St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) flourishes in warm, coastal climates. This turf grass grows well in areas that receive full sunlight, but it also tolerates shady conditions. St. Augustine grass grows rapidly during the summer, gradually slows down toward late fall, enters a dormant period in the winter and slowly begins growing again in the spring. A few simple procedures make growing St. Augustine grass during the heat of summer an easy and rewarding experience.
Prepare the soil before laying your St. Augustine sod. Remove existing vegetation with a garden tiller and rake and add nitrogen fertilizer to soil low in this nutrient. (If you are unsure of the amount of nitrogen in your soil, perform a soil test.) This grass requires soil with good drainage, so add a little sand and peat moss to heavily compacted soils. Smooth the entire area and fill in any low spots to create an even planting surface.
Mow your St. Augustine grass to a height between 1 and 2 inches (3 inches in shady areas) every 5 days during the heat of summer. Use a mower with a sharp blade to avoid tearing and pulling grass blades. Short mowing creates stressed grass that allows invasive weeds to take over during the hot, summer months.
Apply water during hot, dry spells. St. Augustine grass requires little care in hot coastal areas that receive adequate rainfall during the summer season. However, grass grown in arid climates requires supplemental watering to keep the soil near the roots slightly moist. Keep your grass healthy in the summer by watering every few days in the absence of rainfall.