St Augustine + Sand = Why

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

  1. abrightday

    abrightday LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    Bermuda grass is the hardiest grass in Florida, however it must be maintained at a low height and cut with a reel mower, or it looks brown,zoysia grass turns brown when it gets drought stress and takes a long time to turn green again, both plants have fungus problems in the rainy season. Every grass in Florida has it's problems. We have a completely different ball game going on here than anywhere else in the country.
  2. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,026

    I'm glad to see a resurgance in Bermuda lawns. It should be easy for the new lawn boys to adapt to. They already scalp SA to 2" so they won't even have to reset their deck heights.
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  3. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I also was not thinking about yall's rainy season. Here July and August is our hottest and driest months. What sand we have in our area you need a 4x4 to drive across the field in July and August and can drive across it with anything when it is raining.

    Greendoc, I feel the same about the amendments. Instead of adding to sand we need to add organic matter and expanded shale to our clay, but getting people to spend the money on that is like trying to pull teeth.
  4. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,026

    As the knowledgeable FL guys will tell you. Topdressing with OM and high quality soil is largely misunderstood by the most consumers. To them its " why would you put dirt on top of the grass?"
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  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    It is not what you are Missing. It is what all of Central & South Florida is missing. But there is a reason Bermuda didn't catch on in Florida.

    In the early Florida land boom of the late 1940's and early 1950's, Sod cutter etc were part of the post war mechanical farming. Now instead of waiting for seed to take hold, a hold new landscape could be install today and the house sold tomorrow. Bahia was the popular pasture grass and CHEAP. Bermuda was only on Golf Course and not that available.

    In 1979 Texas A&M and U of F developed a Chinch bug resistant St Augustine culivar and called it Floratam and the rest was history.

    I have to give Fl Landscape credit for really opening my eyes to the real value of Bermuda as a home lawn. I have had Bermuda myself for years but he showed the real sell able features of Bermuda.

    Our pH is an average of 9.5 for calcareous Sand. Bermuda will germinate and grow nicely where Bahia will slowly die off. Bermuda is the economic to sod replace in our area.
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I have to agree St Augustine takes less fert & Water to look great than Bermuda does to look like the same fine lawn.

    However Bermuda can be totally mis-managed and can be brought back relatively simple to a utility turf.

    IMHO St Augustine is still the primo Lawn while Bermuda is a great low maintenance ground cover for those with out irrigation or who don't really desire a great lawn.
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,695

    The vast majority of the soils I deal with are clay. Now why would I want someone to throw toxic, dead subsoil on top of that? It is fast and cheap. Less than $25 a ton in most cases. To test and amend existing clay costs more than that and takes time. Why go through the time and expense? Thanks to the cheap dirt, you now have a lawn and landscape that requires professional management or it is soon dead. If it were done without shortcuts, I would have much more time at the beach.

    The sand based soils on beachfront properties are also ruined by the same bad dirt. Instead of making a lawn that is a greenskeeper's dream, the dirt turns it into an ugly, high maintenance hell.
  8. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,026

    As usual you make a good point. By the time a HO calls a professional or the house gets occupied there is no saving the SA. Sodding is the only option. I am concerned the chinch bug problem has reached the tipping point where it cannot be controlled by currently available products.
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  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    You try and talk like you are Licensed but some how you come across as not that knowledgeable to be a CPO. Chinch Bugs might be resistant to the ""Thrins"" but there are other chemical families out there that can and do control Chinch Bugs. A few years back we had problems with Sugar Cane Grubs. Bayer even took the guarantee off Merit because of them. But we learned how to control them and they are no longer a problem. Chinch Bugs are the same and I don't have a problem controlling Chinch Bugs.
  10. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,026

    I have never stated I was a CPO. I have a limited and I stick to the beds. I had stated I have a local independant I network with but he is getting ready to retire.
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