The Q&A Archives: St. Agustene grass

Question: I have St. Agustene grass in my yard and I love the way it looks....but I also have some spots that are kind of bare. Can I just throw some seeds in these spots, or do I need to do something else?

Answer: I think I'd do a little investigation into why some areas of your lawn are bare. You might be dealing with grubs or chinch bug feeding, with a disease of some sort or with compacted soil which will not allow water to penetrate. I test for chinch bugs by pushing my foot over the turf. If bugs jump up onto your shoe, they are likely chinch bugs. Chinch bugs feed on the roots. The second test is to dig up one of the bare areas, roots and all. If you see fat grubs hanging onto the roots, grubs are feeding on the roots. If neither of those tests are positive, inspect the soil in the spot where you dug up the turf. If it is compacted you might consider renting an aerator and aerating your entire lawn. On the other hand, if everything looks okay, just rake out the bare areas, mix a little compost into the soil and then take some plugs from a healthy area of your lawn and plant them in the bare spots. You can use a sharp knife or a small shovel to dig out strips or squares of turf, along with their roots. Plant them in the bare spots and water them in well. St. Augustine spreads so it will fill in any holes you made in the healthy turf and the plugs you planted will spread to fill in the bare areas. Good luck with your lawn!

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