Keeping a lawn alive in Florida can be a daunting task, but we’ve got all of the tips to keep a St. Augustine lawn plush and weed-free year round!
The trickiest thing about keeping St. Augustine weed-free is that MOST of the sprays you buy at a big box home store is not made for St. Augustine grass, and can even kill it. Read the label to find out if a spray or food is appropriate for St. Augustine before you purchase and use. We’ve found the most knowledgeable info about lawn care products from our local nursery, because they specialize in and curate their selection of products based on the exact area we live in.
Feeding and weeding – These chemicals are only applied at certain times of the year in a certain range of temperature. Going outside of those guidelines can kill your lawn. Read labels carefully and apply when the weather and time is right.
Fertilizer – Make sure you are following your city ordinance when it comes to the type of fertilizer you use and how you use it. Because run off from this chemical is detrimental to our beautiful Florida water ways, many counties only allow for it during small windows or under specific conditions. Make sure you check your city’s website for guidance.
Cutting – The taller any type of grass is, the deeper the roots are. The deeper the roots, the healthier your lawn will be because it can find resources to better protect itself from the hot Florida sun. SO, when it comes to mowing your lawn you want to set the blade on the highest (tallest) setting possible; if what you desire is a plush lawn that always looks healthy. Cutting a Florida lawn (regardless of the type of grass) on the lowest (shortest) blade setting results in burns and dead patches because the lawn likely has shorter roots, blunted blades and no way to protect itself from the burning sun.
Mulching Blade – Ideally select a mower with a mulching blade, where it cuts the grass very finely into a mulch that you do not bag, but instead leave distributed on the lawn as you mow it. This mulch feeds nutrients back into the lawn and also helps to block out weeds. If you have the appropriate “mulching blade” on your mower, there should never be big mounds of mulch – it’s so finely chopped and distributed evenly as you mow, you can barely notice it’s there at all.
Schedule – We cut the lawn once every 1.5 to 2 weeks in the summer. Cutting it weakens the blade’s protection in the sun – so if it is especially hot and sunny out we will try to push it towards two weeks.
Cut in the cooler times of the day – Cutting the lawn shocks it, so do it in the gentler parts of a Florida summer day, like just before sunset, the night before the sprinklers will go off. We also look for overcast days as well.
WATER –While St. Augustine grass is drought tolerant, it still needs water. Water on the days your city allots for. Water it regularly to supply the roots with everything it needs to survive and thrive in a Florida summer. Best time to water is early in the morning, just before sunrise.
Winter – Usually around October we stop cutting the lawn as regularly. When it’s in the most dormant part of the season it’s is also vulnerable. Spread your mowing out to “as needed” instead of maintaining a regular schedule. St. Augustine grows slower in the winter as well, so there’s no need to be as aggressive with the maintenance. Let it rest.
Looking for more lawn tips? Check out these past articles:
Sod vs. Seed, which is better?