St. Augustinegrass for Florida Lawns

St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum [Walt.] Kuntze) is widely adapted to the warm, humid (subtropical) regions of the world. It is believed to be native to the coastal regions of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean. In Florida, St. Augustinegrass is the most commonly used lawn grass throughout the state (Figure 1). It can grow satisfactorily in a wide variety of soils.

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Advantages

St. Augustinegrass produces a green to blue-green dense turf that is well adapted to most soils and climatic regions in Florida and to a relatively wide range of soil pH. It has relatively good salt tolerance, and certain cultivars have better shade tolerance than other warm-season grass species. St. Augustinegrass establishes quickly and easily and may be planted as sod, sprigs, or plugs.

Disadvantages

St. Augustinegrass, like most turfgrasses, has certain cultural and pest problems. It requires water to remain green and healthy and may require supplemental irrigation during extended dry periods. It has poor wear tolerance and does not hold up to repeated foot or vehicular traffic. It goes into winter dormancy in parts of the state and turns a brown or tan color until springtime. It produces thatch under high fertilization and irrigation regimes, which may become a health problem for the grass. It has coarse, wide leaves and stems and therefore does not grow as densely as some other species. The major insect pest of St. Augustinegrass is the chinch bug, which can cause considerable damage if left untreated. Some cultivars are also susceptible to diseases, such as gray leaf spot, large (brown) patch, and take-all root rot. Weed control can be challenging, particularly when trying to control persistent, grassy weeds.

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