3. Water logging in Saint Augustine turf is a soil drainage issue, so repairing soil drainage will be the primary focus of this article to fix this problem and try to bring our Saint Augustine lawn back to full health. Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory, Texas A&M College of Agrculture and Life Sciences, Blackland Income Growth Virtual Conference, Ranchers Agricultural Leasing Workshop: Online course, Connecting Agriculture and Health – From the Ground Up: online, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc8xY2YuOfM. Set out five or six open-top cans randomly around the lawn (tuna or cat food cans work best). Continue this cycle until the appropriate amount of water has been applied to wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. When you do water, wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. The water you apply should soak in, not remain on the soil surface. Watering makes the ground more malleable and gives the roots of the St. Augustine grass plugs immediate moisture. As for the type of care St. Augustine grass needs, this warm-season grass likes moisture and should be watered deeply. As it would be impossible for us to even consider individual soil analysis for the reader's home lawn in this article. The mower setting should be between 2 to 2½ inches high. Apply postmergent herbicides (which control weeds that have already sprouted) as needed. Chinch bugs and white grubs are the two most serious insect pests in St. Augustinegrass lawns. Broad-leaf weeds are water hogs. To prevent run-off: The best form of weed control is a healthy, dense lawn. Plant St. Augustine grass during summer. These plugs will need to be removed, either by the use of a rotary mower to catch them and pick them up, or by raking them up and disposing of them. When you know how much water was applied in 30 minutes and how deeply that volume of water wet the soil, then determine how long you must water to wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. One persistent myth is that St Augustine needs less water in the winter. The grass should be watered after the fertilizer has been added, but don’t overdo it. The probe will push through wet soil easily, but it is more difficult to push through dry soil. Plants make their food (sugars) in the leaf blades using sunlight. (See L-1766, “Chinch Bugs in St. Augustine Lawns,” and L-1131, “White Grubs in Texas Turfgrass,” available from Texas Cooperative Extension at http://tcebookstore.org. Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. Wetting agents help soils to more freely circulate and flow water, and as such will allow a water logged lawn soil to more freely disperse of excess water in its profile. Wetting Agents are applied to a lawn in the same manner as fertilizers. If the lawn has been overseeded, water based on the earlier discussed principle. This is the maximum amount of time you should water at one time. Being a warm-season turfgrass, St. Augustine grows best during summer. For more information see the Web site at https://aggieturf.tamu.edu. Postemergent weed control is most effective if you apply the herbicide when the weeds are still very small. Watering St. Augustine Lawns Grass with deeper roots is more drought-resistant than grass with shallower roots, the university says. A small site where one man shares his love for and knowledge of Saint Augustine grass lawns. Water a new St. Augustine lawn two times per day for the first 3 weeks then cut back to a normal seasonal schedule. To maintain St. Augustine lawns with a dense green look proper, watering, and mowing, are always essential factors to be considered. Begin watering again and continue for the time you’ve determined. This helps the grass settle into the ground, but avoid using too much water. It grows well in nearly all soil types and tolerates shade, heat, salt and is drought tolerant. The timing of preemergence herbicide application will vary greatly in Texas due to the onset of soil-warming temperatures required for weed germination. Continue watering until the EZ Patch™ is completely saturated and no more water is being absorbed which may take several minutes. If you water adequately to bring it back to life, you may need to do a total of about 1 ½ inches of … Hello. High levels of soil phosphorus can also lead to deficiencies in iron and zinc. St. Augustine doesn’t need a lot of water, it just needs it consistently. Use enough water that the soil is damp but not soaked since St. Augustine grass and similar tropical varieties don’t need a ton of liquid. ... Place a rain gauge in your yard and use it to help you water enough and not … Consider spraying sulfate at a rate of 2 ounces to 3-5 gallons of water per 1000 square feet. Therefore, it may be desirable to apply preemergent herbicides for annual winter weeds when the average soil temperature drops to 70 ºF. You should, therefore, establish your lawn in mid-summer when conditions are great for the growth and spread of this grass species all over your lawn. Lawn aerification is done by using this machine to punch steel tubes, called tines, into the turf and soil, which in turn removes plugs (cores) of turf, thatch and soil from the lawn. This practice will likely damage the lawn by it will recover if fertilized and watered properly. One of the disadvantages of St Augustine grass is its poor wear tolerance. Herbicides may damage the lawn if you apply them when the temperature is higher than 90 ºF. If the thatch layer is more than 3 /4 inch thick, it can be removed gradually by mowing the lawn with a vertical mower or scalping the