A sparse lawn is unattractive, but Plant St. Augustine grass in the summer to help it spread faster, and make sure you choose the right sort of soil and you are halfway there.
In warm areas, St Augustine is a robust, thick, carpet-like grass that grows prolifically. Stenotaphrum secundatum is its scientific name. Buffalo grass is the name given to it by gardeners in Australia and South Africa.
Individual grass blades are broad and flat, and the grass spreads by sending up runners above the ground. This enables the lawn to generate a deep layer that can withstand heavy traffic. Its preferred climate ranges from semi-tropical to tropical.
If you ask, will St. Augustine grass spread? It will, but to get your grass growing, you can use phosphorus fertilizer and maintain a consistent watering schedule.
One of the other ways is to lay sod or use St. Augustine plugs for your lawn. There is a bit of thinking about when you want to know how to plant St.Augustine grass. (Find the Best Fertilizer For St Augustine Grass)
Luckily, you can use this guide, and you will see how to make St. Augustine grass spread quickly, grow back, and produce a thick cover for a great lawn.
By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to get the best from your St. Augustine grass plugs.
How Do You Encourage St. Augustine To Spread?
Compared to most warm-season turfgrasses, St. Augustine grass has a dense growth pattern and spreads quickly. Above-ground branches help the plant spread quickly (stolons).
Because this grass species has a high traffic tolerance, it will continue to spread at a standard rate even if it is being used before it has filled in. Homeowners who don’t consider sodding as their chosen lawn establishment method may have to wait a little longer for a filled-in, functional lawn.
You don’t have to wait as long as you think because there’s always something you can do to help St. Augustine grass expand faster and thicker. (Read Is Milorganite Good For St Augustine Grass)
Here’s what you can do to speed up the growth and spread of your St. Augustine lawn so it can cover your entire lawn:
1. Use suitable soil
Before you plant St. Augustine grass on your lawn, make sure you choose a soil type that will support the turfgrass’s growth and spread because some soil types (such as wet soil) deplete the subsurface oxygen supply.
You may need to add additional topsoil to your yard if there are any bare places or uneven regions, as this helps prevent pooling.
Water-logging could cause your lawn’s poor growth and thin appearance. In compacted clay soils, this turfgrass does not develop or spread quickly.
St. Augustine grass grows best in well-drained soil (like sandy soil) with a pH range of 5.0 to 8.5. Even if the soil has a slightly acidic pH, you can see fast growth.
To top-dress a St. Augustine lawn, choose sandy loam soil or clean, free-flowing sand.
Use a DIY soil test kit and figure out what you need to do to your soil to give your St. Augustine the best chance of spreading.
2. Keep a maintenance schedule
Following the creation of your lawn, maintain it weekly. Watering, fertilization, and mowing are all essential aspects of adequate care. The spread of St. Augustine grass will be sped up because of this.
St. Augustine grass should be mowed to a height of 3.5-4 inches. It’s also crucial to apply a high-quality, slow-release fertilizer to help St. Augustine thrive.
Watering and irrigation are also vital. It includes watering several times a day for the first week after installation. Irrigate your St. Augustine grass sods/plugs with at least a half-inch of water for the second week using a sprinkler system.
By the sixth week, you should have reduced the irrigation frequency to only water the lawn when required.
3. Plant St. Augustine grass in summer
St. Augustine grows best in the summer because it is a warm-season turfgrass. As a result, you can establish your lawn in the middle of summer, when the weather is ideal for the growth and spread of this grass type throughout your lawn.
During the colder winter and fall seasons, St. Augustine grass typically goes dormant. If you desire a speedy spread, growing during these seasons is not suggested.
4. Carry out effective weed control
It’s also possible that you’ll need to eradicate weeds early enough to avoid nutrient competition and allow your lawn to thicken.
Unwanted weeds in your lawn will compete with your St. Augustine grass for vital nutrients. Weed invasion can seriously limit the target plant species’ growth and spread.
It’s critical to get rid of weeds in your lawn correctly if you want St. Augustine to spread swiftly and thickly. Crabgrass, dallisgrass, and most broadleaf weeds are common grass weeds that can impede growth and spread.
How Do You Fix St. Augustine Grass That is Thinning?
Should you have a lawn full of this warm-season grass, and it looks to be thinning, there are a few things you can do to help fix the issue, so you’ll see your St Augustine lawn grow thick again.
At the very least, you can make sure your mower is set to 3-3.5″ height and you mulch your grass rather than bagging it. Also, in the early spring and fall, apply about 1/4″ to 1/2″ of compost. Besides this, here are things to make St. Augustine grass grow to its full potential.
1. Prepare for Installation
St. Augustine is commonly purchased as sod rolls that may be laid up throughout your lawn. However, before planting St. Augustine, you must first determine the state of the soil in your garden.
Conduct a soil test to determine the best fertilizer for your grass, ensuring that it adapts to the soil and thrives in your garden. A soil test will reveal the soil’s pH level.
Because the ideal level for St Augustine grass is between 5.0 and 7.0, you may need to adjust the level of your soil before planting your grass.
Depending on your starting point, you might choose a fertilizer that makes your soil more or less acidic. This will ensure your Augustine grass grows thick to cover bare spots and will spread quickly.
It would help if you also made sure that the dirt was adequately graded and smoothed off. Grading merely ensures that the ground is level and even prevents water from pooling in different areas beneath the grass. Because St Augustine requires well-draining soil, water pooling must be prevented.
