The University of Florida Extension recommends growing St. Augustine grass in Florida home landscapes. This grass variety forms above-ground stolons that spread across the lawn for quick establishment. The best method of planting grass in Florida is through sprigs or sod. Planting a sprig lawn costs less than sod but requires more maintenance during the installation process. Increase the establishment rate of sod and springs by limiting the amount of walking or use of the lawn for the first month of growth.
Prepare the lawn soil for planting by working it to a depth of 6 inches with a tiller. Remove weeds and debris, and smooth the area with a rake. Roll the soil with a weighted lawn roller to smooth and compact the soil.
Dig 1-inch deep rows in the lawn to plant the grass springs. Place one scoop of grass plug starter fertilizer (1-2-1) into each hole using the measuring device that came with the fertilizer. Set the grass sprigs in the planting row 3 inches apart. Fill the row with soil so the grass blades are exposed.
Plant the entire lawn one row at a time. Sprinkle the soil after planting with approximately 1/4 inch of water. Water the lawn twice a day for the first month after planting. Water established lawns once a week during periods of dry weather during the spring months in Florida to prevent damage.
Apply a high nitrogen grass fertilizer once a month to an established St. Augustine grass at a rate of 1 lb. for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. Water the lawn to assist with absorption of the fertilizer.
Work the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Remove weeds and debris. Smooth the soil with a garden rake and apply 1-2-1 starter fertilizer to the surface of the soil at a rate of 1/2 lb. per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Roll the area with a weighted lawn roller to compact the soil.
Apply approximately 1/4 inch of water to the soil surface. Spread the rolls of sod across the lawn area in a brickwork formation so the short ends are staggered through out the lawn. Push the sod sections tight to each other as they are unrolled to prevent gaps.
Fill holes or gaps with a high quality top soil to prevent divots in the lawn. Roll the sod with a weighted lawn roller to smooth the area and to push the roots into the soil to increase the establishment rate.
Water the sod lawn immediately after installation to a depth of 6 inches. Continue to water to a depth of 6 inches daily for the first month after installation. Deep-water applications stimulate deep root growth in the sod.
Apply 1/2 inch of water to the sod if the blades appear wilted. Fertilize established St. Augustine lawns with a high nitrogen fertilizer once a month at a rate of 1 lb. for every 1,000 square feet of lawn.