Guide for St. Augustine Grass: Yearly Maintenance Program

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Guide for St. Augustine Grass: Yearly Maintenance Program

Guide for St. Augustine Grass: Yearly Maintenance Program

Most Effective Products

Supreme IT Insecticide
Suspended Concentrate
As low as $54.99
Barricade Granular Pre-emergent Herbicide
As low as $28.99
Fahrenheit Herbicide
Water Dispersible Granule (WDG)
As low as $30.00
Solutions Pro Grow Summer Blend 19-4-10 Fertilizer
As low as $42.99
Keith's Pro Tips

"Before the first mow of the season, remove dead st. augustine grass blades and excess thatch by raking to help promote new growth. By removing as much thatch as possible you are helping to spread more healthier cut turf to your property when mowing."

St. Augustine Grass Control: How to Maintain St. Augustine Grass Yearly

This page is a general St. Augustine Grass yearly maintenance program. Using the products and methods suggested you can get control of your turf. The st. augustine grass page gives additional information on the different species and specific treatment instructions and options. Follow this guide and use the recommended products and methods and we guarantee 100% improvement in your St. Augustine grass.

St. Augustine Grass is a warm-seasoned grass that is common in the southern and coastal regions of the United States. With its coarse blue-green texture, thick blades, it forms a mat-like covering even in shaded areas, requiring some level of maintenance. St. Augustine Grass thrives in warm tropical environments, and is an ideal turf to have near coastal regions due to its salt tolerance.

St. Augustine Grass has the best ability out of other species of warm season grasses to grow in shaded areas of your yard. St. Augustine Grass is able to use far less light to survive in areas without sunlight, but it still needs low to high exposure of sun. While there are a variety of St. Augustine grass species, some of the most common names it is known by is floratam and Charleston grass.

While St. Augustine grass is resistant to heat, drought, humidity, and salt it is not very tolerant to heavy foot traffic or cold temperatures. Compared to other species of warm-season grasses, St. Augustine grass is the least tolerant of cold and will need a good amount of water to survive.

Maintaining a yearly maintenance program can be difficult in states with diverse climates, but it is not impossible. You might need to adjust the schedule based on the years climate, weather, and your location. Follow our simple DIY schedule guide below using the recommended products while monitoring the weathers conditions during application and your St. Augustine grass will be looking great in no time. Our trained professionals are available via phone or email, if you have any questions.


St. Augustine Grass Healthy

Before you can move forward with a treatment program, you need to properly identify St. Augustine Grass by knowing what it looks like. Misidentifying St. Augustine Grass can lead you to using the wrong products, which can cost you time and money. Here are some traits to look out for when identifying St. Augustine Grass:

  • St. Augustine Grass is a coarse textured warm season grass that spreads rapidly through its stolon's above the ground. The stolon's are slender, and will branch laterally across your lawn. It will provide a dense mat-like coverage on your turf.
  • Has a low wear tolerance and cannot be used in areas where this is a lot of foot traffic. Ideal locations for St. Augustine grass would be your home or commercial building.
  • St. Augustine Grass is a creeping perennial and will form a dense coverage where it is established. It is ideal for warmer weather climates and along coastal regions due to its heat and salt tolerance.
  • St. Augustine Grass prefers warm climates, and shaded areas.
  • It is generally described as having large flat stems and wide coarse grass blades that rounds at the top.
  • Not many species of St. Augustine grass reproduce by seed instead it is established via sod, plugs, or stolons.

Use the above description and images provided to help you identify St. Augustine grass on your lawn. If you are unsure whether the plant is St. Augustine Grass or not, contact us with a photo of the plant and we will properly ID the grass for you as well as give you the proper product recommendations.


Healthy Landscape

After you have confirmed that the grass you have is St. Augustine, you can then move forward with inspection. During this phase, you will need to pinpoint the areas where St. Augustine grass is concentrated, if it is not mixed with other species of grass and what the conditions are. This will help you to determine where to focus your herbicide, fertilizer, and pre/post emergent treatment.

When to Inspect

St. Augustine Grass is a warm-season grass so it will typically be the most active in the early spring to late summer. To get a jump start on your care program, we suggest determining the species of grass on your lawn at the beginning of spring.

What to Look For

If you have St. Augustine grass growing on your lawn, they are hard to miss because it will usually cover the entire area of your property. St. Augustine Grass likes to grow in moist or salt enriched soil (ideal for beach homes), and areas where the turf is not exposed to much foot traffic.


Before starting any type of treatment, make sure to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that will protect your eyes, mouths, face, hands, and feet.

Since St. Augustine grass is a warm-season grass it is best to begin in the early spring or summer when the grass is young, healthy, and out of dormancy. Application will take multiple steps so the earlier you begin the faster you can take charge of the appearance of your turf.

Step 1: Test the Soil in February

Determining Type of Turf

In the early spring, when your turf is just awakening (usually at the beginning of February), you will take a sample of your grass and soil.

Send the sample to your local extension office, that is governed by the national pesticide information center. This is recommended for best and accurate results of the type and level of nutrients or possible underlying diseases within your turf you may have.

