990s, palmetto is a favorite of homeowners. It is both shade and cold-tolerant, and can withstand temperatures down to 5 degrees F without browning. Palmetto has an attractive deep green coloration, soft texture and deep roots, allowing for a higher level of drought tolerance than other cultivars of St. Augustine. Install St. Augustine sod as you would any palmetto grass.
Store the pallets of palmetto sod in a shady area to keep the grass moist if you do not intend to install it the day you receive it. Install palmetto sod as soon as possible; it will brown and die if stored more than two to three days on the pallet.
Clear the planting site of any vegetation such as weeds or grasses. Dig the excess vegetation from the area or use a non-selective herbicide to kill it approximately two weeks before installing the palmetto. Turn off water to the area and spray the herbicide early in the morning. This allows the product to dry and the sunshine will speed up the process of killing the vegetation. Use the herbicide per the product’s label and select a product that will not remain in the soil long-term.
Rake the area clean once the unwanted vegetation has died. Remove the dead vegetation, rocks, branches or other unwanted debris from the planting site. Rake the area level so the palmetto sod makes good soil contact when installed.
Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of top soil over the planting site and rake the area level once again. Fill in any low areas with top soil to make them level. Water the area after spreading the top soil and before laying the palmetto.
Spray around sod-free areas with gardening marking paint or spray paint to make the sod installation easier. Spray around any trees, shrubs, flowerbeds, driveways or any other areas that are sod-free.
Install the palmetto sod one piece at a time starting at a corner of the area. Lay each piece close to the other, kicking each piece with your foot to firmly butt each piece against the other with no spaces between them. Continue laying each piece until you cover the entire area with palmetto sod.
Cut and shape the palmetto grass pieces with a large knife or machete to fit around any trees, walkways or other obstacles.
Water the palmetto sod thoroughly with 1 inch of water after the installation and every day for two weeks. Continue watering thereafter with 1 inch of water approximately two times per week.