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Photo: Grass  © 2008 Gilberto Taccari

Photo: Grass © 2008 Gilberto Taccari

A healthy lawn takes a lot of time and effort. This is especially true with hot climates. The secret about having a lush lawn in any climate is choosing the right grass seed. St. Augustine is one type of grass seed that is meant for hot climates. It is a turf grass. However, to have the ideal lawn you will need to know how to grow st augustine grass seed the right way.

Ideal Hardiness Zones

The ideal hardiness zones for this grass to grow in are zones 8 – 10. This grass will turn brown and go dormant in the winter unless you are in tropical or coastal areas where it stays warm all winter. In this case, it will stay green all through the year.

Time of Year

The time of year you plant your seed is important so learning when to plant your grass seed is essential, especially if you area suffers from any freezing temperatures during the winter. You should wait until there is no chance of a freeze happening before you plant this grass seed. However, if your climate is warm year round st augustine grass seed can be planted at any time.

Full Sun or Part Shade

This grass seed loves full sun the best, but in the south, it will tolerate part shade (no more than 40%). It will not thrive in total shade.

Soil Preparation

The soil preparation for st augustine grass seed is similar to other grass seed. Just follow the steps below to get the soil ready for seeding:

1. Loosen the soil down to a 3-inch depth using a shovel or tiller, such as the Fiskars Long Handel Shovel. You want as fine a texture as you can get it.

2. Rake over the whole area using a garden rake to remove any rocks, debris or clumps of dirt that will not break up easily.

3. Level and smooth out the soil. Make sure to have it graded in such a way as to provide adequate drainage.

Photo: Spreading New Seeds  © 2007 Chip Harlan

Photo: Spreading New Seeds © 2007 Chip Harlan

4. Add whatever needed nutrients your soil lacks at this point. Thoroughly work in some topsoil, compost and seed starter. Make sure these are throughout the soil you are preparing.

5. Go over the whole area with a weighted lawn roller. This helps to compact the soil.

Spreading the Seed

After the soil is prepared in the method listed above, it is time to spread the st augustine grass seed. Using a seed spreader makes this task much easier, We reccommend using the Earthway Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader, but you can broadcast seed by hand if you want by using this Hand-Held Broadcast Seeder/Spreader. Sow 50% of the seed in one direction. Then take the other 50% and spread it at a right angle. This will ensure an even coverage.

Roll the area again to work the seeds slightly into the soil. Mulch the area with wheat straw. Frequently water the area, but be careful not to saturate it. When the grass is about 1-inch tall, you can water just once daily. You are well on the way to having the perfect lawn at this point.

Mowing New Grass and Changing Watering Schedule

Do not mow the grass until it is about 3-inches tall. Also, after you have mowed it about three times, you can start watering the grass once a week at the rate of about 1 inch of water each time.

[threecol_two]Other Tips

1. Make sure to apply pre-emergent crabgrass treatment to keep this unwanted type of grass from growing.

2. Chinch bugs and other insects can be a problem for St. Augustine grass, so you will need to use the appropriate insecticide on the grass to keep it healthy.

3. Keep watch for brown patch, dollar spot, grey leaf spot, spring dead spot (SAD) and other diseases that can harm this grass. There are some varieties of this grass that are more resistant to SAD than other ones are though, such as Seville, Raleigh, or Floratam.

Follow the above tips for growing st augustine grass seed and you will have the perfect lawn. Grass of any kind needs continual care throughout the year to remain healthy. You should try reading how to grow grass seed for some more tips.[/threecol_two] [threecol_one_last]
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