Saint Augustine grass can look dead when it is coming out of dormancy from the winter. Cold temperatures, foot traffic and rain cause bare spots in unhealthy-looking Saint Augustine grass. By employing proper cultural practices, gardeners can give their Saint Augustine grass new life. It is important to act quickly, because unhealthy lawns are at risk for contracting fungal diseases and pest problems. To get a healthy-looking lawn for the summer, ensure you provide proper care -- that takes into account Saint Augustine's growing requirements.
Things You'll Need
- Spring-tined rake
- Lawn mower
- Power dethatcher
Rake your Saint Augustine lawn with a spring-tine rake to remove both dead and diseased grass. Stringy patches of grass indicate a fungal disease called mycelium, which need to be removed from the lawn. By raking up the dead grass, you allow more light and air into your grass, thus encouraging dense growth.
Fertilize your Saint Augustine lawn after it greens up. Fifty percent of the grass blades must be green or have come out of dormancy. Spread 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Water the lawn, so the fertilizer will absorb into the soil.
Apply fertilizer again in six weeks with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize every six weeks until mid-September, when the grass begins to go dormant for the winter.
Mow your Saint Augustine grass when it reaches 3 inches in height. Cut off 1 inch of grass to maintain a lawn that is 2 inches in height. Mowing shorter than that weakens grass blades and causes thinning.
Spread your grass clippings over the lawn. Grass clippings contain nitrogen, which promotes dense growth and green color.
Tips & Warnings
- Check your thatch layer each year to ensure that it is under 1/2 an inch thick. Thatch layers over 1/2 an inch thick cause unhealthy grass. Use a power dethatcher to remove thick thatch.
- Avoid fertilizing too early before grass has greened up for the year. Early fertilizing encourages weed growth.
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