St. Augustine grass is a popular grass used often on home landscapes. Since this grass has been grown only a few varieties have developed. Bitter Blue St. Augustine grass was one of the original improved varieties that first became available. Although Bitter Blue grass has a darker green color and improved texture than common St. Augustine grass, it has a lower tolerance to the herbicide, Atrazine, making weed control harder.
Besides having an enhanced darker bluish-green color and better texture, Bitter Blue grass can tolerate shade better than common St. Augustine grass. It also is more tolerant of colder temperatures. Another benefit is that this type of St. Augustine grass grows slower so there’s less mowing.
Because Bitter Blue grass is a type of St. Augustine grass, it’s a warm season turf that’s typically found growing in the southeastern states of the United States. It also grows in other warm regions in the world including warm Australia, Mexico and tropical areas of Africa.
Establishing Bitter Blue Grass
Before laying down Bitter Blue sod, a new home or building site needs to be rough graded with all roots, rocks and other debris removed. When laying sod on an existing side, vegetation should be removed using a non-selective herbicide, which kills most plants rather than specific plant types.
Take a soil test for determining soil pH to see if plant nutrients should be added and an irrigation system should be installed. A final grading should then be done in which the soil is completely moistened so sod can be established.
Several pests that can affect Bitter Blue grass such as webworms, mole crickets, grasshoppers and chinch bugs. The odds of encountering these pests can be reduced by not applying high levels of nitrogen fertilizer to grass. Some nematodes also affect Bitter Blue grass. Signs of nematodes are plants thinning and turning yellow.
The two most common diseases attacking this type of grass are gray leaf spot and brown patch. Brown patch mostly occurs during spring and fall months, while gray leaf spot occurs during rainy summer months and is mainly a problem for new growth. Both of these infections can be controlled by using fungicides.
Lay sod using a brick-like staggered patterns so edges are firmly fitted together to prevent cracks between sod. A problem with weeds is a warning sign that Bitter Blue grass has become damaged because of poor management practices or pest damage.