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St. Augustine lawn needs help

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by GPZ, Apr 4, 2001.

  1. GPZ

    GPZ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I have a lawn (small suburban lot) of well-established St. Augustine grass. It is beginning to concern me, though - it feels as though there is excessive thatch and I am uncertain of how to deal with it. Is a thatch rake my best bet? If anyone can point me to a resource or two on proper upkeep of this vine-type grass, I would sure appreciate it. Your personal hints, tips and warnings are all certainly welcome, too.


  2. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    What variety of St. Augustine do you have? Here in Florida, we deal with primarily Floratam and Bitter Blue, but do have a few other varieties that are lower growing. The biggest thatch builders are over-fertilizing and over-watering. Now as what to do about it once you have a build up, well the thatch rake will take you forever and is WAY too much effort to even be considered. What I have done: although it is rare to see people do this in Florida, about five years ago, we verti-cut several St. Augustine lawns. It will look bad for two weeks, but it worked, we managed to have better looking lawns within 5 weeks, much thinner. What we have done since then is to lower the cutting height in the winter and after about 7 or 8 cuts by early spring it has much less noticeable thatch. By lower I don't mean scalping, but a full 1-1 1/2" lower than we cut in the summer. This method also leaves the lawn looking a little rough since you actually see the thatch layer near the top, but it is worth it in the spring. There are some organic methods for dethatching to, but I am not really sure how practical they are.

    Also don't worry about ridding the lawn of all thatch, some is beneficial.

    [Edited by Keith on 04-04-2001 at 05:25 PM]
  3. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

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