How to Make St. Augustine Grass Greener & Fuller

Overview

St. Augustine grass is native to tropical areas, so it grows very well in hot and humid regions such as the southern U.S., Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico. The species tolerates the hottest of temperatures, as well as moderate shade and salt. St. Augustine grass needs well-drained soil; the pH range doesn't necessarily matter, although it grows well in a pH from 5.0 to 8.5. Regular watering, fertilizing and mowing are essential to making the lawn greener and fuller.

Step 1

Irrigate St. Augustine grass often when it's establishing. For the first seven to 10 days, water it in many short bursts throughout the day. Once there are roots growing, cut back and water the grass up to 1/2 inch daily for one week. Then cut back to watering two to three times a week. After three to four weeks, it only needs to be watered on an as-needed basis.

Step 2

Choose a fertilizer with the highest nitrogen content possible. This will make St. Augustine grass greener. Nitrogen is the first element listed in the ratio, followed by phosphorus and potassium.

Step 3

Apply fertilizer when St. Augustine grass turns green in the spring. Two to six applications through the end of autumn is ideal. Slow-release fertilizer takes more applications than water soluble. Follow the application instructions on the label.

Step 4

Apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of grass. Nitrogen focuses on improving foliage, so it's your best for a healthy lawn. If you're using a slow-release fertilizer, you need 1 pound per 1,000 square feet.

Step 5

Get rid of weeds with an herbicide specifically designed for St. Augustine grass. A pre-emergence solution will kill crabgrass lingering from other seasons. Apply it in late winter or early spring before new growth. Use post-emergence herbicides in the summer for perennial grassy weeds.

Step 6

Mow St. Augustine grass after the first 10 to 14 days of germination to keep it greener and fuller. Set the wheel height on the mower to 3.5 to 4 inches. Cutting it shorter will invite pest problems, make the grass more susceptible to stress and make it difficult for the roots to grow deeply.

Step 7

Water St. Augustine grass if it's turning brown and wilting. Add 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of water. Don't water until the grass wilts again.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid mowing the grass too low. Don't cut more than 1/3 of a leaf blade at any one time.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Herbicide
  • Mower

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: St. Augustine Grass for Florida Lawns
  • Texas A&M University: St. Augustine Grass
Keywords: St. Augustine grass, grass care, green St. Augustine

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.