lawn (cutting with a rotary mower at its lowest setting) in April or May when the grass is healthy and actively growing. We advize the use of a contractor due to the weight and difficulty of the machine for new users to safely operate. Thatch (a surface layer of undecomposed plant stem and roots) is likely to form on St. Augustinegrass lawns that are heavily fertilized and watered. Extended periods of hot and dry weather, St. Augustine grass might start to die. Continue the recommended mowing practices until the grass goes dormant and does not require mowing. Also, Bermuda likes fertilizers more than St. Augustine, so I make … Use a core-aerating machine when the grass is actively growing. Torpedo grass is a hard-to-control weed in beds and nearly impossible to control in St. Augustine grass. If the grass is extremely short, too much energy will be put into growing new blades of grass and not enough energy will be put into growing the root system. Do not apply water faster than the soil can absorb it. If possible, use a mower with a bagger to collect the clippings and remove the dead material left from winter dor… If the grass does not have enough leaf blades left for photosynthesis the grass will die. It’s the very fine particles within these soil types which causes them to stick so closely together, and thus preventing the free flowing of water through the earth. Run-off from watering a lawn can waste a significant amount of water, which is costly and a poor use of a limited natural resource. Winter annual grass and broadleaf weeds are not common in St. Augustinegrass. Continue the fertilizer program begun in the spring, applying 3 /4 to 11 /2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every 8 to 10 weeks. If St. Augustine grass is not maintained properly it will experience problems. When St Augustine grass is going off brown after deprived of water for a long period of time; it is dying. Our work makes a difference, in the lives of Texans and on the economy. Using a ruler, measure the depth of water caught in each individual can, and record the depths. Water the turf deeply to achieve the right amount of water your turf needs. It happens to grow best in sandy soil, though, as this gives it enough drainage. *Always follow Local and State laws in regards to watering restrictions. While such lawn coring can greatly help with many water logged Saint Augustine lawns, the effects do have limitations, and will not repair all lawns or soils. St. Augustine grass is usually dormant during the colder winter and fall seasons. If the leaves on St. Augustine grass begin to show a slight curling, it is a sign they probably have received too much water. A thatchy lawn is prone to drought and insect damage. Be sure to read Can You Dethatch St. Augustine Grass? To prevent yellowing caused by iron chlorosis, apply liquid or granular iron fertilizer throughout the growing season. Apart from sometimes being a little thirstier, there are no real other differences in watering a St Augustine lawn than for any other lawn variety. Further, St. Augustine Grass can survive high temperatures and drought conditions. Follow the same recommendations as for March through May. If the soil adjustment was only minor, then coring etc should work equally as well for the Saint Augustine lawn. This is called photosynthesis. It explains how and when to use the product and how much to apply. Welcome to Saint Augustine Lawn Care. As a result of this, the Saint Augustine lawn can become constantly water logged, which in turn will make the turf soft and weak and easily damaged from normal wear and tear conditions, the lawn will be far more susceptible to moss, bare patches, diseases, weeds and pests, and will always be unsightly from the resulting recurring damage. If you have an underground irrigation system, flag the sprinkler heads first to avoid damaging them. Many homeowners will confuse this rot with take-all root rot because of the yellow coloring of the leaves. St. Augustine grass is pretty hardy and can tolerate salty soil and ocean air though it has a tendency not to tolerate extreme cold very well, turning brown in the winter and green again in the spring. Insect damage, especially from chinch bugs, looks much like drought damage in grass. As a result of this, the Saint Augustine lawn can become constantly water logged, which in turn will make the turf soft and weak and easily damaged from normal wear and tear conditions, the lawn will be far more susceptible to moss, bare patches, diseases, weeds and pests, and will always be unsightly from the resulting recurring damage. Despite the benefits of St. Augustine grass, many homeowners opt to have their lawn maintained by a professional so they don’t have to … St. Augustine grass is medium to dark green and coarse grass, additionally it has a low, dense growth habit. Listed are lawn care tips on watering and mowing which will be helpful, and can save money in the long run. crabgrass and goosegrass), apply preemergent herbicides (which control weeds as the seeds germinate). Follow the label directions for the rate of application. St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a coarse, dense, fast-growing grass suitable in warm, humid climates. 