The Q&A Archives: Caring for Palmetto Grass

Question: Hello. I laid new 50/50 soil down and placed Palmetto Grass Sod in my back yard this past week. Some of the grass is doing well ... so far, but some of it looks like it's dieing. Will the grass come back or do I need to replace the sod in these areas? Do you also have advice on general care and maintenance of Palmetto grass?

Answer: Laureen,

Give the grass a little more time to see if it is going to turn around before filling in with new sod. Keep the grass well watered as it is difficult for it to survive in the heat until it can get some roots down into the soil in its new home.

Good lawn care can be summarized in three cultural practices: mowing, watering and fertilizing. If you will do these three properly, your lawn will be the best on the block!

Frequent mowing is better than infrequent mowing. Mow on a 5-7 day schedule, removing no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade with each mowing. For example, a St. Augustine turf should be mowed to 2 1/2" when it reaches 3".

While many homeowners like to water 15 minutes a day, your turf will benefit from a good soaking applied less often. Apply 1/2 to 1 inch of water once or twice a week. A coffee can makes a good rain gauge to test out how long it will need to be run to apply an inch. Frequent wetting promotes disease problems and a shallow rooted turf. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings and the grass will develop a deep root system and do much better.

Fertilize with no more than 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen in spring after you have mowed the grass twice, and again in fall (around late October). Apply a product with a 3-1-2 ratio of nutrients as this is roughly the ratio of nutrients grass takes in. So, for example, if you purchased a 15-5-10 fertilizer (15% nitrogen), you would apply about 7 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .15 = about 7). If you purchased a 21-7-14 fertilizer (21 % nitrogen), you would apply about 5 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .21 = about 5).

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