St. Augustine grass is a small family of warm season grass varietals that thrive in warm and humid climates and like to be kept moist. St. Augustine grasses are notable for their broader blades and a coarser growth than many lawn grasses such as Fescues and Bermuda grasses. It sports a deep green color with blue undertones and quickly forms a dense, deep carpet effect, spreading with shoots that run along the top of the soil surface.
St. Augustine grass likes to be kept moist and should be watered deeply once each week to maintain the most attractive and lush appearance. When kept at a mowing height between 2 and 4 inches, weekly waterings should suffice in most conditions. During the hottest and sunniest at the peak of summer, you should shorten the watering interval to every four or five days to keep the lawn roots moist. As much as it loves moisture, St. Augustine grass will survive short periods of drought conditions.
Varietals of St. Augustine Grass
There are five main varietals of St. Augustine grass that are typically planted as sod or with grass plugs and each have some unique attributes that meet different environmental and appearance requirements. The five are: Bitter-Blue, which is best of the five for shade; Floratam, which is common in Florida and will thrive in direct sun and less-than-ideal soil conditions; Palmetto, which will survive in coastal and island climates, is better in cool weather and is often considered the standard varietal of St. Augustine grass; Sapphire, which has a thinner blade than most of the other varietals and sports a green-blue coloration and a softer feel; and Seville, which has a blue-green hue, is tolerant of salt from the air and water and will grow in shade.
Control Thatch Build-Up For Effective Watering
St. Augustine turf is a well known for producing heavy amounts of thatching, mainly from its aggressive stolons, that if allowed to build up can impede the percolation of applied water and nutrients down to the roots. This can quickly begin to compromise the health of the root system and result in less-than-optimal grass performance. Use a dethatching rake across the surface of the turf in a cross-hatching pattern at least once a year and twice a year if the thatch has already built up significantly.