The Q&A Archives: St. Augustine grass

Question: I am in the deep south. I was told by some St. augustine does not need to be aerated. Others say it does. What is the truth?

Answer: Regardless of the type of turf you are growing, if the soil becomes compacted aerating will help. Normally St. Augustine needs dethatching. Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed plant material that builds up on the soil's surface. Usually, more than one half inch of thatch on general turf areas decreases the turf vigor by restricting movement of air, water and fertilizers into the soil. Excessive thatch also restricts root development and provides a suitable environment for insect and disease problems. Thatch can be removed by a vertical mower or by other means of dethatching such as a power rake.

If your turf is old, if it has a lot of foot traffic, or if the soil is otherwise compacted, aerating will help. If you have a buildup of thatch, dethatching will help. Hope this answers your question!

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