st. augustine grass - Knowledgebase Question

city of industry, Ca
Question by cocheeses65
January 12, 2010
my question is an easy one for you. i have st. augustine grass and i havent done much with it since october. i used the stuff to make it greener. what can i do to start rebuilding it and make it look good. as of right now its discolored and hasnt grown much. please help. thank you.

Answer from NGA
January 12, 2010


St. Augustine will resume growth when the air and soil temperatures warm up. There's not much you can do in January to make it grow and green up. However, there are some things you can do in early spring. In March you'll want to apply a corn gluten based pre emergent herbicide to keep weeds from sprouting. Regular watering and mowing will keep it lush and thick.

If your turf has been established for 4-5 years the soil may have become compacted which can suffocate the roots. You can rent a core aerator which will remove one inch by three inch plugs from the lawn. Leave the plugs on the lawn and they will dissolve in rain or water from the sprinklers. After aerating spread a thin layer of sand or compost over the area and water it in well. The sand or compost plus the soil from the plugs will work their way down into the holes left by the plugs and the grass will knit together to cover the holes in a few short weeks.

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. 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, again in June, another feeding in September and again in late November. 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). Healthy turf will choke out most of its weed problems. When the turf is thin and soil is exposed to the sunlight, weeds will sprout and you have a battle on your hands. So concentrate on the above 3 cultural practices and you will be very happy with the results. Best wishes with your lawn!

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