5 cans = 0.5 inch of water in 30 minutes. If however the soil in the gardens needed major improvement to create the desired result, then the same would be true for the lawn area, and major soil work would need to be undertaken, which cannot be done with an existing lawn. Check the lawn while watering. St. Augustine needs more water than most of our other lawngrasses (fescue excepted). This may mean applying these products by late February in Houston or by late March in Dallas. With an automatic irrigation system, change your timer to the new, shorter time. Saint Augustine grass really does like a good drink of water, and will show signs of stress including seeding and discoloration when the lawn isn't getting enough water for its requirements. Much like Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass can thrive in an array of soil conditions. Disadvantages of St Augustine grass. Unlike many other warm-weather grasses, St. Augustine can handle moderate shade, most soil types, and higher salt levels. The idea is that as long the St. Augustine is thriving from adequate irrigation, Bermuda cannot step in to occupy the space. Without soil test information, it is recommended that you use a fertilizer that either contains nitrogen only (21-0-0, ammonium sulfate) or is very low in phosphorus (Examples: 21-3- 6 or 15-0-15) to reduce the chance of excessive phosphorus buildup in the soil. In areas of heavy traffic, aeration can help eliminate compacted soils. Do you have a question -or- need to contact an expert? First, the lawn owner must judge for themselves whether the combination of lawn coring, coarse sand replacement and wetting agents will work for their own lawn environment. St. Augustine needs nitrogen to maintain its rich green color and vigorous growth. It does not tolerate waterlogged soils or extended periods of cold weather. Our first approach to curing water logging is to core the lawn and soil. Although your St. Augustine grass may go dormant in winter, you still need to water it on days that are warmer, windy and dry. When the leaf blades wilt, turn a blue-gray color or when footprints remain visible after walking in the grass, the lawn is in need of irrigation. Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Maintaining St. Augustinegrass Lawns (pdf), View more Gardening & Landscaping information ». Follow all instructions on the label. Your county Extension agent can give you an estimate of that date in your area. Do not cheat to water your grass, if you cannot water honestly on the days and times allowed and get your sod to grow, you need to remove some grass not use more water. So what's the solution for these real problem soil types? In the first few weeks after putting down St. Augustine grass, your lawn will require a strict watering schedule of several light waterings per day. Herbicides containing 2,4-D should be used with care, as St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to this herbicide. Wetting agents can also be applied by turf professionals. To do so you must water for 1 hour. Weed Management. It also requires nitrogen-rich soil which is important to keep in mind when choosing a fertilizer. Raise the level of your mower to 4 or 5 inches for St. Augustine grass. It will, however, slow in growth as the soil drops in temperature. What really counts for this grass is the soil’s pH. Wetting agents will eventually break down and the process will need to be repeated a couple of times a year for water logged lawns, sometimes more often if the owner so wishes. Thanks for visiting, I hope some of these lawn care tips may be of use on your own home lawns. Apply postemergent herbicide as needed. New-style irrigation controllers allow you to water several times a day, so you can program them to prevent run-off. Stop watering and allow the soil surface to dry (30 minutes to 1 hour). Use a garden spade or a soil probe to find out how deeply the soil was wet during the 30- minute period. However, if your St. Augustine grass is turning brown or is getting hard, don’t be afraid to water it. Fertilize overseeded lawns once in December and again in February with 1 /2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, using a nitrogen-only fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate (21-0-0). It is also a hardy grass, which makes it ideal for hotter climates. At that time, apply a low nitrogen, highpotassium fertilizer. To control summer annual grassy weeds (e.g. Calculate the average depth of water of all the cans. High soil phosphorus levels may lead to its surface runoff in periods of excess rainfall or irrigation. Use a hose or sprinklers to water the sod. The best mowing height for St. Augustine is 2.5” – 4”. They can come in the form of a granular agent which is spread by hand or a fertilizer spreader, or in liquid form which is sprayed onto the lawn. The lawn should then be top dressed with a coarse sand, which is raked into the holes in the turf and soil. Do not fertilize St. Augustinegrass from December through February unless the lawn has been overseeded (planted with cool season grass for green color in the winter). The water should not pool on top of the sod or run off of it. The reason for this is that the tines which create the holes in the turf and soil can only go so deep, perhaps only an inch or few at best, and for heavy clay based soils this just will not do the job adequately. Continue fertilizing as recommended until 4 to 6 weeks before the first expected frost. Iron is also a vital nutrient for St Augustine grass. St Augustine grass will go dormant when the soil temperatures fall below 55 degrees. Give it enough water to dampen the first 1 in (2.5 cm) of soil. St. Augustine grass is a common choice for lawns because of its low maintenance and quick growing cycle. When appropriately cared for, St. Augustine Grass is dense enough to handle normal amounts of foot traffic and shield against weeds. Routinely check for these pests and treat