In this video, Houston Grass Owner Michael Romine talks about St. Augustine grass care based on many years of experience in the grass business. For more information about buying grass sod, installing it and caring for your grass please check our library of Houston Grass information videos.
Summary of the St. Augustine Grass Care Video
How to care for St. Augustine grass? If somebody asks about St. Augustine grass care right after installation, I’d say that watering it is the most critical thing.
We’ve updated our recommendations since the video was recorded and those updated recommendations are reflected in the information below. Click the buttons to download our updated tip sheets.
Watering as Part of St. Augustine Grass Care
Watering Newly Installed St. Augustine Grass
With average water pressure, a portable style sprinkler might put out about two-tenths of an inch of water per hour so it takes 5 hours to put out 1 inch of water. You should verify your water output from your portable sprinklers or your irrigation system by using rain gauges in the areas to be watered. Most people overestimate the amount of water they’re putting down on that first day of installation so they underestimate the amount of water they’re putting on their new grass.
If you see water running out into the street before you’ve watered enough, that’s likely caused by a slope in your yard. You may want to water for shorter periods so the water can soak in without running off. But it is very very important to get down that recommended amount of water that first day. A rain gauge is the best way to measure the amount of water your sprinkler or irrigation system and Mother Nature are putting on your grass.
The months below refer to the month of installation.
January through March
We recommend one inch of water the day grass is installed or until the grass is squishy. Then water one inch every 7 to 10 days. When you can no longer pick up the corners of your grass pieces, reduce watering to one inch every 2-3 weeks. A good rule of thumb is if you can stick your finger into the ground and mud sticks to it, then you do not need to water. If the ground is hard and you do not feel any moisture, then turn the water on. Be sure to compensate for rainfall.
Once daytime temperatures consistently exceed 80 degrees, watering requirements must be increased to 1.5-2.0 inches on the day the grass is installed or until the sod is squishy. Then apply 1/2 inch of water every other day for two weeks. When you can no longer pick up corners, reduce to one inch a week. Again the best way to measure the watering is with a rain gauge.
May through September
Warm temperatures require more water for St. Augustine grass care. You should apply 1.5-2.0 inches the day your grass is installed or until the pieces are squishy. Then apply 1/2 inch every day for 2 weeks. This depends on daytime temperature — if the grass is wilting and stressed then short 30 minute waterings on a daily basis may be necessary in the evenings.
When you can no longer pickup corners after a week and a half or two weeks, reduce to 1 inch per week. You would do this in two to three 1/2 inch waterings through the week. Don’t make the grass go six days without water.
If you come home at the end of the day and you see the grass kind of gray and wilted, then give that grass a good drink. That might be another hour or so with a hose or a sprinkler. If you have an irrigation system, it might be only 15 or 20 minutes.
Apply 1.5-2.0 inches of water the day the St. Augustine grass is installed or until the grass pieces are squishy. Once daytime temperature consistently stays below 80 degrees, then watering requirements must be reduced, so as to not promote brown patch, to one inch every 7 to 10 days. When you can no longer pick up corners reduce to one inch every 2 to 3 weeks.
November through December
You should apply one inch of water the day your grass is installed or until the pieces of grass are squishy. Then apply one inch every 10 to 14 days. When you can no longer pick up corners reduce watering to one inch every 2 to 3 weeks.
Watering Established St. Augustine Grass
Note that the month refers to the calendar, not the date of grass installation.
January through March
Water one inch every 2 to 3 weeks. Be sure to compensate for rainfall.
April through September
Water one inch (two half-inch waterings if runoff is an issue) every week. If you come home in the evening and you see some stress your grass with the blades kind of closed up, you should increase that watering to three half-inch waterings per week. Again, a rain gauge is the most accurate way to measure the water your grass is getting.
Once the daytime temperature consistently stays below 80 degrees, we recommend that you reduce watering to one inch every 2 to 3 weeks so as to not promote brown patch.
November through December
Water one inch every 2 to 3 weeks compensating for rainfall.
Mowing as Part of St. Augustine Grass Care
Mowing Newly Installed Grass
Note that if you are following the suggested watering requirements, you will probably not be able to mow without leaving ruts for at least 2 to 3 weeks no matter what time of year you plant. The first time you do mow, you should have your mower set high enough so that you’re just cutting the tips off the grass blades.
Mowing Established Grass
You never want to remove more that 1/3 of the grass leaf because you’ll stress the grass if you do. During the growing season, you’re likely doing that if you wait more than 7 days between mowings. If you’re watering and fertilizing and have good topsoil, you may need to mow every 4-5 days. Other than the first post-frost mowing, we recommend that you do not remove grass clippings as they provide a good source of nitrogen and organic matter.
Fertilizing in St. Augustine Grass Care
Fertilization. The other critical component of any of the grasses is the fertilization. Minimum fertilizer requirements for all the grasses is twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall. For Bermuda grasses, I would say that you need to double that, so say four fertilizations per year. You only fertilize when the grass is green. If you fertilize too early going in the spring time and get another frost, you thrown your money away. Because basically the grass browns back off if it frosts and you’ve done no good.
And we don’t recommend fertilizing dead in the middle of summer either because that excessive nitrogen and excessive heat can tend to burn the grass. I would say early spring, late spring and throw another one in the fall to get it ready to go into dormancy.
As far as type of fertilizer, without testing your soil, all we can tell you is you need a balanced fertilizer, like a 15-5-10, Triple 13, or something like that. Something that’s got all three components but not one real high number and a zero on another or something like that. A good balanced fertilizer with a slow release form of nitrogen. It’ll usually say that on the bag. That way it doesn’t just get a burst of green and then that’s it. And get the nitrogen sticks around for awhile. Keeps that grass green for awhile as opposed to just greening up real quick and then that’s it.
Houston Grass is located south of Houston, just off Highway 6 a few miles east of Sienna. You can pick up your grass sod at our office or we can deliver it to you. If you have questions, please call us at 281-431-7441 or send us an email through our contact form.
Texas A&M University has a world-famous turfgrass research program, and the University provides a great reference for identifying the weeds commonly found in Texas lawns. If you want help in identifying any weeds, please check out this information. A&M also has information on the insects that typically impact Texas turfgrasses.