"Step into the Green: Creating the Perfect St. Augustine Lawn"

Team McFly Sep 02, 2023
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st augustine grass

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

St Augustine Grass For Lawns

St. Augustine grass is a stoloniferous turfgrass that spreads using aerial stolons rather than subterranean rhizomes, adapting well to various soil conditions but needing regular irrigation and moderate fertilization for best results. Unfortunately, it's vulnerable to diseases and pests, especially southern chinch bugs.

Bitterblue boasts a deep blue-green hue and fine texture, offering resistance against chinch bugs while not being as cold or shade-tolerant as other varieties.

It's Resistant to Chinch Bugs

St. Augustine grass is ideal for shaded lawns due to its hardiness in cool temperatures and dense turf, which thwarts weed competition. Furthermore, it can withstand moderate foot traffic and various soil conditions, including salt spray. Unfortunately, however, St. Augustine doesn't fare well when exposed to drought conditions, insect damage, or disease/fungus issues.

The southern chinch bug (Blissus insularis Barber; Hemiptera: Blissidae) is one of the primary insect pests attacking St. Augustine grass lawns, extracting nutrients and leading to rapid chlorosis and necrosis - even killing entire lawns if water stress has occurred. Although they're small and hard to spot, you might be able to spot one by looking out for patches of brown grass in your lawn.

St. Augustine cultivars that are resistant to chinch bugs include Floratam and Seveville. Floratam is often chosen because it is easier to maintain and most resistant to disease; Sevierville offers more shade tolerance due to its finer blade.

If you plan on planting your own St. Augustine, make sure it is resistant to chinch bugs and other pests, as these can quickly spread via sod pieces, plugs, and sprigs from other yards that have an infestation of these bugs. It would also be prudent not to import sod or plugs from other yards with known issues with chinch bugs into your garden.

Your shady yard areas should be watered and fertilized regularly without overwatering to avoid yellowish-brown turf that appears without proper care. An irrigation system that only waters when needed can help alleviate this issue; you should also rinse during cooler hours to prevent thatch buildup and keep a healthy lawn.


St Augustine grass is a tropical lawn used in residential and commercial landscaping. It can be easily established from sod plugs or sprigs, quickly spreading through an entire yard through underground stolons known as runners to produce dense dark green patches that crowd out weeds and other grasses, with low maintenance costs requiring only regular watering and fertilization; too much can lead to excessive thatch accumulation.

Eden experts suggest planting a St Augustine cultivar resistant to chinch bugs. Chinch bugs are tiny insects with needle-like mouth parts that pierce grass blades, sucking up moisture from beneath their blades. Furthermore, these insects inject saliva that hinders water movement through the turf. Left untreated, their damage may appear similar to drought damage.

"Floratam," introduced in 1973, is one of the most widely grown St Augustine grass varieties. With excellent tolerances to cold, frost, heat and drought, and shade conditions, this cultivar does not turn yellow under shaded areas like other cultivars. Additionally, it's resistant to Sugarcane Mosaic Virus; however, it might perform better in darker spots due to being denser growing habit and less frequent need for mowing time than Bermudagrass varieties.

The University of Florida researchers also developed the Captiva cultivar specifically to resist Sugarcane Mosaic Virus; the Captiva cultivar which offers resistance against Sugarcane Mosaic Virus as well as having tighter growth habits for more compact growth conditions as well as resistance from Sugarcane Mosaic Virus as well.

While a beautiful and functional lawn can bring much pleasure, improper care of one can become a serious source of headaches for homeowners. Proper care includes additional watering during summer and mowing on an ongoing basis depending on its maintenance needs. A lawn such as this may also be susceptible to fungal turf diseases like brown patches and gray leaf spots that are best managed with pre-emergent fungicide applications during spring and mid-season to keep it looking its best.

It's Easy to Maintain

St. Augustine grass is a warm-season perennial turfgrass popular in subtropical and humid states like the American Southeast, especially due to its drought tolerance, salt resistance, and rapid establishment from seed or transplanted sod. Once planted, it can spread more quickly via aboveground stems known as stolons which choke out weeds while making lawn maintenance simpler than with Bermuda grass. It can even tolerate higher heat and humidity more effectively!

