If you live along the Gulf Coast or in a hot climate, there’s a good chance you have St. Augustine grass on your property. This turfgrass species is most prominent in Florida and Texas and is known for its rich bluish-greenish color, thick appearance, and resistance to drought stress, but only with the proper care. While this species might be tolerant to high heat and intense sun, it does require some dedicated maintenance.
Keeping your St. Augustine grass in tip-top shape is possible as a DIY lawn project, which we’ll be discussing below. However, many homeowners turn to professionals for the best and fastest results. TruGreen is one of the best lawn care companies in the industry, and its technicians have the local knowledge and experience required to make your St. Augustine grass the envy of the neighborhood.
Reviving St. Augustine Grass: Overview
Bringing your St. Augustine grass back to life is similar to reviving other species. You’ll need to maintain a regular watering schedule, provide your lawn nutrients via fertilizer, and add amendments as needed to balance your soil pH and quality. Some homeowners might also need to apply pesticides or herbicides, depending on the insect and weed problems they’re experiencing.
Can I Revive Dead St. Augustine Grass?
As is the case with other grass species, if your St. Augustine grass is actually dead, you won’t be able to restore the thick, vibrant lawn you used to have without growing new grass. If your lawn is in dormancy, unhealthy, dried out, or browning but not quite dead, there is still hope for a healthy lawn.
4 Steps to Reviving St. Augustine Grass
Bringing your St. Augustine grass back to its deep blue-green color and thick appearance will require time and effort. If you follow the four steps below, your yard should begin to look beautiful once again in just a few weeks.
1. Limit Activity on the Grass
The first order of business is to reduce the negative effect on your lawn. Foot traffic and vehicle traffic put your grass under undue stress, so limiting activity on your property while you’re working to bring it back to life.
2. Improve the Soil
Your grass will only ever be as healthy as the soil, so focusing on what’s underneath your grass can go a long way in your lawn’s overall health. The steps below will help you improve your soil quality manifold.
Do a Soil Test
Begin by completing a soil test on your property. St. Augustine grass needs a particular balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to thrive, and a soil test will help you identify any nutrient deficiencies on your property. Your lawn’s nutrient uptake capability also depends on the pH of the soil, and the test will also guide on what, if any, soil amendments are needed.
Thatch is the layer of decomposing organic matter — dead grass clippings, leaf litter, etc. — that accumulates between your grass and the soil below. Over time, the thatch layer can prevent your St. Augustine grass from getting the required nutrients and amount of water from the ground. Dethatching removes this layer to improve overall lawn health. Coupling aeration with dethatching can give your lawn the best opportunity to thrive.
3. Water your Lawn
All grass species need adequate water to thrive, and this is especially true for St. Augustine grass which commonly exists in warm climates that experience intense sunlight. Ensuring your yard is appropriately watered will help reduce heat stress on your grass, avoid brown spots, and improve the color of your lawn.
You should aim to water your St. Augustine lawn around twice a week for a year-round schedule, and three times in the summer. Using your sprinkler to deliver around ¾” to an inch of water to your yard during each watering will keep your soil moist but not soggy, creating the ideal conditions for your grass to thrive.
4. Mow Lawn on High Setting
Finally, make sure to mow your lawn no lower than three inches in the summer and about two inches in all other seasons. A low lawnmower blade setting not only unnecessarily stresses your lawn but also invites in weeds like dandelions, clover, and crabgrass, and insects like grub worms, that can damage your yard.
What Kills St. Augustine Grass
One of the best ways to determine the solution that will bring your yard back to life is to figure out what killed your grass in the first place. Many things can stress St. Augustine grass, so it’s often worthwhile to figure out the underlying issue before determining what treatment is right for your property.
All grass species can fall victim to several lawn diseases. The most common fungal and bacterial infections that affect St. Augustine grass develop because of high heat and humidity in most cases. Some diseases to look out for that might require a fungicide or other treatment include:
- Brown patch disease is characterized by spreading brown spots on your lawn.
- Gray leaf spot disease is characterized by brown spots on the property or gray-brown discoloration on individual grass blades.
- Pythium root rot is characterized by bald patches or gradual browning.
- Take-all root rot is characterized by a thinning lawn, brown or dead patches, and grass that is easily pulled out along with the root system.
Many homeowners understand the value of fertilizing, but some take it too far and end up over-treating their lawns. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are all required for your lawn’s health, but excess fertilizer can push concentrations too high and can burn your grass and lead to lawn death. This is especially an issue for St. Augustine grass, which is also commonly stressed by hot temperatures and intense sun.
Where there is grass, there will be lawn insects. Lawn grubs are a prevalent issue for St. Augustine lawns. They feed on grassroots and destroy your yard from underneath. Chinch bugs are another common issue in areas where St. Augustine grass is standard. These insects feed on the fluids traveling through grass blades, ultimately killing the grass by depriving it of the necessary nutrients.
Poor Soil pH
St. Augustine grass not only needs nutrients in the soil to thrive, but it also requires a proper soil pH to uptake nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If the pH is too low or too high or you have overall poor soil quality, your grass will be starved of these nutrients, and you’ll welcome in weeds that can battle your lawn for resources.
Best Professional Lawn Care: TruGreen
Maintaining a lawn can be challenging enough, but bringing it back from the brink of death seems near impossible for many homeowners. Luckily, most people have access to professional lawn maintenance companies to assist them in lawn restoration with years of experience and local knowledge.
If you’re looking to toss in the towel and resort to professional help for your lawn, TruGreen is one of the best options. This company has decades of experience and success stories. The technicians are highly trained and understand the needs of local grass species like St. Augustine. It has a variety of lawn care plans to choose from for customized services. TruGreen also provides a satisfaction guarantee, so you can rest assured that you’ll be pleased with the attention they give your St. Augustine grass. Check out TruGreen’s lawn maintenance programs to see which one works best for you.
Taking care of any grass species is essential, but St. Augustine grass — commonly subjected to the stress of high heat and intense sunlight — requires a special amount of care and maintenance. Optimizing soil pH, nutrients, and moisture levels are essential for maintaining your St. Augustine yard.
Many homeowners struggle to keep their St. Augustine grass as beautiful as it can be, and they end up envying their neighbor’s lawns that have that lush, blue-green appearance. You can hire a professional lawn care provider for help and guidance to reduce stress and get the best and fastest results possible. TruGreen is one of the best companies for the job, with a wealth of lawn care services, affordable pricing, and a satisfaction guarantee. You can browse TruGreen’s plans today to find one that suits your needs and fits into your budget.
Today’s Homeowner Rating & Methodology
At Today’s Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
- Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
- Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
- Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
- Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
- Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
- Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
- Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.