St. Augustine grass is a type of grass commonly used in the warm humid states along the Gulf Coast. Its wide blades will form a dense, thick lawn that will stay green through the winter in some areas and can be grown in many types of soil. However, this shade-tolerant favorite is not without problems. It needs frequent watering during times of drought to stay green and is susceptible to pests, such as cinch bugs and grubs. It can also be affected by fungal diseases, like brown patch and take-all patch, and the viral disease, St. Augustine decline (SAD). When choosing St. Augustine for your lawn, you have several varieties available.
Floratam is a coarse-textured strain of St. Augustine that was released by Texas A&M and the University of Florida in 1972 as a selection that was resistant to both cinch bugs and the viral disease SAD. Floratam is not as cold hardy or shade tolerant as other varieties of St. Augustine. It grows best in southern Florida and the coastal regions of other southern states.
Raleigh is a cold- and shade-tolerant choice that is resistant to SAD and grows well in clay-like soils. It has a finer texture than Floratam, though still coarse, and a medium-green color. It is a good choice for northern parts of the coastal states due to its increased cold hardiness, but it is susceptible to cinch bugs and brown patch disease.
Bitterblue is a variety that was released in the 1930s. It has a finer texture and dark, blue-green blades. Bitterblue is not cinch bug or gray leaf spot resistant, but it is a more cold- and shade-tolerant type than some of the other varieties of St. Augustine grass.
Palmetto is a lighter green shade of St. Augustine that was released in the 1990s. It grows well in sun or part shade, but not in dense shade. It can be prone to disease problems, especially in very humid areas, but is resistant to cinch bugs.
Seville is a dark green, dwarf variety of St. Augustine released in 1980. Seville grows well in both shade and sun and is drought tolerant. However, it is sensitive to cold and should not be grown in the northern parts of the coastal states.