Is St Augustine Grass Right For My Home
The popularity of Saint Augustine grass has continued to rise over the past few years. There has been two reasons for this sudden jump in the sales of Saint Augustine grass in recent years.
The first has been the introduction of new soft leaf Saint Augustine varieties, which took away the scratchy nature of Saint Augustine grasses from days gone by. This has been a massive improvement for lawn owners buying Saint Augustine grass for their homes.
The second reason for the jump in popularity for St Augustine grass has been marketing and advertizing.
But here is where problems start arising for lawn owners.
Many people buying Saint Augustine grass may actually be buying the wrong grass for their home and for their needs.
The purpose of this article is to dispel some of the myths that have sprung up around Saint Augustine grass, and hopefully as a result, people will choose the right lawn for their homes, be it Saint Augustine grass, or any other type of grass for that matter.
Suitability Of St Augustine Grass For Home Lawns
For anyone considering buying a new Saint Augustine grass lawn, then they should be aware of the strengths and the weaknesses of Saint Augustine grass to ensure that Saint Augustine grass is right for them, their home, and their needs.
A new roll on sodded lawn can be expensive, so we can imagine the heartache caused when people have to rip one lawn out which was never suitable, only to plant a new lawn type which is suitable.
Saint Augustine grass is a very good lawn type, but it will not be suitable for every home situation or growing environment or for every personal preference, so lets take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Saint Augustine grass.
Saint Augustine Grass Strengths
St Augustine grass is the best warm season grass type for shade tolerance.
So for every homeowner who needs lawn for a partial to heavier shaded area, then Saint Augustine grass should be one of the first lawn type considerations.
Just be aware, that not all Saint Augustine grasses are equal in shade tolerance, they are not. Some Saint Augustine grasses perform better in shade than others, though all Saint Augustine lawns are still far more shade tolerant that other warm season lawn types.
Saint Augustine Grass Appearance
Some people just love the appearance of the wide leaves of St Augustine grass. And for these people, they should of course consider Saint Augustine grass for their home lawn so to get a lawn for their yards which they are most happy with.
However, if the homeowner finds Saint Augustine may not be the right choice for them based on the weaknesses of St Augustine grass to follow, then such factors should take precedence over aesthetics.
Saint Augustine does have quite good drought tolerance compared to some other grass types, so this can also be a deciding factor in choosing a Saint Augustine lawn.
A Saint Augustine lawn in good health and condition will naturally overcrowd many different types of weeds amongst its thick layer of thatch of above ground runners. In this respect, Saint Augustine can be as good as Zoysia in self control of weed invasions. This is especially more so with many of the new varieties of soft Saint Augustine grasses.
However, weeds are still common in St Augustine, and should St Augustine be allowed to deteriorate in health and become thinned out, then weed invasion is equally as likely and can be as bad with Saint Augustine lawns as for any other grass type.
Not As Aggressive As Other Grasses
Unlike many other warm season lawns, which can often be both highly aggressive and can quickly invade surrounding lawns and garden beds, Saint Augustine is less aggressive in its growth patterns, and cannot creep underneath fences and garden borders like other grasses can, because Saint Augustine has no underground runners (rhizomes) to do so.
Saint Augustine Grass Weaknesses
The weaknesses of St Augustine grass should be equally considered along with the strengths of Saint Augustine. So here are the weaknesses of Saint Augustine grass, and should be strongly considered while choosing whether to choose Saint Augustine over other grass types.
Saint Augustine Grass Is Not Best Suited For Full Sun
It is known that the thatch layer of Saint Augustine grass will increase at greater speed and to greater depth when the grass is growing in full sun, when compared to being grown in partial shade.
Once Saint Augustine grass is grown in partial shade, many of these thatch problems may almost disappear.
Which is why it is my own preference that Saint Augustine grass is not best suited for full sun conditions, because this thatch in Saint Augustine is such a concern and can be made worse in full sun conditions.
Having said that, Saint Augustine grass can indeed grow in full sun just like any other warm season grass can, it can remain green and in good health under these conditions without any major concern arising from doing so, except of course for the increase in the thatch layer that can occur under these full sun conditions.
Growing Saint Augustine grass lawns in full sun conditions, or not, is a personal preference.
St Augustine Grass Appearance
Just as some people love the appearance of the wide leaf of Saint Augustine grass, just as many people may don't like it. The appearance of Saint Augustine grass is that of the very wide leaf blades of course, but also of the masses of thick runners which can be seen in the St Augustine grass from its above ground runners called stolons.
Once again, we must say that aesthetics should not be the deciding factor if your home environment requires a lawn type for shady conditions. If the lawn area has shade up to 40% then Zoysiagrass is a very good lawn choice as an alternative, but for shaded areas between 40% to 70% shade, then St Augustine is the only lawn choice for many homeowners in warmer regions.
Take All Root Rot
Take all root rot is a possible Saint Augustine grass disease in some areas, and cannot be cured, and once a Saint Augustine lawn is infected, the owner of the Saint Augustine lawn has two options. The first option being to manage the disease and try and keep the lawn looking as healthy as possible by cultural management methods such as regular fertilization, removing excessive shade, carefully managing water etc.
And the other alternative to treat Take All Root Rot is to remove the lawn and plant a different lawn type, or even a new Saint Augustine grass lawn.
Take All does not infect all Saint Augustine lawns, nor a majority, but it is very serious, and as such it must be included into our weaknesses column for St Augustine grass as a possible concern for some unlucky Saint Augustine grass lawn owners. Though it is usually a very rare lawn disease and should not be a major deciding factor in choosing Saint Augustine grass.
In the end, the homeowner will need to decide for themselves whether Saint Augustine grass is the best lawn for their homes, or if another lawn type may be more suitable.
But such a choice should be made on honest facts and clear choices to ensure the best lawn type is being chosen for our individual properties, and not based on advertizing or marketing.
Saint Augustine grass is a very good lawn variety which has been trusted for a very long time. And the purpose of this article is to ensure that everyone whose needs dictate a Saint Augustine lawn, can choose Saint Augustine with confidence, and that everyone whose needs would be better served with another grass, can also choose so with confidence so that they don't end up buying a grass which may not be suitable for their needs.