St. Augustine Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a coarse-textured, spreading grass that is popular throughout warmer regions of the Southern United States and is the most prevalent residential turfgrass in Florida. It will often turn brown in winter when temperatures drop and frost appears, and will be slow to green in the spring. It is the least cold tolerant of the warm-season turfgrasses. It is important to monitor temperatures and apply the needed management practices based on yearly climate. An important time to monitor the weather is during early spring when the turf is coming out of dormancy.
Mow the lawn slightly lower than the regular summer mowing height. The mower setting should be between 2 to 2½ inches high. Be careful not to set the mower too low, as it may scalp the lawn. This height reduction should be done just before the lawn greens up, which usually occurs during late April or early May.
To control crabgrass, goosegrass, sandspurs, and other summer annual weeds, apply a pre-emergent herbicide early in the late winter or early spring. Best application times are mid-February to mid-March. A second application is needed approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the initial application to give season long control of annual warm-season weeds. In general, do not apply post-emergent herbicides to the lawn once the turf begins to green. If a weed problem begins and the grass has begun to green with warmer temperatures, wait until the grass has fully greened-up before applying a post-emergent herbicide.
Cooler winter temperatures will help usually keep insect problems at bay. As temperatures start to warm in late spring, look for mole cricket and chinch bug activity. If either insect is observed, apply a lawn insecticide when damage is observed. Heavy populations can be reduced with appropriately timed insecticide treatments during this period. If grubs (the white larvae of beetles, such as Japanese beetles) have been a problem in previous years, monitor them as well. Monitor these insect by cutting a square foot piece of sod on three sides and peeling it back. If more than six grubs are found under the sod piece, apply a lawn insecticide labeled for grub control.
Early spring is a good time to fertilize; however, fertilizers containing high nitrogen should not be applied during this period. If new turfgrass growth is encouraged by fertilization during the early spring and is followed by a late frost, this can result in significant damage to the lawn.
During winter dormancy, water the lawn regularly to prevent excessive dehydration. As spring approaches and rain chances increase, the added moisture in the soil will help keep the growing points of the turf warmer, preventing crown death, and typically less irrigation is needed; however, because the soil in Florida coastal regions tends to be mostly sand, it does not hold moisture well and tends to drain freely and dry out quicker, so they so regular irrigation is still recommended until the daily summer rains begin and irrigation can be cut back drastically.
Sound like a lot to keep track of? It is. Maintaining a healthy lawn St. Augustine lawn in Florida is no easy task. At Patrick Exterminating, we specialize in the treatment of St. Augustine lawns. Our lawn treatments consist of regularly scheduled fertilization, weed control, disease control and insect control utilizing fast penetrating liquid sprays.
Let us know how we can help. Call 772-286-6812 or go to our Contact page to schedule a no-obligation lawn evaluation.
Together, we can control the elements and battle the intruders to keep your lawn green and healthy all year long.
Just Say No to Bugs!
226 SE Gran Park Way, Stuart, Florida 34997
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Source: Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences