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St. Augustinegrass Lawn Maintenance Calendar (AG-540)

Article contains terms, results, and products that are targeted to home owners. Article contains terms, results, and products that are targeted to turf professionals.
Art Bruneau
May 01, 2004
Printable PDF
(95.6 kB)

St. Augustinegrass


March through May
June through August
September through November
December through February
More About St. Augustinegrass
Disclaimer


Lawn Maintenance Calendar


This calendar of suggested management practices is designed to assist you in the seasonal care of your lawn. Location, terrain, soil type and condition, age of the lawn, previous lawn care, and other factors affect turf performance. For these reasons, tile following management practices and dates should be adjusted to suit your particular home lawn conditions.


March through May


Mowing

Before greenup, remove dormant grass leaves by mowing to 2 ½ inches with a rotary mower that has a newly sharpened blade. Maintain the lawn at 2 ½ inches, mowing before it gets to 4 inches. Leave clippings on the lawn.


Fertilizing

Apply ½ pound of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet in May or 2 weeks after greenup, whichever is last. Use a complete (N-P-K) turfgrade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (12-4-8 or 16-4-8). Yellow appearance may indicate an iron deficiency. Spray iron (ferrous) sulfate (2 ounces in water per 1,000 square feet) or a chelated iron source to enhance color as needed. Submit a soil sample to determine nutrient requirements, if you haven’t already. (Contact your county Cooperative Extension agent for details.) Apply lime if the soil-test report suggests it.


Watering

Actively growing St. Augustinegrass requires about 1 inch of water per week, all at once, if possible. If you don’t get enough rain, you will have to water. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering (½ inch every third day). Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce pest and other problems.


Weed Control

If crabgrass and goosegrass have been a problem, apply preemergence herbicides by the time dogwoods are in full bloom. Control broadleaf weeds as necessary with postemergence herbicides. St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (2,4-D and MSMA), so follow label directions and use caution.


Insect Control

Control any white grubs. If drought symptoms or yellow spots occur in a sunny location, check for chinch bug activity. Push a coffee can (with both top and bottom removed) into the ground and fill it with water. Any chinch bugs present will float. Treat for chinch bugs if you have 20 or more chinch bugs per 1,000 square feet. (See White Grubs in Turf, ENT/ORT-67, AG-366), and Insect Management in Turf, AG-447 for more information.


Disease Control

If circular patches of brown grass up to several feet in diameter appear, you may have Brown (Large) Patch. Gray Leaf Spot also may be a problem. Control both diseases as necessary with proper fungicides. (See Turfgrass Pest Management Manual: A Guide to Major Turfgrass Pests and Turfgrasses, AG-348 for more information.)


Aerate

Heavy clay soils or heavily trafficked sections of lawn may benefit from aeration. If it is needed, aerate in late spring or early summer when the grass is actively growing and capable of recovery.


Renovation

Replant large bare areas in May (or when daytime temperatures are continually above 60oF) using plugs planted on 12-inch centers or sprigs space-planted at the rate of 1 ½ bushels per 1,000 square feet. (One square yard of turf pulled apart is equivalent to 1 bushel of sprigs.)

Return to Main Index

June through August


Mowing

Same as March through May guidelines.


Fertilizing

Apply ½ pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in June and August and 1 pound of nitrogen in July. In the absence of a soil test, use a complete (N-P-K) fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio.


Watering

Same as March through May guidelines.


Thatch

If thatch was ¾ inches thick last summer, mow grass to 2 ½ inches and use a power rake with 3-inch blade spacing.


Weed Control

Apply postemergence herbicides to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, such as knotweed, spurge, and lespedeza. Since St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (2,4-D and MSMA), follow label directions and use with caution. Do not apply herbicides unless weeds are actively growing and the lawn is not under drought stress. If crabgrass and goosegrass are present, make a note to apply a preemergence herbicide next spring.


Insect Control

If drought symptoms or yellow spots occur in a sunny location, check for chinch bug activity. Push a coffee can (with both top and bottom removed) into the ground and fill it with water. Any chinch bugs present will float. Treat for chinch bugs if you have 20 or more chinch bugs per 1,000 square feet. (See Insect Management in Turf, AG-447 for more information.)


