Landscaping in America

Turf grass care and lawn care improvement tips

Tips for establishing a new St. Augustine Grass Lawn.

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Establishing St. Augustine Grass

The best time to establish St. Augustine grass is during the spring or early summer months. This enables the grass to grow in before cooler weather begins, when growth will be reduced. In south Florida, establish St. Augustine grass during winter or spring. When establishing any grass, it is important to provide irrigation more frequently than normal recommendations call for. Frequent, short irrigations throughout the course of the day will help the root system to become established in the soil and become viable. Mowing should not be done until the roots have had a chance to peg down into the soil.

St. Augustine grass is established by vegetative propagation rather than by seeds. Vegetative propagation means that plant parts with growing points are used for planting rather than seeds. St. Augustine grass has stolons (above ground stems) with areas of actively dividing cells at the nodes. These areas are capable of generating new shoot growth and are responsible for the lateral growth of St. Augustinegrass along the ground.


Sodding will produce an instant lawn, as you virtually cover the entire area to be planted with grass material. Sod should only be laid over bare moist soil with pieces laid in a staggered brick-like pattern and the edges fitted tightly together to avoid any open cracks. Rolling and watering thoroughly will insure good contact with the soil for fast rooting.

Sodded areas should be watered at least twice per day with ¼" of water until the sod is held fast (usually 2 3 weeks) to the soil by roots; then reduce watering to an as-needed basis.


Sprigging is less expensive than sodding, but does not produce an instant lawn as does sodding. It is a labor-intensive way to cover a large area.

Sprigs contain nodes on stolons, which are planted end-to-end in furrows 6" 12" apart. Stolons should be covered with soil, but leaf blades should be left exposed. The soil should be tamped and watered in thoroughly. Soil should be kept moist until new stolons appear.


A number of St. Augustine grass cultivars are available commercially as plugs. Sod also can be made into plugs by cutting it into small squares.

Spacing of plugs varies from 6" 24". The closer spacing provides full coverage in 3 6 months and further spacing produces a cover in 6 12 months. Plugs are placed in holes of the same size or in open furrows and tamped into place. A thorough watering completes the installation. The newly plugged lawn should be cared for like a sprigged lawn.