St. Augustine grass grows well in warm, subtropical climates with moist soil and air. The blue-green grass grows thick and rich, with high salt and shade tolerance that allows it to grow in a variety of soil types. Pests and drought will adversely affect St. Augustine grass, making it look brown and unhealthy. Everyone wants to have a rich-looking, green lawn, rather than deadened, brown turf. Use one (or more) home remedies to make St. Augustine grass green and healthy-looking.
When to Fertilize
Add fertilizer to the lawn two weeks after it has started to grow in the spring. Generally, St. Augustine grass requires 1 lb. of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of grass. Commercial nitrogen fertilizers in a 15-0-15 ratio are suitable for St. Augustine grass. Apply two to six applications of fertilizer to the lawn throughout spring and summer to keep grass naturally green and healthy.
Types of Fertlizer
Commercial fertilizers work well on St. Augustine grass, but you may also make your own homemade fertilizer to provide your lawn with the nutrients it needs. Add meal-based fertilizer to alfalfa and soy to create a rich, organic fertilizer for the lawn. Meal-based fertilizers are more effective on St. Augustine grass than manure-based fertilizers.
Mix 1/4 cup of liquid soap with one can of brown cola (not diet) and 1 cup of ammonia. Spray the mixture on grass once a month to make your St. Augustine lawn look greener. The mix will even help to repel insects which might otherwise damage grass.
Epsom Salt Fertilizer
Mix 1 cup of Epsom salts with 1 cup of ammonia, and place in a plastic storage container. Take 2 tablespoons of the mixture and add it to 2 gallons of water. Spray the infused water on 150 to 200 square feet of St. Augustine grass to make your own fertilizing water that will help keep grass green and healthy. Apply the mixture to the lawn only once or twice a year, during spring and summer, as part of your normal fertilizing rotation.
Two common diseases of St. Augustine grass are brown patch and gray leaf spot, each of which will damage your lawn and make the grass look less green. The diseases are encouraged by excessive nitrogen, so reduce your fertilizing schedule if you notice this problem in your lawn. Leaf spot may be caused by excessive moisture, so reduce your watering schedule as needed to prevent the disease from spreading.
Proper watering is the best way to maintain a healthy, green St. Augustine grass lawn. When grass is suffering from lack of moisture, the blades will begin to sag and wilt. When that happens, add 1/2 to 3/4 inches of water to the lawn. Do not water St. Augustine grass regularly, only as needed. The soil should not stay consistently moist, as this will foster the growth of weeds, diseases and pests.
Mow St. Augustine grass properly to keep it green and healthy. The grass should be 3 1/2 to 4 inches high. Mowing the lawn lower than this will stress the grass and leaf blades, which will make it look less green in color. Keep lawnmower blades sharp to prevent dull cuts that will make the grass look brown. Sharpen blades once a month during spring and summer, when the grass is growing. Leave grass clippings where they lie, as this will help to fertilize the lawn.
St. Augustine grass will develop a natural layer of thatch, which helps create a natural mulch for the lawn. Too much of this thatch, however, will prevent nutrients and sunlight from getting to the roots of the grass. Gently rake St. Augustine grass once a year with a steel rake, toward the end of summer, to remove the excess thatch.
St. Augustine grass should be aerated once or twice a year in March, April or September, when temperatures are cool but not cold. To aerate the grass, punch 3-inch holes, about 3 inches apart, across the lawn. Aerating the lawn provides ventilation to the grass, fresh air that helps nutrients get to the roots and soil to make the grass healthier and greener. Do not aerate more than twice a year to avoid damaging the lawn.
Add earthworms to the lawn to naturally aerate grass and control thatch buildup. Earthworms dig tunnels that help keep the soil airy, and eat organic materials that cause thatch to build up in St. Augustine grass. Simply place three to four earthworms in the lawn and let nature take its course.