Disease Control

Check for Gray Leaf Spot and Brown (Large) Patch. (See Diseases of Warm-Season Grasses, AG-360.)

Return to Main Index

September through November


Mowing

Same as March through May guidelines.


Fertilization

DO NOT fertilize St. Augustinegrass after August 31.


Watering

Water to prevent drought stress while the grass is actively growing and after the lawn goes dormant to prevent excessive dehydration.


Insect Control

Follow June through August guidelines.


Thatch

Check for thatch layer in early September. If the thatch layer is ¾ inches thick, plan to dethatch in the spring.


Weed Control

If crabgrass and goosegrass are present, plan to apply a preemergence herbicide next spring.


Disease Control

Check for Brown (Large) Patch (See Diseases of Warm-Season Grasses, AG-360.)

Return to Main Index

December through February


Mowing

Pick up debris (rocks, sticks, leaves, etc.) from lawn. Do not try to remove excess debris by burning. This could injure the lawn and is a fire hazard.


Fertilization

Do not apply fertilizer or lime.


Watering

Although the lawn will be dormant, water occasionally to prevent excessive dehydration.


Weed Control

Apply broadleaf herbicides to control chickweed, henbit, etc. St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to certain postemergence herbicides like 2,4-D and MSMA, so follow label directions for reducing rates, and use with caution. Selected herbicides like atrazine and simazine can be applied in November or December to control annual bluegrass and several winter annual broadleaf weeds. Read the label and follow directions carefully.

Return to Main Index

More About St. Augustinegrass


This fast growing grass has a medium to dark green color and very coarse leaf texture. With proper maintenance, it provides a dense, lush lawn. A warm-season grass, it’s best in warm, humid areas not exposed to excessive or intense periods of cold weather. The “Raleigh” variety has the best cold tolerance and is best suited for the eastern piedmont and coastal plains.


St. Augustinegrass can only be planted vegetatively. It grows best in fertile, well-drained soils. It has excellent tolerance to shade and good salt, heat, and, to a moderate extent, drought tolerance. It does not tolerate heavy traffic or cold weather.


Since it is fast growing, St. Augustinegrass needs to be mowed frequently. It should never receive more than 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in a year. With high fertilization rates and irrigation, thatch buildup may be a problem. Thatch can lead to other problems, such as disease and insect damage. Chinch bugs are often a problem, causing leaves to wilt and turn brown. Yellow spots are often associated with chinch bug activity. In addition, Brown (Large) Patch can create brown circular patches up to several feet in diameter that usually warrant treatment.


St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to some postemergence herbicides, such as 2,4-D and MSMA; however, some herbicides can be used at lower rates. Read and follow label directions carefully. Following the management practices in this fact sheet is the best means of preventing and controlling problems in your St. Augustinegrass lawn. Continual loss of grass may mean that you need to select a different turfgrass species, one that is better adapted to your particular yard. Contact your county Extension agent for help in identifying and solving turfgrass problems

Return to Main Index

DISCLAIMER: Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service agent.


Prepared by: Arthur H. Bruneau, Crop Science Extension Specialist, Turfgrass

Matthew C. Martin, Area Specialized Agent, Turfgrass,

Henry C. Wetzel, Extension Plant Pathology Specialist, Turfgrass

Rick L. Brandenburg, Extension Entomologist,

Fred H. Yelverton, Extension Crop Science Specialist, Turfgrass Weed Management,

Cale A. Bigelow, Extension Associate, Turfgrass


Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Publication Number: AG-540 Revised: May, 2004 
This Electronic Revision: January, 2008


© 2008 TurfFiles

KEYWORDS FOUND IN THIS ARTICLE:
aeration
gray leaf spot
lime
thatch
bug
grub
management
turfgrass weed control
chinch bugs
herbicide
melting out
warm season
circular patch
insect control
mowing
watering
crabgrass
irrigation
nitrogen
weed control
drought
large patch
St. Augustinegrass
weed management
fertilizer
lawn maintenance
take all patch
white grubs
goosegrass
leaf spot
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