St. Augustine grass is a favorite warm-season grass type in the southern United States. It grows well in a wide range of soil types and is drought-tolerant, but high foot traffic, cold weather and insufficient light—individually or collectively—may create problems for St. Augustine grass. No single action is likely to revive an ailing lawn, regardless of the grass type. With the proper combination of analysis and therapy, however, homeowners may revive a lawn of ailing St. Augustine grass.
Things You'll Need
Soil pH test
Push a measuring stick through the grass to the soil to check its thatch level. St. Augustine grass produces a heavy amount of thatch. Thatch is the living and dead organic material that is between the grass and soil. Though thatch is natural, a level that is higher than 1 inch can create bald spots in grass, give pests a hospitable home and increase the risk of the living grass contracting a fungal infection.
Set your dethatcher's blades to a medium level. It is important to avoid taking too much thatch out of the grass, which may create a weak root system. Push a dethatcher back and forth across your lawn. Rake up any thatch or debris.
Dig 10 6-inch holes in the yard. Collect 1/2 cup of soil from the bottom of each. Allow the soil to dry out on plastic if it is wet. Mix up the soil and pour 1/2 cup into a plastic container. Send it to an agricultural extension office for a soil test. St. Augustine grass must be grown within a soil pH range of 5.0 to 8.5. If the test results indicate the soil is too acidic, amend the soil with lime. Alkaline soil should be amended with sulfur.
Prune back tree branches that are casting too much shade on the grass. Make a 45-degree downward cut with a pruning saw near the tree collar to remove branches.
Place a tuna can near your sprinkler. Measure the amount of water you are giving your lawn. St. Augustine grass needs at least 3/4 inch of water per week. Increase the amount of irrigation time if less than 3/4 inch is captured in the can.
Keep your St. Augustine grass height at 1 to 3 inches.
Avoid fertilizing until St. Augustine grass has had a chance to come out of dormancy. Fertilizing too early may encourage weed growth.