Saint Augustine Sod and Turf Grass is a popular warm-season lawn grass that is worthy of consideration for a wide array of applications across a large sector of the globe.
St. Augustine is a very attractive, dark green grass with broad, flat blades that can form a dense layer. It creates a thick, carpet-like surface capable of crowding out most weeds and other competing grasses. This perennial, robust grass can be found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean including much of the southeastern United States, Texas, Mexico, California and Central and South America.
It is highly prevalent in the Caribbean and Mediterranean areas of the globe for many of the reasons other grass varieties are not. St Augustine is a vegetative grass that is only available for sale as sod or as plugs; you cannot purchase St Augustine seed. The roots of St. Augustine grass run deep although it is not as old as the United States city that bears its name. St. Augustine has been planted in Florida since the 1890’s and in California since 1920. St. Augustine grass is popular in residential, commercial and recreational venues. From homes to office complexes and parks to golf courses, this attractive and hardy grass is ready to stand up to a variety of challenges. Sod is considered the ideal form in which to take advantage of this sought after-grass.
St. Augustine plugs are also readily available for patching bare spots. St. Augustine grass can grow in a wide range of soil types with a pH rating between 5.0 and 8.5. That flexibility further explains its increasing popularity. There are some areas of the Deep South where St. Augustine grass remains evergreen. That fact, of course, makes it a preferred choice in those situations. St. Augustine grass likes moisture; that fact cannot be disputed. That explains why it is common to see St. Augustine grass near lagoon or marsh areas. It is also an especially salt-tolerant grass, an important asset, especially in coastal situations. In drought situations during the active growing season, St. Augustine will hold its color better than Bermudagrass or Zoysia, which will go off color sooner (begin to go dormant) when deprived of water. This is a plus for St Augustine grass. However, Bermudagrass and Zoysia have a greater capacity to survive a long-term drought than St Augustine, which is not going dormant when going off color after deprived of water for a long period of time; it is dying. This is a negative for St Augustine. Unfortunately, St Augustine grass is one of several highly popular grasses that can create thatch. Over-fertilization is one of the biggest culprits in thatch build up. Most St. Augustine grass is not immune to the chinch bug, its major enemy. This is a tiny insect that pierces through the grass with needle-like mouth parts and sucks out the juices. There are strategies to keep this pest at bay should St. Augustine be the grass of choice. Mastering those strategies will allow St. Augustine grass to flourish. The growth rate of St. Augustine grass is dependent on temperature, moisture availability and nutrient availability.
Any one of these factors can limit the rate of growth of this species. If the spring is accompanied by mild daytime temperatures and cool night temperatures, St. Augustine grass greens up, but doesn’t grow much. As day and night temperatures increase during late spring and summer the growth rate increases. Thus, an established turf of St. Augustine grass may require mowing as infrequently as every 2 weeks in early spring and as often as every five days by late spring if high nitrogen fertilizer is applied (not recommended!). St. Augustine is the most sold patented turfgrass in the world with more than 1.5-billion square feet sold. Selected for better color and finer texture, Palmetto St. Augustine sod demonstrates superior shade, cold, frost, heat and drought tolerance than virtually all its competitors. This versatile and affordable turfgrass is often the grass of choice across the southern United States from the Carolinas to California. Its viability under a wide range of climate and soil conditions best explains its popularity in residential, recreational and commercial applications.
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