By understanding the level of nutrients, type of soil, and any possible underlying diseases you can choose the correct herbicide, fertilizer, or fungicide.

You can always contact a trained professional at Solutions Pest and Lawn for identification as well. Our team can also suggest products or tips you may not find in this article.

Step 2: Measure Treatment Area in February

Measuring Lawn

To determine the amount of herbicide, insecticide, or fungicide product to use, you will need to assess the square footage of the area to be treated. If unsure of the treatments area's square footage, follow the formula (length X width = square footage).

For acreage, you will take the measured square footage of the treatment area and divide by 43,560. Example, if you have a 12,350 square foot lot you will follow this formula (12,350 / 43,560 = .28 acres).

To determine how many pounds of fertilizer to use for a specific amount of nutrients is where the previous soil test comes into play.

You will need to divide the percentage of that nutrient in decimal form as contained in the bag into desired amount of pounds for that nutrient.

For example, in the Solutions 15-5-10 Weed & Feed Trimec Fertilizer, to determine how much fertilizer is needed for 1 pound of nitrogen you will divide the 1 from the level of nitrogen in the fertilizer.

In fertilizers it will always have three sets of numbers that represents the nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium which represents the npk (nutrient) level in the fertilizer. So, you will take the 15 (convert to decimal form) in the weed & trimec fertilizer and divide it by 1 to determine how many pounds should be used per sq. ft. (1 / .15 = 6.66 lbs.). Therefore, apply 6.66 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 sq. ft. to supply 1 pound of nitrogen (if that is the level of nutrient needed in the soil).

3. Replace Damaged Turf From February to March

Testing Soil and Grass

Within two to three months of the spring season your turf will begin to look a more vibrant green, but do not be dismayed if some areas are still bare.

You can replace these empty areas and achieve an instant lawn by sodding on days where the temperature is between 80 to 90 degrees. Sod is a type of grass that has already been planted and cut into a sectioned piece of grass that still contains the turfs roots.

This method is ideal for home owners with St. Augustine grass, because not many species of St. Augustine grass can be grown from seeds and must be installed by sods or planting plugs. Plugs are rooted pieces of sods that will eventually spread to empty spaces around them and form a dense lawn.

Before applying the sod to treatment area rake the turf to help loosen the dead grass roots and soil, thus allowing the new sod to grow more easily.

4. Mow Your St. Augustine Grass From March to July

Mowing Grass

Timing is key for mowing. Begin a routine mowing program when the St. Augustine grass is out dormancy and begins to turn green in the spring.

Typically, this will be at the beginning of March when the grass starts to actively grow. It is important to know that St. Augustine grass will require different levels of mowing in each season. Depending on the rain frequency (which stimulates turf growth), you may mow more than once a week.

From spring to summer, you will want to keep your mower at a low mowing height to allow your grass to actively grow. To achieve this you will need to set your mower setting between 2 to 2 1/2 inches high and for shaded lawns you will keep it at least 3 inches high. Be careful not to set the mower blades too low, as it may cut the root of the grass and cause the turf to brown, or wither from dehydration. Yes this does mean that you will have to mow more frequently, but this is a good thing because your St. Augustine grass will be stimulated to grow.

Another unexpected benefit, is when your mowing you will notice lumps of grass or dirt on your turf. When the blades of your mower pulls the grass from its core it is helping oxygen and nutrients to reach your grass roots by loosening the soil. This is known as aeration, which is something you can do after mowing to help your lawns. To help spread nutrients back into your yard either collect the lawn clippings to form into mulch or leave grass blades where they fell to return nutrients back to the soil.

In the fall, for either shaded or non-shaded turf you will keep it at least 3 inches high before you mow. Continue to mow until your lawn goes dormant for winter.

5. Water Your St. Augustine Grass Throughout the Year

Watering Your St. Augustine Grass

Watering your St. Augustine grass throughout the year is ideal for its health.

Like any other type of turf St. Augustine grass does well when watered up to an inch each week. St. Augustine Grass can sometimes require a little more water than other types of lawns, but depending on the season and environment this can be subject to change.

During winter, water at least once a week. Cooler regions with higher rainfall will not need as much watering. From spring to summer, you will water 2 to 3 times per week. If you see your lawn is not draining well then do not continue to water until water has evaporated.

6. Weed Control in August through September

Spreading Granule Product

Between the end of summer and early winter, we recommend applying a pre-emergent herbicide like barricade due to its effective rates of keeping broadleaf and grassy weeds from germinating. It contains prodiamine, a highly effective active ingredient that controls and prevents the growth of weeds.

Barricade can be applied at 4 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft.

Measure the square footage of your lawn to determine how much Barricade you will need. Once you have measured the appropriate amount based on your calculations, load the Barricade granules at the right calibration setting into a hand or push spreader and then apply the granules until your lawn is covered evenly to get a uniform application.

A push spreader is preferred if you have a large property to spread the granules on while a hand spreader, like the Plantmates Scatterox, is better for more precision and control over where you want to spread the granules.

After broadcasting the granules, you should then water in and activate them with at least 0.5 inches of water.

