Tips for Taking care of St. Augustine lawn

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a lush green lawn or the smell of fresh cut grass. It’s relaxing, at least for me it is. That’s not to say getting it to that point is easy, but in my mind it’s well worth it, and one of the great things about living in  Florida is the ease with which we can grow beautiful lawns.

As water costs have gone up and more restrictions placed on irrigation (two days a week), people have begun switching from traditional lawns to xeriscaping (landscapes that require little to no irrigation). Over the last few weeks we’ve had relatively little rain. Barely 2 inches for the entire month of May. I watched as neighbor’s lawns began to turn brown and started to worry what would happen to ours. Thankfully, we had some much needed rain over the weekend, but it was a good reminder of how you can’t take it for granted. I’ve seen pictures of people out in California having their lawns removed because of the terrible drought. While it’s sad, you have to work within the limitations of your environment. Personally, I couldn’t imagine not having a lawn, and while I’m not an environmental nut, your lawn can provide some environmental benefits:

  • Lawns acts as a natural air conditioner (up to 30 degrees cooler than surrounding areas)
  • Pollution absorption
  • Filtration for ground water
  • Oxygen generation (50×50 lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of 4)
  • Prevents soil erosion
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Lawn today

With over 10 varieties, the most common turf grass in Florida is St. Augustine (stenotaphrum secundatum). Pretty much every home has it due to the fact that it’s well suited to our climate and easy to establish.  There are some downsides, it’s coarse, not very wear resistant and it’s susceptible insects.

Caring for of lawn is just as much an art as it is a science. You can’t just let it go and expect it to look nice, especially during the summer. Having killed my lawn one summer almost 9 years ago (see picture), I resolved not to make the same mistake again. It was an expensive lesson.

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Lawn 9 years ago

Lawn care requires an investment of time, so it’s not for everyone. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, here are a few tips:

  • Buy your year supply of fertilizer and pesticides at one time
  • Have a good broadcast spreader ( I use the smaller Scotts model with edgedguard $40 @ Ace)
  • Make sure you sprinklers are properly adjusted, you want to water deeply that makes the roots  Call an irrigation expert if your not sure how.
  • If you see a problem, address it immediately, especially signs of insect activity
  • Pay particular attention to the perimeter, during periods of high heat an little rain they get stressed and that can attract insects
  • Correct amount of fertilizer at the right time and the right fertilizer for your grass
  • Look for curled grass blades that means the area is not getting enough water, hand water if needed

Ready to ditch your lawn care service? If so, here is a copy of the calendar I follow: Lawn care program for St. Augustine grass.

I’ve used this for years and people always remark how great our lawn looks..Yes, I’m bragging just a bit….

Happy gardening.

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