You can start placing your St Augustine grass once you’ve adequately prepared your garden.
After you’ve put your lawn, you’ll need to water it several times a day as it adjusts to its new surroundings and to make St. Augustine grass spread quickly. This can take up to seven days, so make sure you leave enough time in your schedule to care for your lawn.
For the next week, wet the grass every day, then several times a week for the following weeks, until your grass has been in place for six weeks. Once you’ve reached this point, your grass will have adapted to your garden, and you’ll only have to water it when it’s necessary.
The color of St Augustine grass changes when it needs to be watered, and the blades don’t respond as effectively when you touch them. It’s time to get the hose out once you notice these qualities.
Setting up a watering regimen for the first six weeks after your lawn is installed can assist the grass in firmly rooting to the soil beneath. You can use a garden hose, or better is to use frequent watering with sprinklers to get faster root development and get your grass to grow thicker. (Read When To Spray Lawn For Weeds)
You may see signs of drought stress, yet your grass quickly starts green growth rate again once you water it.
You can mow the grass once it becomes too unruly around your bare spots and you’re satisfied that the sod has roots have taken. It’s critical to mow your St Augustine lawn with a sharp blade at the correct mowing height to create the illusion of thicker leaf blades.
We don’t recommend cutting off more than one-third of your Augustine runners or grass blades. The thickest blade section is a third of the way down from the tip because of the St Augustine blades’ broad and flat nature.
Cutting any lower will cause thinner-looking blades and, as a result, a thin lawn. Cut it right, and you’ll make St. Augustine grass spread quickly right from the early stages of growth up to a thick lawn you’ll be proud of.
Fertilizing your lawn will help it grow thicker, but it’s not as easy as buying the first fertilizer you come across and praying for the best. Instead, look at the label of the specific grass you planted to see what nutrients it needs.
For nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, St Augustine will require a specific percentage ratio. You may have to figure it out to get the right fertilizer, which will take more time and effort than you’d like.
Choosing the right fertilizer can make a big difference in a thick lawn or not for your St Augustine lawn, so it’s a crucial step to consider before you start. Make sure you only fertilize your lawn with a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer during the busy growing seasons of spring, summer, and fall.
To help St. Augustine grass spread quickly, you’ll need to deal with weeds. Weeds growing on your lawn suck nutrients from your grass and can make St. Augustine grass spread slow. You’ll have to get rid of weeds one way or another, so your St. Augustine grass spreads as you want.
You can kill weeds chemically or by hand, but keep in mind that chemical weeders may injure your grass.
To control weeds and encourage fast growth and a fuller lawn, make sure you’re using a pre-emergent herbicide chemical solution that’s safe for St Augustine grass.
You’ll need to use a mild herbicide in the early summer, as weeds and your St. Augustine yard grass have the same active growing seasons.
What Is The Best Fertilizer for St. Augustine Grass?
There’s no denying that St. Augustine grass spreads to create a lovely lawn. Fertilization is required regularly, like any other grass, to keep it healthy and get St. Augustine grass spread green.
Choosing the finest fertilizer for St Augustine grass isn’t too challenging, yet but it’s also not a matter of grabbing any bag from the local garden supply. Understanding how to properly care for St. Augustine sod is crucial.
The most crucial aspect of fertilizing St. Augustine grass is to use the right amount of fertilizer. If you use too little fertilizer, St. Augustine spreads slower and less, and you won’t get the rich, dark green color the grass is known for. Too much fertilizer, and you can create a pest-friendly environment.
Any fertilizer containing one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of sod is the best for St Augustine grass plugs. Unless you use a slow-release fertilizer that may be spread every 10 weeks, fertilizing every two months is optimal.
How to Choose Fertilizer
A nutritional analysis is printed on the label of every bag of fertilizer, revealing the proportions and ratios of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
- Some calculation is needed, yet the formula is simple, and in-store lawn care staff can help. Assuming you have a 2,000-square-foot lawn and use a bag of 15-5-10 fertilizer, here’s how to work it out.
- To get the total amount of nitrogen fertilizer required, multiply 100 by the first number. 6.6 = 100/15
- Because each figure in the analysis represents the overall % of the nutrient, you’ll require 6.6 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in this case.
- Divide the total square footage of the grass by 1,000. 13.2 pounds of fertilizer = (2,000/1,000) times 6.6
Is Sand Good For St. Augustine Grass?
In this procedure, a thin coating of organic soil mixture is laid down as a top treatment for lawns. This method is used to give natural organic nutrients and minerals to the lawn, and it is highly advised for all lawn owners to use it regularly to feed their lawns naturally and enhance grass soils.
Uneven Saint Augustine lawns should be top-dressed with sandy loam soil or clean, free-flowing sand that contains no or very little organic matter.
It’s also possible to use soil from a nearby garden bed if it hasn’t had too much organic matter added to it; this should be the same soil that’s currently under the lawn.
For shallow indentations, the top dressing material you apply should be a depth of around one inch at a time. If the depression is severe and you have thin spots, wait until the initial top dress has been completely covered as the grass starts to grow through before applying another top dress.
After top-dressing, most of the top grass leaves should still be visible, and top-dressing sand should never entirely cover the lawn.
The sand or soil is then leveled, and the Saint Augustine lawn is irrigated with as much watering as your grass requires to deliver a beautiful lawn without getting waterlogged soil in the depressions.