as necessary. Now for diseases, Augustine has a lot of disease/ pest and maintenance issues, but the most common are Grubs, Chinch bugs, Fungus and Thatch. The most effective time to treat for white grubs is in August when they are immature and close to the soil surface. During the summer months, healthy St. Augustine can only go 1 to 5 days between irrigation events, based on the heat index (Myers & Horn, 1969). Pay attention to the weather as well – if particularly hot and dry, water a little extra. Apply no more than 1 /2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Use enough water to keep the root system wet, but do not flood the turf. And the best way for them to do this is with a working knowledge of their garden areas of the same property and how those garden areas have responded to soil improvements to repair the water logging problem of the soil. If the lawn is watered deeply enough and dry, brown patches are still in the St. Augustine grass, then water may not be the problem. Because once we get beyond those few inches - we're right back to the cause of the problem, which is the same clay or silt based soil which is still causing exactly the same problem. The best way to bring it back is to start watering it about 3 times a week. St. Augustinegrass is very sensitive and may be injured by some herbicides, such as 2,4-D. Read the label carefully before applying any herbicide to ensure that it is the right product for the weeds you have and that you do not injure the turf. For the worst affected Saint Augustine lawns and soils, wetting agents may often prove a futile exercise if used on their own and without proper soil repair being undertaken at the same time. Then don’t water again until the grass shows symptoms of drought stress—a dull, bluish color, rolled or folded leaves, and footprints that do not “spri… Other Topics On Saint Augustine Lawn Care, independent lawn care tips for saint augustine grass lawns, lawn mowing tips and tricks for all lawns, correct lawn watering for healthier grass, Saint Augustine Grass | Buffalo Grass | Stenotaphrum secundatum, Preparing Sandy Soil For New St Augustine Lawn, Fertilization Of St Augustine Grass For Winter, Reel Lawn Mower Heights for St Augustine Grass, Saint Augustine Lawn Mowing Heights In Shade, Best Time Of Year To Plant A New St Augustine Lawn, Controling Seeding In Saint Augustine Grass, Controling St Augustine Thatch With Mowing, Lawns Turning Brown - Reasons and Solutions, Remove Excessive Shade For Better Lawn Health, Solutions To When An Entire Lawn Is Discolored, Solving Extreme Thatching In St Augustine Lawns, Why Does Saint Augustine Grass Develop Thatch. Mowing:Mow the lawn slightly lower than the regular summer mowing height. Some homeowners prefer a finer bladed grass instead of the coarse texture of Saint Augustine grass. The factors determining how quickly run-off occurs are the type of soil and the application rate of the sprinkler system. Rise and Shine (and Water). Example: If the sprinklers sprayed 1 /2 inch of water in 30 minutes and wet the soil to a depth of 3 inches, you would need to apply 1 inch of water to wet the soil to a depth of 6 inches. After two weeks, soak the lawn in up to half an inch daily. Many regions have soil types which have a heavy silt or clay content which often results in the soil constantly retaining too much water at all times. This height reduction should be done just before the lawn greens up, which usually occurs during late April or early May. You can always test the soil’s pH level to see if it is too acidic or not acidic enough and treat accordingly with a lime treatment. Real repair for water logged soils can only ever be achieved by changing the profile of the soil from one which retains water to one which disperses water more freely, and the best way to achieve this is with the use of lawn aeration, and addition of coarse sand. St. Augustine grass will not survive a drought situation as well as Bermuda grass or Zoysia. Weakened turf needs even more water. Follow the same recommendations as for March through May. If you let it get too dry, and especially if you do so repeatedly, St. Augustine will be weak, and it may even die away. This coarse sand will allow for far greater water flow through the soil, as well as allowing more oxygen to the roots of the turf, both of which are vital to good lawn health, and in aiding in the reducing of water retention of the soil. Apply herbicides only when weeds are present and when the grass is healthy and actively growing. This may eventually contribute to eutrophication of streams and lakes. St. Augustinegrass lawns should experience no detrimental insect activity during the winter. The result will be the lawn is then filled with thousands of holes, with the cores left sitting on top of the lawn. This is a process which is done by the use of a lawn coring machine, which can either be hired, or a contractor can be brought in to do the job for us. Even though St. Augustinegrass is normally dormant in winter, you may still need to water it periodically when the weather is warm, dry and windy. When St. Augustine grass suffers from this type of fungus, the movement of water and nutrients is unable to get to the roots of the grass, making its leaves turn yellow and die. Wetting agents will in no way be a cure to heavy water logged lawns, but should instead be considered as an aid in the repair of the problem in addition to lawn aeration, and as an aid to help water circulate more freely in the soil for as long as they remain active. 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