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How to Take Care of St. Augustine Grass in Texas

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St. Augustine grass is popular in Texas because it thrives in hot summer temperatures and enjoys the mild winter weather. With good soil and irrigation, St. Augustine grass slowly grows a thick, lush turf that needs only occasional mowing. It grows well in acidic and alkaline soils alike and crowds out weeds and other grasses. Healthy, established St. Augustine grass is low-maintenance, requiring only regular mowing, irrigation and fertilizer to maintain a lush, dark-green lawn.

Water St. Augustine grass daily immediately after planting, then decrease watering gradually to once a week. Give 3/4 to 1 inch of water weekly

Fertilize St. Augustine grass with a balanced fertilizer after planting. Continue fertilizing at a rate of 1 lb. of nitrogen and 1/2 lb. of potassium per 1,000 square feet monthly during the spring through late fall. In highly compacted soils, reduce fertilization to every other month.

Apply an herbicide specially formulated for St. Augustine grass. St. Augustine grass grows thick and is able to crowd out most weeds.

Mow every one to two weeks to maintain the grass between 1 and 3 inches tall, cutting away only 1/3 of the blade with each mowing.

Remove both ends of a coffee can and insert halfway into the ground at the edge of a browning or yellowing patch to check for chinch bugs. Fill the can with water and wait about 10 minutes. Chinch bugs will float to the top. Control chinch bugs with two or more applications of insecticides per season as needed.

Care Of St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a tropical grass that is the most popular turf from Florida to central Texas. It naturally forms a dense turf and also has a good salt tolerance. If you're looking for a dense turf that thrives in a warm, coastal climate, you can't do better than St. Augustine grass. The turf is an attractive green and grows well in most types of soil. Normally a solid green, the grass turns a bluish hue when it needs water. When you do irrigate, do it in the morning and water deeply, to a depth of 3 or 4 inches, to encourage deeper roots. Alternatively, walk across your lawn, watching your footprints. Keep your grass thick and healthy by mowing with a sharp blade. If you mow grass shorter than this, you'll stress the grass and leaf blades, which will make the blades look less green. Dull lawn mower blades make rough cuts, causing the grass to look brown. Primary diseases of St. Augustine turf include brown patch, take-all root rot and gray leaf spot. These occur in hot, wet weather. Excess nitrogen and irrigation can encourage these diseases, so keep to the program. You can also scatter organic matter on the grass. If your lawn has been long neglected, you may be more interested in repairing your St. Augustine grass than maintaining it. What exactly should you do? First, make a "keep off the grass" rule for the indefinite future.

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