How to Install St. Augustine Grass

Overview

St. Augustine grass is popular along the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as in Hawaii, the Caribbean, southern Mexico, Australia and Africa. It's a tropical grass, and it needs warm winter temperatures to thrive. Its natural habitat is along swamps, beaches, marshes and lagoons, but it's gradually moving inland to areas like the Carolinas and Florida. St. Augustine grass is usually used for lawns because it does well as turfgrass with an average amount of maintenance.

Step 1

Install St. Augustine grass when the roots have time to become established before extreme temperatures set in. In the southern United States, for example, the best time for planting seed is the late autumn, winter or spring.

Step 2

Choose a planting site that has decent moisture. St. Augustine grass doesn't do well in water-logged areas or areas with drought. The best soil type has a pH between 5.0 and 8.5.

Step 3

Remove debris, weeds and branches from the planting area. Break up soil clumps that are more than 1 inch in diameter. Smaller clumps can be left as they are.

Step 4

Till the soil to loosen up the top 6 inches. Use a rototiller on larger planting areas and hand tools on smaller spaces.

Step 5

Spread St. Augustine grass seed with a hand spreader or mechanical spreader. Use 1/3 to 1/2 pound of seed on a 1,000-square-foot area. Set the spreader rate so that the seeds will be close enough together to establish a lush lawn but there won't t be too many in one spot, which will cause the seeds to fight for nutrients.

Step 6

Keep the grass seed moist. Water the area several times a day for 7 to 10 days to help the roots become established. The exact amount of water depends on your climate and the weather conditions--just make sure the soil is consistently moist. After the roots start to develop, water the grass 1/4 to 1/2 inch per day for another week.

Step 7

Fertilize St. Augustine grass the first three months after planting for best results. Use a starter fertilizer that contains a lot of phosphorous, following the label instructions. After the grass is established, fertilize once a month with 1 pound of food per 1,000 square feet of lawn.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid mowing St. Augustine grass until the roots are established. That usually occurs 10 to 14 days after planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Garden hand tools
  • Hand or mechanical spreader
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Texas Cooperative Extension: St. Augustine Grass
  • American Lawns: St. Augustine Grass
  • University of Florida: St. Augustinegrass for Florida Lawns
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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.