How to Take Care of St. Augustine Grass in Texas

St. Augustine grass is a common choice for lawns in the southeastern coastal regions from the Carolinas to eastern Texas. With its coarse, thick blades, it forms a mat-like covering and requires low to medium maintenance. St. Augustine grass thrives in tropical conditions, and is also one of the more shade resistant of the warm season grasses. In parts of Texas where it is warm and sunny, but often drought laden as well, maintaining St. Augustine grass requires a bit of extra care.


Step 1

Feed your grass. St. Augustine grass responds well in terms of growth and color to nitrogen fertilizers. Begin fertilizing in the spring about three weeks after the grass greens up and after the risk of frost disappears. Use three-fourths to 1 lb. of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of grass per month during the growing season of late spring and summer. Apply every eight to 10 weeks. As winter nears (four to six weeks before the first frost is expected), use a low nitrogen, high potassium fertilizer and apply no more than one-half pound per 1,000 square feet. There is usually no need to fertilize St. Augustine grass during the winter months.

Step 2

Water the grass. Watering St. Augustine grass is easy: do it only as needed to supplement rainfall, especially in the wetter, coastal regions. You can tell it's time to water when your grass has a dull bluish color, folded or wilted leaves, and a lack of resiliency when stepped on. During the drier, hotter summer months of June through August, water weekly in the early morning such that the soil gets wet to a depth of four to six inches. If your grass is on sandy soil, water every three days. During the fall months, move back to watering only if and when needed (that is, when your grass starts showing signs of distress). During the winter, make sure to water any newly planted sod to prevent it from drying up.

Step 3

Mow the lawn as soon as it begins to green up in the spring. Set the mowing height to 2.5 to 3 inches. A lower mowing height like this requires more frequent mowing but results in a lusher, healthier lawn. Grass that's cut too short can become weakened and more susceptible to weeds. At a height of 2.5 inches, the grass should be mowed every seven to 10 days. Above that height, it should be mowed every 10 to 14 days. Once the grass becomes dormant (late fall and winter), there is no need to mow.