Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

How to Spread St. Augustine Grass

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“Is there something I can do to make my St. Augustine grass spread over the rest of the yard more quickly?” -Joe

St. Augustine grass spreads both by rhizomes and stolons, meaning that it sends out runners both above and below ground. It’s normally a very aggressive spreader – in fact, most of the time I hear questions about how to stop it! St. Augustine is a warm-season grass that grows well in full sun and moist soil in warm, coastal areas.

If you have large bare spots, you may want to propagate the grass instead of waiting for it to spread. Because the seeds are so difficult to collect, St. Augustine is commercially available only as plugs, sprigs, or sod. You can buy these, or you can spread it yourself by digging small plugs or sprigs from an established area and planting them in the bare spots.

St. Augustine responds well to nitrogen fertilizer, but it’s vulnerable to over-fertilization. Use a mixture of instant and slow-release fertilizers for best results, at a rate of no more than 1 lb of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per month during the growing season (spring to early fall). Check with your garden center for fertilizers specific to St. Augustine grass.

Julie



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10 Comments on “How to Spread St. Augustine Grass”

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  1. Ken Smoker Says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 5:54 am

    What is the best grass to use for sandy soil and will with stand long periods of drought ?
    The past 2 summers have been vary dry with 4 to 6 weeks of little to no rain. This has killed off alot of my lawn. I live in the country and I water my trees and scrubs and flowers but don’t want to run my well pump all day to do the lawn.

  2. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Ken,
    To read the answer to your question, go to Best Drought-Tolerant Lawn Grass for Sandy Soil.

  3. Roderick Strong Says:
    August 10th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    What’s more aggressive, bermuda or St. Augustine? I have bermuda and absolutely hate it. It’s infested with armyworms that are almost impossible to kill.

  4. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    August 11th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Hi Roderick,
    I’m no expert, but here in the Deep South, where we have lots of hot weather and afternoon thunderstorms during the summer, St. Augustine does well and spreads like crazy. I have a patch of anemic looking Bermuda as well that hasn’t done anything since I’ve been here.

  5. Nateman Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I need some serious help! My backyard is very sandy and I have St. Augustine growing well on one side but I also have Bermuda growing as well. I really hate the Bermuda and I won’t even comment on the crab grass that has consumed 3/4 of my yard. I’ve only had 2 seasons to try and get the St. Augustine to run, I’ve even tilled about 1/8 of the yard and planted runners of St.Augustine with no luck, someone please help me with some tips to get it rolling! Desperate in Virginia.

  6. Rusty Says:
    November 28th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Nateman,
    I am in Gloucester, VA and I have had St. Augustine growing in my yard for a couple of years. I think the variety you have will make a difference. I researched and got Palmetto for it’s cold tolerance. Friends nearby have had a lot of luck with it for years. Mine seems to be spreading nicely. First year was slow, next year went faster to spread.

  7. crystal Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I moved into my new home and i believe the grass was st. augustine but now i barely have any because a very thin type of grass is growing over it (I think bermuda). I also have some crab grass, star of bethlehem and some purple flower looking weeds but although i can defeat those, i dont know what to do about my st. augustine grass. How do i get rid of the thin grass and get my st. augustine to grow and spread. I know the best was would be re-sodding the lawn, but is there a less expensive way? I live in Houston,TX if that helps.

  8. David Says:
    May 1st, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I have a 10ft.by 10ft. section of st.Augustine lawn that has died. Can I rake out most of the dead grass and then lay sections of new sod over it? without diging out all the old grass?

  9. JasonD Says:
    July 29th, 2010 at 3:46 am

    To Crystal:
    It sounds like you have the same problem that many others have, who over-water, have poor drainage, and neglect to water when needed only. The thin grass is most-likely “Nut-sage”, and not a grass at all. It clusters and smothers any grass and also propagates anywhere grass died. It loves heavy water and tolerates desert dryness. Poor drainage and desert dryness kills all grass. Sage wins. Look into “Sage-hammer” if you identify it as sage. Pulling does nothing and no other chemical is st Augustine safe, and also effective. Then add sand and fix that water retention issue. St Augustine loves sand more than it loves soil. Soil just rots and promotes disease and weeds. That is why traditional grass growers fail. Lastly, water it ONLY when it has begun to fold in half. If the blades are wide, it has plenty of water. Water it long and only that once. One hour or 1 to 2 inches deep watering. Water lightly and the roots stay on top and die with the first dry day you neglect to water it. Deep roots never dry in sand.

  10. O. Forde Says:
    October 20th, 2011 at 4:48 am

    What are the web sites that I can purchase St. Augustine seeds online. no plugs.

    Thank you

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