Once sowing has taken place, water the plugs daily until they have become well rooted before beginning to water the lawn at a rate of 1/4 to 1/2 inch per hour to avoid over-watering, which will promote thatch buildup. Furthermore, ensure one pound of nitrogen fertilizer is applied every 30-60 days, as this will encourage strong roots.

Proper mowing of St. Augustine grass is paramount for its health and appearance. Mowing too short can damage stems and starve them of essential nutrients, making yellow lawns susceptible to pests and diseases. When mowing, aim to take no more than 1/3 off each leaf blade when making each pass and avoid scalping, which damages blades and cuts off their supply of essential nutrients - for optimal results, use an autonomous (robotic) mower if possible!

St. Augustine grass has many varieties, each offering different advantages and drawbacks. Bitterblue's fine leaf texture and resistance to chinch bugs make it more resistant; on the other hand, Raleigh is more vulnerable to large patches and gray leaf spot diseases; 'CitraBlue' is a semi-dwarf cultivar which can be cut to 2 or 3 inches; it offers excellent shade tolerance as well as being resistant against the disease chinch bug but lacks cold tolerance.


It's Resistant to Weeds

St. Augustine grass is a dense turf that crowds out weeds, making it an excellent option for high-traffic areas. Because its roots penetrate deep into the ground, less water is required to keep this lawn lush and green; however, regular mowing and fertilization remain key to its health and vitality. Jonathan Green & Son's grass seed blends feature varieties suited for shade or drought conditions for optimal performance.

St. Augustine grass thrives in southern states with mild winters and hot summers, where its climate provides ideal growing conditions. Tolerating partial to full sunlight - although brighter locations tend to do best - St. Augustine grows well on sandy and loamy soils, requiring little maintenance once established.

However, turfgrass can become susceptible to several diseases and insect pests, particularly the fungus brown patch. Fungicides may be used to control this disease and promote healthy turf. Grubs and sod worms can also be managed using early-season grub and sod control treatments.

An additional frequent problem is nutrient deficiencies. An absence of iron or nitrogen will cause turf grass to turn yellow, which can be remedied through Lawnifi Fertilizer Program, which features chelated iron.

St. Augustine can be planted year-round in Florida. However, for the fastest establishment, it should be done during its active growth period - this typically falls during warm periods between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Dwarf cultivars like Amerishade and Delmar require less frequent mowing as they can tolerate shade and salt tolerance but prefer milder environments.

It's Resistant to Downy Mildew

St. Augustine grass is a coarse-textured, stoloniferous species with deep root systems and aboveground runners known as stolons that spread by nodes, creating dense blue-green turfs which can be planted as sod, plugs, or sowable sod. It thrives in humid regions while sandy soils support it well, but overfertilization leads to thatch accumulation and lower plant vigor; additionally, it is susceptible to diseases and insects, cold weather conditions, and drought can also damage it.

Floratam, Seville, and Raleigh varieties have all demonstrated improved resistance to fungi, insects, and diseases; Floratam stands out as especially resistant against the chinch bug and SAD (stiff leaf syndrome) but does not possess the same level of cold tolerance as Texas common St. Augustine; thus should only be grown north of coastal zones.

Bitterblue, developed at the University of Florida and introduced into use in 2018, is currently the most advanced variety of St. Augustine for lawns. This cultivar boasts darker coloration than Floratam with coarser texture; improved cold, shade, and drought resistance; prostrate growth habit to compete better against weeds while needing less water than other St. Augustine grasses; all hallmarks of excellence when selecting lawn grasses for their lawn.

Maintain a lawn at 2 to 3 inches for optimal results. Mowing too short may damage the root system and shock plants, causing them to stop photosynthesizing properly, eventually killing them if done repeatedly. Heavy textured soils may require up to one lb per 1000 sqft of nitrogen fertilization to maintain the lawn's proper color and density.

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Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.