For weeds that have already emerged, we recommend using Fahrenheit Herbicide at 3 to 12 oz. of product per acre. To apply this product, you will need to use a handheld pump sprayer or backpack sprayer. Fill your selected sprayer halfway with the appropriate amount of water, then add the measured amount of Fahrenheit Herbicide, and fill the rest of the way with water. Close the sprayer lid and shake to ensure even mixture. Spray the top and bottom of the leaves, but not to the point of run-off.

Keep in mind to apply a pre or post-emergent herbicide at least three weeks after applying a sod or plug. You do not want to apply a herbicide in newly established sod because it may harm your sods roots.

7. Insect Control July through September

Insect Control

From the middle of summer to early fall, you may not see the insect infestation, but you are seeing their handiwork.

St. Augustine Grass attacked by insects will be withered and colored brownish-yellow. If you know you have a insect infestation, the first thing you will need to do is identify the pest. Without proper identification this can lead to unnecessary purchase of products. If your unsure, then you can look at our insect control articles or reach out to a Solutions Pest and Lawn team member. We are always happy to help with any questions you may have.

Our top recommendations for eliminating turf insects is Reclaim IT Insecticide. This product works best because it has a broad spectrum label, meaning they target a wide variety of insects. Reclaim IT Insecticide is a liquid concentrate that will kill insects within one hour and last up to 90 days. The longer this product fights against insects the better your St. Augustine grass will look in the long run.

Determine how much insecticide to use by calculating the square footage of the area to be treated.

To do this, measure (in feet) and multiply (length X width = square footage). Reclaim IT Insecticide can be mixed between 0.2 fl. oz. and 2 fl. oz. per gallon of water. For general pest applications we recommend 1 fl. oz. per gallon to treat 1,000 sq. ft., but you can find exact rates on the product label.

Divide your square footage by 1,000 to get the amount of spray you will need to use. For example, if you have 3,000 sq. ft. to treat, you will need to mix 3 ounces of Reclaim I/T in 3 gallons of water (3,000 / 1,000 = 3.) Load your sprayer halfway with the proper amount of water, add the measured Reclaim IT Insecticide, and then fill the sprayer with the remaining amount of water. Agitate well and apply a uniform coverage around the perimeter of home and apply on the top/bottom of foliage leaves.

8. Fertilize Your Turf from March to August

Fertilize Turf

From March to Late August, is when you may need to fertilize your St. Augustine grass.

As an aggressively growing species, this turf is not necessarily in dire need of fertilizers except for when the turf is just emerging from winter dormancy. Another way to determine when to fertilize your St. Augustine grass is to monitor its growth. If unsure, then it may be best to take a sample of your turf and have it tested at your local extension office to determine the present level of turf nutrients.

A granular fertilizer like Solutions 15-5-10 Weed & Feed Fertilizer, Pro Gro 19-4-10 Fertilizer, and Solutions 8-12-16 Fall Fertilizer is our go to product for fertilizations. Weed & Feed Fertilizer should be applied in spring (March), Pro-Gro in the summer (June), and Solutions 8-12-16 in the fall (August).

For the spring application, Solutions 15-5-10 Weed & Feed contains the best of both worlds with its combination of a fertilizer and weed killer. As a granular product this fertilizer will have a long residual effect within your St. Augustine grass and continue to help it provide an ongoing set of nutrients and protection against diseases and pests.

Before applying this product, make sure to cut your grass at least 1 to 2 days prior for better fertilizer activation within soil.

Determine the amount of product to use by measuring the area to be treated. Follow the formula (length X width = square footage) to find out how much square footage you have to treat.

For Weed & Feed Fertilizer applications in March you will need to apply 3.2 to 4.0 pounds of product per 1,000 square feet of turfgrass. For Pro Gro application in June, apply 5 lbs. of fertilizer per 1,000 sq. For Solutions 8-12-16 Fall Fertilizer, apply in August with an application of 5 pounds of product per 1,000 square feet.

Load your selected spreader with measured amount of fertilizer and put the spreader on the correct setting for your specific spreader model (check the label for details). If you are unsure which setting to use with your spreader, you can test your spreader settings on 250 sq. ft. of turf. You are aiming to apply at a rate of 1 pound of product per 250 sq. ft., so adjust your settings until this rate is reached. Begin broadcasting the product starting at the edge of the lawn and walk all the way around the perimeter of the yard at a steady pace. Then walk back and forth across the yard to cover the space in the middle.

Water the lawn 1 to 2 days after applying fertilizer.

9. Reapply Pre-Emergent Herbicide from September to December

Reapply Herbicide

The best way to ensure your St. Augustine grass continues to have a better defense against broadleaf and grassy weeds is to reapply a pre-emergent herbicide like Barricade between September to December (before ground becomes frozen).

Key Takeaways

  • St. Augustine Grasses works well with in warm, tropical environments with consistent access to water.
  • St. Augustine Grass does not have many species grow from seeds and will mainly grow from sod, plugs, or stolons.
  • There a number of herbicides to use, but we recommend Barricade.
  • Reapplication and monitoring your turf is necessary for successful results.
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