How To Grow & Care For St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine Grass is a popular warm-season turfgrass known for its lush appearance and quick growth. The rich green color and dense growth pattern make it a favorite in many southern landscapes in the United States. It is particularly well-suited for coastal areas due to its tolerance for salt and ability to thrive in sandy soils.

Native to the coastal regions of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean, St. Augustine Grass has made a name for itself as an ideal choice for lawns, especially in tropical and subtropical climates. Its adaptability, combined with an aggressive spreading nature, allows it to create a carpet-like appearance, which is preferred by homeowners seeking a thick, luxurious lawn.

However, St. Augustine Grass is not without its challenges. Its care and maintenance can be demanding, requiring a good understanding of its unique needs, including sunlight, water, and nutrient requirements. But for those who are willing to invest time and energy, the rewards are a robust and attractive lawn that can withstand a variety of environmental conditions.

Common NamesSt. Augustine Grass, Buffalo Turf, Charleston Grass
Botanical NameStenotaphrum secundatum
Plant TypeWarm-season grass
Mature SizeUp to 2-4 inches in height
Sun ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Soil TypeAdaptable to various soil types
Hardiness Zones8-10
Native AreaGulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Mediterranean

St. Augustine Grass Care

St. Augustine Grass requires proper attention to thrive and create an appealing lawn. Proper watering, fertilization, mowing, and pest control are vital to maintaining its lush green appearance.

Care for St. Augustine Grass is more nuanced than some other turfgrasses. It’s essential to keep a balance between the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients, making adjustments according to the specific variety and local environmental conditions.

Light Requirement for St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine Grass prefers full sunlight but can tolerate some shade. However, too much shade can lead to thinning and loss of color. Ensuring that it receives adequate sunlight will help maintain its dense, green appearance.

Soil Requirements for St. Augustine Grass

Though adaptable to various soil types, St. Augustine Grass thrives in well-drained soil with a pH of 5.0 to 8.5. Regular soil testing and amendments can help maintain optimal soil conditions for healthy growth.

Water Requirements for St. Augustine Grass

Watering is crucial, especially during the establishment phase. Newly laid sod or seeded areas need consistent moisture. Once established, deep and infrequent watering encourages deep root growth and drought resistance.

Temperature and Humidity

Being a warm-season grass, St. Augustine Grass thrives in temperatures between 80°F to 100°F. It may go dormant during cooler months. High humidity can lead to disease issues, so proper airflow and watering practices are crucial.


Fertilization is essential for maintaining the rich green color. A balanced fertilizer applied in early spring, late spring, and early fall will support healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates.

Pruning St. Augustine Grass

Mowing or pruning St. Augustine Grass to a height of 2.5 to 4 inches is ideal. Mowing too short can stress the grass, while allowing it to grow too tall can lead to thatch problems.

Propagating St. Augustine Grass

Propagation is typically done through plugs, sprigs, or sod. It’s not commonly grown from seed. The chosen method depends on the desired speed of establishment and budget considerations.

How To Grow St. Augustine Grass From Seed

Growing St. Augustine Grass from seed is not common due to low seed viability. It’s generally more efficient to establish a lawn through plugs, sprigs, or sod.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Chinch Bugs

Damage appears as yellow patches. Treatment includes insecticides.

Gray Leaf Spot

Fungal disease that causes spots on leaves. Proper watering and fungicides can control it.

Common Problems With St. Augustine Grass

Thatch Buildup

Caused by overwatering or over-fertilizing. Aerating can help alleviate the problem.

Weed Infestation

Regular mowing and proper fertilization can help prevent weeds from taking over the lawn.

Inconsistent Growth

Might be due to uneven watering or nutrient imbalances. Regular care and monitoring can help.

Pro Tips

  1. Aerate the lawn annually to promote healthy root growth.
  2. Choose the right variety of St. Augustine Grass for your specific region and soil type.
  3. Monitor for signs of pests and diseases and address them promptly.
  4. Follow proper watering practices to avoid overwatering or underwatering.
  5. Regularly inspect and adjust irrigation systems to ensure even coverage.