Tips for St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is used throughout the South in USDA Hardiness zones 8 to 11. This coarse, wide-bladed grass is native to the Southeast, is dark green in color and may turn brown during dormant winter months in colder regions. The blades of St. Augustine grass are wide, about 3/8 of an inch, and grow on flat, wiry stems. This grass is hardy and can stand up to a well-trafficked area.

Mowing

St. Augustine grass should be mowed to about 3 inches in the warm summer and 2 inches during cooler times. Because the grass with coarse, it should be mowed with a power mower for a clean cut.

Care

Unlike many other grasses, St. Augustine grass can tolerate shade, as long as it is well-watered. Grass should get regular water but can withstand heavy watering or rains. This grass should be fertilized about two weeks after winter dormancy with a St. Augustine-specific fertilizer, which should be high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus. St. Augustine grass may be used in coastal areas, as it is salt-tolerant.

Spreading

St. Augustine grass spreads easily and quickly on above-ground runners that may invade flower beds or other landscape areas. The runner roots are shallow and may be easily pulled out. The grass can be contained by low-landscape walls.

Planting

Because it is a slow grower, St. Augustine grass does not seed well and is best planted using sod, plugs or stolon. This grass is not fussy about soil and can grow in sandy, loamy or light clay soils, and can thrive in soil with a pH from 5.0 to 8.5. Upon planting, grass should be watered daily until it is rooted.

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About this Author

J.D.Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the U.S. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as writing about travel, health and other issues. Chi received her bachelor's degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward her master's in journalism.