A: St. Augustine is a vigorous turf grass that likes moderate fertilization; overdoing the fertilizer makes it prone to disease and insect issues. Here are a few things to do in order to do better than you’ve been doing:
- Fertilize two to three times per year, normally. St. Augustine does not generally need or want fertilization in hot weather, and disease spread is rampant when you do so. A good average rule of thumb is to start with a feeding in late March, one more in May, and a final feeding in September, if you don’t have a direct measurement otherwise. Don’t feed in June, July, or August in your case.
- Get your soil nutrition levels checked. The Texas Agricultural Extension Service’s soil testing lab in College Station charges a modest fee to tell you exactly what you have and what your soil needs to succeed. The directions for taking a sample are simple, and the fanciest test any homeowner could need will run less than twenty dollars. If one or more of your soil nutrients are too high, this is a way you can just KNOW. Knowing is so much better than guessing, and it’ll help us tell you how to properly fertilize a lawn in your particular conditions to do better – or if you need to fertilize at all this spring.
- Proper applications of peat moss and fungicide. For most common turf diseases of St. Augustine, our Infuse lawn fungicide is a good prevention and treatment. If you had take-all root rot diagnosed last year (turf starts to die out in large patches in April and May, doesn’t regrow well back into the area in the following months is a good indicator), an application of Canadian peat moss is very helpful in addition to the fungicide. Chip sulfur is also helpful, but slow to make a difference.
Burton specializes in diagnosing and solving plant problems. If you have a question for Burton, please email him at email@example.com and include photos showing the problem.