Encouraging the spread of St. Augustine

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Caledwen, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Caledwen

    Caledwen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    I want to encourage the spread of a St. Augustine lawn to fill in bare areas. Is there anything in particular that can be done to the soil and/or dropped that would encourage this type of growth?
     
  2. Burnie

    Burnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    Check the pH, and adjust to around 6.5 to get the best growth. Make sure the irrigation is working properly. DO NOT cut it too short, recommended height is 3.5" to 4", mine I cut at 4". Make sure it is getting plenty of a balanced fertilizer.

    JMHO
     
  3. kabrac

    kabrac LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 304

    Cut on the highest mower setting.

    Put starter fertilizer down along with some compost or rich garden soil. Sprinkle it along the areas the stolens are spreading out.

    Hopefully get some good thunderstorms. Works better than regular hose water.

    Maybe skip a mowing....and let it grow
     
  4. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,782

    i've been experimenting with this in my own yard. i thought the height of cut made a difference but it doesn't affect it too much. it seems to spread just as much mowing it at 2.5-3" as it does if you mow it at 3.5-4".

    you just don't want to mow it so short that you cut off the runners. fertilizer, water, and time.....more time than you think it would take. it's weird. in some areas it will send out runners 3-4ft (maybe more) in one year but in others it may only spread 6-12" in a year. it doesn't spread in a straight line it's really random in the way it spreads.

    i guess it also depends on the variety (type) of st. augustine you have. i have raleigh. it seems to spread more in the spring and fall than it does in the summer time. i guess because of the heat.

    also it will spread where you don't really want it to and won't spread where you want it to. :laugh:

    it easily grows across the driveway and sidewalk and into flower beds but seems to not want to go out through the yard.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Caledwen

    Caledwen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    Your right, it is super frustrating. Some of my customers will fill in a bare spot in a their yard in just a couple weeks it seems. My yard, is killing me. My back yard was killed by some rough dog play. Now that I want it to come back, it's going super slow. I guess I'll have to help those spots out with some sod. :-(
     
  6. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,782

    you can get a plug from a good area of your lawn and put in the bare spots. water it every day for 2 weeks. it's a lot of work but it speeds things up.

    in my yard the st. augustine is great in 75% of the yard. people had parked in the yard before i moved in and so i put some plugs in that area by the driveway. where i put the plugs is doing great but in the other areas it's battling it out with crabgrass so i think that's really slowing it down.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Caledwen

    Caledwen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    Thanks Weeze! I'll try adding plugs to those areas. I"m not a chemical guy (yet). Does Nitrogen encourage runner growth or does it mostly effect individual grass blade growth? This spring I dropped scott's on the yard, my growth isn't as much as my customers. I wonder if I should hit it with some commercial grade fertilizer.
     
  8. Burnie

    Burnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    You REALLY need to check the soil before you proceed, improper pH will kill any efforts you make.

    I'm sorry, but that is just wrong. Proper mowing height is important in the health of the grass, cutting at 3" or less in NOT healthy for the grass.
     
    kabrac and Caledwen like this.
  9. OP
    OP
    Caledwen

    Caledwen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

     
  10. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,782

    yeah i thought the same but i guess it depends on the variety of st augustine and where you are located. i regularly cut a few customer's yards with st. augustine at 2.5" bi weekly and their yards look great. the st. augustine is completely full coverage in their yards with little to no weeds. i cut my own at 3.5" weekly and it doesn't look any better than theirs.

    the only thing i've noticed is during the summer time mowing it taller the grass goes to seed where as if you mow it a little lower it does not go to seed. mine has had seed heads showing for 2 months now. the customer's yards haven't shown seed heads. they never do if you mow it at 2.5-3" tall. if you mow it 3.5-4" it will do the seed head thing though which doesn't look as good. it's either the mowing height or the fact that i fertilize my lawn. none of my customer's yards get fertilized.

    honestly i fertilize and mow taller and my yard doesn't look as good as theirs do. go figure. :laugh:

    the only thing that kills st. augustine is lack of water. it doesn't do very well in a drought situation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019

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