St. Augustine Grass

Stenotaphrum secundatum

St. Augustine grass forms a very dense lawn that feels great under bare feet. A warm-season turfgrass, native to the coastal plains of the Gulf of Mexico – it is best adapted to subtropical coastal regions with mild winters and plenty of rainfall. Consequently, it is widely used in lawns along the coast of the southeastern states, the Gulf of Mexico and throughout Florida.

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

When planted in the right spot St. Augustine grass will survive with little maintenance. With a little extra care it makes a thick, lush lawn. It is more shade-tolerant than other warm-season grasses but will grow best in full sun. It likes fertile, moist, well-drained soils and it will not grow in waterlogged or compacted soils. A vigorous grower when temperatures are between 80 ° and 90 ° F it is not cold tolerant and will not survive harsh winters. In coastal areas rainfall is usually adequate, it requires frequent irrigation when grown on sandy soils and during dry spells. Avoid planting in areas that receive heavy foot traffic – St. Augustine is not a good choice for sports fields.


  • Warm-season, perennial turfgrass
  • Native of the Gulf of Mexico coastal plains
  • Adapted to subtropical climates
  • Blue-green, coarse-textured (thick) leaves
  • Fast and thick-growing, spreads by stolons
  • Likes moist, fertile, well-drained soils
  • Good salt tolerance
  • Not drought-tolerant
  • Tolerates shade better than other warm-season grasses
St. Augustine Grass zone of adaptation map
Growing Range in the United States
St. Augustinegrass Public Domain Wikipedia
Public Domain Image – Wikipedia

St. Augustine Grass Establishment and Care

Planting: St. Augustine lawns are usually planted by sodding or plugging. New lawns should be started from May through August – allowing the grass to develop a strong root system before winter.


  • Bitter Blue – has a finer, denser leaf texture and darker blue-green color than Common St. Augustine.
  • Raleigh – developed by N.C. State and is the most cold tolerant.
  • Floratam – chinch bug resistant.
  • Seville, Jade and Delmar – semi-dwarf varieties with fine leaf texture and dark green color. These varieties should be mowed short (1 ½ to 2 ½ inches)
  • Floralawn – improved insect and disease resistance.
  • Floratine – Finer leaf texture and denser growth habit. It tolerates closer mowing.
St. Augustine Grass Illustration - USDA-NRCS
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase). 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 200. Washington, DC.

Order St. Augustine grass plugs from Yard Mastery.  Their current stock includes: PalmettoSeville, and Floratam. Also, check out their line of DIY fertilizer and soil optimization products.

Mowing: Mow between 2 to 3 ½ inches – depending on the cultivar. As with all warm-season grasses, it will need to be mowed every 7 to 10 days in the spring and as frequent as every 5 days while it is growing fast in the summer. Stick to the 1/3 Rule – mowing frequently enough so you don’t remove more than ⅓ of the leaf blade. Mow at shorter heights in the summer and raise the height of cut going in the fall to encourage the grass to build up energy reserves in preparation for winter. Keep your lawn mower blades sharp for a clean manicured cut.

Watering: The coastal areas usually receive enough rain to support St. Augustine without supplemental irrigation. However, it does not tolerate drought and will need to be watered during dry periods. You cannot neglect St. Augustine lawns — they are easy to kill when not watered.

Fertilizing: Start fertilizing about 3 weeks after the grass has started to green up in the spring. Three applications of slow-release nitrogen – April, June and August – at a rate of 1lb per 1000 ft2 will keep your lawn healthy and green. Apply no more than 3 lbs of nitrogen per year and use a slow-release fertilizer. High rates of fertilizer will cause thatch buildup and increase the chances of insect and disease problems.

Have your soil tested at least once every 3 years. The results will tell you if you need to add lime or other soil amendments.

Iron deficiency can be a problem with St. Augustine. It readily develops chlorotic symptoms in alkaline or iron-deficient soils and may require a fertilizer containing iron.

More Grass Types:

Buffalo Grass Lawns Buchloe dactyloides

A warm-season perennial grass that is a good choice for low-maintenance landscapes. Buffalo grass is the only native grass species widely used in lawns.

Bermuda Grass Lawn Care, Types, Planting and Maintenance

What is Bermuda grass? Hybrid vs. Common uses and the best types for home lawns. How to plant and care for a Bermudagrass lawn. Helpful DIY tips and advice for planting and growing grass.

Zoysia Grass

Is Zoysia grass perfect for home lawns? It’s beautiful when properly maintained. If you are lucky enough to live in a climate suitable for growing warm-season grasses, zoysia might be the best choice.

Find out how much your job will cost