How to Make St. Augustine Grass Spread Quickly

Last Updated on October 16, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

If you want a beautiful, lush and thick lawn that is easily manageable and is resistant to weed growth, then St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a great choice for your home. Known as buffalo grass in South Africa and Australia, St. Augustine grass is an excellent thick, tough, carpet-like lawn grass variety that thrives especially in warmer climates and makes beautiful lawns.

With proper care and maintenance, and a warm climate, St. Augustine grass is a shade tolerant, thick and resilient turf, which can also tolerate heat. If you’re planning to get a brand-new beautiful lawn going in your home, then you may be wondering about the process of how you can get your St Augustine grass to grow and spread quickly.

Well, this can be a straightforward task if you have the proper information on how to grow and maintain a St. Augustine grass lawn. You just need to apply some proper lawn care. So, read on to know more…

Does St. Augustine Grass Spread?

Usually, St. Augustine grass is planted by using sods or plugs. The grass has flat and broad heavy leaves. As it grows, St. Augustine grass spreads and this is helped by stolons, the horizontal shoots, which grow and spread on the ground.

St. Augustine grass spreads quickly compared to most varieties of turfgrasses, which makes it an excellent option to grow a thick and carpet-like lawn.

What Is the Best Fertilizer to Make St Augustine Grass Spread Quickly?

To grow and thrive, St. Augustine grass requires soil with proper nutrients and so, regular fertilizer application is required as part of the lawn maintenance. St. Augustine grass doesn’t do well in cold temperatures or waterlogged soil and requires topsoil with good content of nitrogen and salt, with lots of area, allowing the roots of the grass to spread freely.

See also  Honda HRX217K5VKA Mulching Mower Review — Good or Great Lawn Mower?

The best fertilizer to aid the growth of St. Augustine grass comprises nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in the ratio 3:2:1. Nitrogen is very important for the growth of St. Augustine grass and there should be around 1 pound (0.45 kg) of soluble nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet (92.9 m²), which means that there should be a dense layer of nitrogen. Care should be taken when using nitrogen fertilizer in the early stages, apply sparingly.

However, for best results, before you apply the fertilizer, measure your yard. Also, verify the chemical composition and ratios of the fertilizer brand before buying the proper one.

Once you find the proper fertilizer for your St. Augustine grass lawn, apply it uniformly and avoid over-concentrating it because it can smother the sod and damage it.

Once you apply the fertilizer, water the grass; however, you must take care not to overwater. The soil should just be damp and not soaked because St. Augustine grass does not need a lot of water. Apply the fertilizer after the final frost of the season, because applying the fertilizer before this can harm the grass.

What Causes St. Augustine Grass to Turn Yellow?

Your St. Augustine grass could be turning yellow because of many reasons. If there has been a lot of rain, this could cause the nitrogen to leach out of the soil causing the grass to turn yellow because nitrogen is essential for the green growth of the grass.

Your grass could also be turning yellow because of iron chlorosis or iron deficiency. To prevent this, in the summer months, it’s a good idea to use a liquid iron or granular fertilizer.

How Often Should You Water St. Augustine Grass in the Summer?

Augustine grass requires frequent watering. In general, St. Augustine grass requires watering only once in 5 to 10 days. The water should penetrate around 6 inches (15.24 cm) into the soil for the healthiest grass.

Since this variety of grass is quite resilient, before summer, you can water it only if you see signs of drought stress, which include bluish-colored or dull shoots or shoots rolling in on themselves. In such cases, the grass will bounce back when you water it.

See also  How Long Does it Take Granular Fertilizer to Work?

Through the summer months, you must keep an eye on your St. Augustine grass and water it as required. The warmer temperatures mean that you may water the grass more often.

Ideally, water the grass in the morning. Avoid watering during the hottest hours of the day because, at this time, the evaporation rates are the highest, which will prevent the grass from getting the moisture it requires.

Watering the grass in the evening may cause the development of mildew or fungus because the sunlight is not enough to remove the excess water. If you notice that your St. Augustine grass is turning brown or hard, these are signs of poor hydration and nutrition.

Therefore, you must water the grass and apply fertilizer. The watering schedule for the St. Augustine grass in spring will depend on the weather. And, while the grass may be dormant in winter, you must still water it on dry, windy and warmer days.

What’s the Best Soil To Get St Augustine Grass To Spread?

Augustine grass grows well in pH ranges between 5-8.5, although slightly acidic pH is preferred. St. Augustine grass grows and thrives best in well-drained, sandy soil and it does not do very well or spread quickly in waterlogged, compacted clay soils.

This is because this soil usually does not have a sufficient oxygen supply, which can prevent the soil from supporting the growth of plants. The right type of soil will be well aerated and loose textured.

It is recommended to use clean free-flowing sand or sandy loam soil for the top dressing for a St. Augustine grass lawn. This will help in cutting the amount of water collecting in the soil.

Avoid using little or no organic material.

When to Plant St. Augustine Grass

The St. Augustine grass grows quite quickly during the summer months and the growth is slower in the colder months.

A warm-season grass, St. Augustine grass should be planted in the summer months to ensure the best conditions for the grass to grow and spread quickly.

However, it is important that the grass is watered regularly, especially when the weather is hot and dry.

See also  Lawn Alternatives — A No Mow Lawn Anybody?

Once you plant the grass sods or plugs, they may require watering many times in a day, particularly in the initial weeks. The lawn will not need frequent watering once it is properly established.

The growth rate of the grass will depend on various factors such as temperature, shade, moisture control and nutrients. During the winter, the lawn will be dormant and may not require as much watering or maintenance.

Correct Mowing of St Augustines Grass

Before any mowing, make sure that the St Augustine grass plugs or sod are properly rooted and are growing robustly. Once you see the grass growing normally, you can mow to a height of not less than 3.5inches (8.89 cm), ensuring that your mower has a sharp blade. The optimum height for mowing St Augustine grass is 3.5 to 4 inches.

How Long Does It Take for St. Augustine Grass Plugs To Spread?

Once the roots of the St. Augustine grass plugs are established, they begin to spread. Usually, it will take around 4-14 days for the newly installed grass stolons to start spreading.

Once the growth and spreading start, the time for the lawn to be filled may vary depending on the plug spacing.

Typically, for St. Augustine grass to spread fully across a regular-sized lawn, it will take more than 1 year.

Below is the spread guide on the basis of type, low-density and high-density planting. These are estimates on the basis of perfect conditions.

St Augustine Grass Plugs Density — How Many Plugs Will You Need?

High Density

  • Plug Spacing: 6” to 11” between each plug
  • Time to Fill: 1 growing season


  • Spacing: 12” to 18” between each plug
  • Time to Fill: Up to 1 year

Low Density

  • Spacing: 13” to 25” between each plug
  • Time to Fill: More than 1 year

Parting Words On How To Make St Augustine Grass Spread Quickly

We hope that this information is helpful to make your St. Augustine lawn grow, as well as spread quickly. However, remember that planting your lawn in the summer and watering it properly will help it to grow and spread vigorously.

Make sure to follow a proper maintenance schedule, and you’re sure to have a thick, lush and gorgeous lawn faster, that you can enjoy all year long.