HELP needed for St Augustine Lawn in Central Florida

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by TheSodGod, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. TheSodGod

    TheSodGod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Hi All
    My Folks moved into a new home here in Central FL a few months back and did all the usual stuff to get the the lawn to become healthier ie set the sprinklers, weed and feed and regularly mow it.
    But the lawn is just looking terrible!
    What do you guys think what would your plan of attack be??
    Pics are below so you can get a good idea of the problem!

    Ive been reading up on dethatching and it seems theres a few conflicting stories on it being bad or not im no expert in this field but id say by the looks of the lawn it could do with something to get rid of all the straw/thatch embedded within most of the grass. Now if this is the route to go would one of the less expensive dethatchers with the metal tines that attache to the back of the tractors work or are the ones that cut into the ground like edgers the only ones to use on St Augustine?

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  2. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    Hopefully one the FL boys will chime in, but let me get you started. It looks like the lawn never got established properly after the installation, and you're seeing some die back this winter. Perhaps the damage is also a result of a fungus, but in mid-winter it is probably not "active". I understand you've had a long dry spell in FL.

    When the appropriate time comes -when the grass begins growing, use a fertilizer that has a high level of Potassium in the mix - preferably potassium sulfate and not muriate of potash. (Potassium is the 3rd number on the bag.) Also use a fertilizer that contains Ammonium sulfate as the primary N source rather than urea.

    Start there.
     
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Next to the driveway it is probably compaction issues due to the cars driving over that area, you may have to aerate in some manner to get anything to grow.
    The other areas look like they were established at one point probably, like quite said, irrigation or some type of water issue. What can you say about wild onions, they like the cool weather but are soon gone as the temps go up.
     
  4. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,102

    Most of the damaged turf looks like it was ravaged by chinch bugs. The other part where you may be seeing excessive thatch build up is probably from excessive watering and/or fertilization (nitrogen).

    You have to have a pest control program for your turf or the chinch bugs will tear it up.

    BTW I am a Lawn Service not a Pest control person so my statements are purely based on experience after 30+ years of living here and years of working for others in the industry.
     
  5. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,102

    Didn't get to edit in time:

    Don't forget, it is winter and your grass should not be being fed to keep it growing like you would in the spring/summer/fall. It needs to be allowed to go dormant so don't kill the crowns in a deep freeze. We have already had 2 freezing days, who knows if we will get hit again.

    I won't be putting any fertilizer down until mid to late February or early March. At that same time I will start trimming my customers Crepe Myrtles.
     
  6. GreenThings

    GreenThings LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Mowing it high will help out a lot as well. Say about 3 to 3.5. This grass will not tolerate being mowed short.
     
  7. Elden

    Elden LawnSite Member
    Posts: 137

    I think tamadrummer hit it with the chinch bugs. areas around concrete will show chinch bug damage more some times if watering is not carefully watched in those areas. when its dry the problem is multiplied because they suck jucies out of the turf.
    it looks pretty badly damaged. you will probly have to resod that area come spring, unless you are really patient and are willing to wait for it to fill in on its own, and the few weeds that you showed the quickest way to take care of them would be to just pull em.
     
  8. Elden

    Elden LawnSite Member
    Posts: 137

    also it looks like it could use some areation and the mowing height could be raised.
    a higher mowing height will help to retain moisture in the turf and allow it to produce more energy for its self
     
  9. TheSodGod

    TheSodGod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Hey guys thanks for all you input the grass is getting sprayed today and will be areated shortly too, thanks again.
     
  10. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,216

    "Hi All
    My Folks moved into a new home here in Central FL a few months back and did all the usual stuff to get the the lawn to become healthier ie set the sprinklers, weed and feed and regularly mow it.
    But the lawn is just looking terrible!
    What do you guys think what would your plan of attack be?? "


    What "Weed and Feed" was used on this grass?St. Augustine cannot tolerate anything with strong 2-4-D. How much fertilizer did you put down in the spring? What about the Nitrogen amount? St. Augustine is a wonderful grass when you learn what it likes but it's a bit picky in the begining.
    "It's possible to have the clinch bugs, but am a little suspecious. Have you tried the old "Can Trick" back when the lawn began to decline? Can you pull the sod up in big chunks? I am learning a lot on the St. Augustine especially SAD (St. Augustine decline) Ric knows about everything about it. It looks a whole lot like it suffered from overwatering. What was your irrigation routine. About 1" of deep water per week on a two schedule generally works better than say everyotherday or shallow irrigation. Can you go into the routine. That green mound is Green Kylinga.
    It will be good for all to know your solution and what the real problem was. Please follow up.
    Roy
     

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