St. Augustine grass is a very coarse textured,, easy to grow, and a species that roots at the nodes. Unlike bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass does not have what are known as rhizomes. Its stems (stolons) and overlapping leaf sheaths are generally compressed; leaf blades generally appear to be folded, and are severely contracted at the base, rounded at the tip, and smooth. St. Augustine grass is one of the many types of grasses here in Texas that has adapted to Texas yards and their moist, coastal areas with mild winter temperatures. It is known to be very tolerant of high summer temperatures, retains its color at temperatures as much as 10° lower than those which discolor Bermuda grass.
St. Augustine grass tolerates moderate shade, being as good or better than other warm season grasses for shaded sites. However, regular feeding in densely shaded conditions, will help to prevent thin, spindly turf. If fertility and drainage are adequate, St. Augustine grass tolerates a wide range of soil types and grows satisfactorily at a pH range from 5.0 to 8.5, but develops a chlorotic appearance in highly alkaline soils (above pH 7.5). This soft yet dense grass does not tolerate compacted or waterlogged soil conditions, and is also highly tolerant of soil salinity, producing satisfactory growth at salt levels as high as 16 mmhos. Bermuda grass will tolerate only slightly higher salt levels.
St. Augustine grass is used primarily for lawns however it does not tolerant traffic as well as some other warm season species. It produces satisfactory turf at moderate levels of maintenance which is perfect for kids playing and, effectively competes with weeds and other grasses and has only a few serious pests. In moist, warm climates St. Augustine grass maintains a satisfactory turf cover with only occasional mowing. In drier climates (below 30 inches annual rainfall) it survives with supplemental irrigation. At higher maintenance levels, St. Augustine grass produces a thick, lush, dark green turf that is highly preferred by homeowners.
St. Augustine grass is generally a coarser grass than some of the other warm season turf grasses. It is tough, aggressive, dense and loves hot temperatures. Very popular here in the State of Texas, it’s hardy covering is thick and well suited to the temperatures found here.
Benefits Of St. Augustine Lawns:
- Tough, coarse, mat-forming grass that can be seen throughout Texas
- Tolerates moderate shade and still grows well when fed regularly
- Spreads quickly and vigorously by runners (“stolons”) and is considered aggressive
- Can be sod or plugged for filling in and is a great selection for brand new lawns
- Mowed at approximately 3.0 to 3.5 inches in height
- Grow higher in shady areas if possible to keep density
- Do Not reduce the height of grass by more than one-third from season to season
- Normally needs about 1″ of water per week during the growing season
Performs best when Watered deeply and infrequently, unless there is an incline
Common lawn diseases found on St. Augustine grass are Brown Patch Disease and Gray Leaf Spot. These are considered the most serious diseases which are caused by fungi attacking St. Augustine grass. Although these diseases rarely kill St. Augustine, they severely weaken and thin the grass to the degree that the lawn is unsightly. The best way to combat these is to make sure preventive applications of fungicides are completed at the appropriate times.
Several insect pests cause serious damage to St. Augustine grass lawns. The Southern lawn chinch bug is a pretty intense pest on St. Augustine grass in the regions around Florida where the insect if active most of the year. In other states it ranks among the most serious pests along with SAD, brownpatch and white grub.
When discussing healthy lawns, St. Augustine grass is known to effectively crowd out most weeds.However, if it is not properly maintained or is weakened by insects or disease, it can be invaded by grassy and broadleaved weeds. Cool season weeds such as henbit, chickweed and clover are a serious problem in dormant St. Augustine grass. These weeds can be easily controlled by hormone-type herbicides in early spring.
There are some annual grassy weeds like fescue, annual bluegrass and crabgrass that are best controlled by timely applications of preemergence herbicides. Perennial grasses such as dallisgrass and bermudagrass are difficult to control in St. Augustine grass turf, but there are some products that can be applied as directed sprays to these weeds to obtain control.