St. Augustinegrass is a warm-season grass that is widely used in Texas for lawns and landscaping purposes. It is a popular choice for homeowners because it has a lush and thick appearance, is relatively low-maintenance, and can withstand the hot and humid Texas summers. If you are planning on establishing a St. Augustinegrass lawn in Texas, there are some important factors to consider.
Time of Planting
The best time to plant St. Augustinegrass is in the late spring or the early summer. Make sure that your soil temperature has warmed to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit prior to planting. Fall planting does not provide the grass enough time to establish prior to the impending cold stress it will encounter during the winter months.
Preparing the soil
Before planting St. Augustinegrass, it is essential to properly prepare the soil. Make sure to spray out or remove any existing grass or weeds. Tilling the soil or adding a layer of organic matter like compost makes for a great starting point. Now is the time to make any major corrections to the soil. Getting a soil test will determine your soil’s pH. If your pH is above 8, consider tilling in some elemental sulfur prior to seeding. If the pH is below 5.5, consider adding calcitic or dolomitic lime to the soil prior to planting.
St. Augustinegrass is propagated vegetatively rather than by seed. This means you can use sod, plugs, or sprigs. The stolons of St. Augustinegrass stolons have growing points that can produce roots and shoots and can be used to establish a lawn. Sod will be the fastest way to an instantly gratifying lawn but this method will also cost the most. Make sure to stay on a good watering schedule until your sod has had a chance to root or you have seen some serious growth out of your plugs or sprigs. When planting sod, make sure to stagger the seams of the sod rolls.
Once established make sure to mow your lawn frequently at a height of 3-4 inches. When it comes to irrigating, only turn on your water when your lawn is showing signs of drought stress. St. Augustinegrass is a warm-season turf that can handle drought. A little bit of brown grass isn’t going to hurt anybody, in the name of saving water. Fertilizing your lawn prior to the stresses of the summer and raising your mowing height will go a long way in reducing water use. Be careful not to over fertilize your St. Augustinegrass lawn. It is prone to thatch buildup that can become problematic.
In conclusion, establishing a St. Augustinegrass lawn in Texas requires some planning and maintenance. Choosing the proper time to plant (during the late spring and early summer), preparing the soil, and properly mowing and fertilizing will help you enjoy a beautiful and healthy lawn for many years to come.