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St Augustine + Sand = Why

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by Turf Dawg, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,719

    I was just wondering why it seems like most of you in Florida have St Augustine grass and have sandy soil. Wouldn't Bermuda or say Jamur & Pailisades Zoysia be a better grass? I know in our clay soils that Bermuda has a deeper root system and is more drought tolerant, so I just figured in sand that drains/leaches like a sieve that the deeper roots and more drought tolerance of the Bermuda would be a better choice.

    What am I missing?
  2. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Nothing except the fact that sod companies and installers want to sell new installs to the same clients every 3 to 5 years. :rolleyes:
  3. That's bc most companies don't maintain SA properly.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    And the fact that SA is a huge waist of resorces to maintain on a huge sandbar that sits on top of a limestone base (Florida):laugh:
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    Here I disagree. St. A maintained properly requires no more irrigation input than other C4 turfgrass. Bag the clippings, hollow core aerify 2X year or more depending upon the build up of undecomposed organic matter and existent matting, deep tine rake following the core aerifying and St A is just fine as a residential turf.
    BTW, this process is essentially the same for all other C4 turfgrasses except the paspalum varieties. Can't beat on it with the aerifier as much - kind of twitchy just like Buffalograss.
  6. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,719

    But would you want to put it on sand that does not hold water or nutrients in it like our clay soils?
    I will agree with you to an extinct, but it is far from my favorite grass in my area. Our soil PH is rising so the Take-all patch is happening more, grubs seem to do more damage to it, late spring early summer have to watch out for Gray Leaf spot, summer Cinch bugs and fall Brown Patch.
  7. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    St. Augustine, especially Floratam is well adapted to sand. It's way more suited to it than the Empire, the most common zoysia in the area.
  8. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    I have been told that st augustine is more resistant to the nematodes that would eat zoysia and bermuda alive in sandy soil in a high rainfall area. I do not have that problem here because normal rainfall is less than 15" per year in a 365 day growing season.

    Having said that, I would grow bermuda or zoysia on sand that was amended with lots of compost. My ideal growing media for turf is not dirt or "topsoil". It is about 70% sand and 30% organic matter something like a USGA greens media. I never understand people that start out with a blank slate and a chance to do it right, but they choose to blow it. This prejudice against dirt comes from having to deal with dirt lawns that have compaction problems, drainage problems, nutritional issues and element toxicities.
  9. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    I will simply reiterate what I have observed over a lifetime of watching grass grow and die in Florida. I have seen dozens of clients spend thousands of dollars trying to keep SA alive and kill the Bermuda, yet the Bermuda persists and in fact usually thrives especially in sunny locations. Left alone except for some water, fert. and very occasional aeration the Bermuda almost always takes over.
  10. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    No one in their right mind keeps a st augustine lawn in full sun here. It is only in shady locations like under trees, or in courtyard landscapes.

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