About Raleigh St. Augustine Grass

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Raleigh St. Augustine grass is a subspecies of the popular St. Augustine grass, often grown in Florida. With its broad leaves and full coverage, St. Augustine has become a relatively popular grass for parts of Florida. However, most types of St. Augustine grasses have some problems that make them difficult to deal with. Raleigh St. Augustine seeks to alleviate some of those concerns.

History of

  • Raleigh St. Augustine grass was released by North Carolina State University in 1980. As one of the newest subspecies of St. Augustine grass, there are still a number of questions that exist about the grass. However, since its release, it has started to gain popularity in some parts of the South, especially in the northern sections of Florida.

Significance

  • Despite its popularity, St. Augustine is a remarkably fickle grass variety. It does not like it too cold, but is normally able to endure hot conditions without too much difficulty. However, if the area is too shaded, it can quickly become thin and make the yard look rather unhealthy. It can handle traffic, but not excessive traffic. It needs plenty of water and is susceptible to chinch bugs.

Benefits

  • The main advantage to Raleigh St. Augustine grass is that it is better able to handle colder conditions than most other varieties of St. Augustine. That is why it is catching on in the northern sections of Florida, where there are more freezes. However, the trade-off is that it may not be as tolerant of heat as other forms of the grass. Therefore, its popularity will likely not extend any further south than the top of Florida. Also, the grass variety may be more drought tolerant than other forms of the grass.

Identification

  • Like all forms of St. Augustine grass, it is known for having very broad leaves and having prominent runs just underneath, and sometimes on top of, the soil. It has a medium green color and a coarse texture. However, because it is very similar in appearance to other forms of St. Augustine grass, those who want to make sure they are dealing with, or buying, Raleigh St. Augustine should ask the dealer or professional landscaper about the variety specifically.

Features

  • For those interested in Raleigh St. Augustine, it should be noted there are plenty of differences in the way it is grown compared to other forms of the grass. Usually, this variety of St. Augustine grass prefers heavier clay soils with plenty of organic material. Most other forms of St. Augustine grass are very comfortable growing in sandy conditions. This may help explain why it is more drought tolerant. A heavier soil is often better able to retain moisture longer than sandy soils.

Risk Factors

  • As mentioned before, heat is one of the big risk factors for this type of grass. It is known to yellow in hotter temperatures. This yellowing may mean the grass is in distress, but it hardly ever causes the grass to die. Some have found that an iron supplement during the hottest times of the year can actually take away this yellow coloration. So even this apparent shortcoming can be overcome relatively easily by professional lawn care specialists.

Significance

  • With its tolerance of lower temperatures, Raleigh St. Augustine grass could introduce an entirely new region of the country to the popular "Florida" grass. It has already been well received by many landscapers and sod growers in the Southeast. However, the grass is likely to be grown primarily near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, simply because there is too much risk of catastrophic cold weather the further north and the further inland one goes.

  • Photo Credit Van Swearingen
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