Dallas Homeowners: How to Care for St. Augustine Grass

Caring for St. Augustine grass

St. Augustine grass thrives in Dallas, Texas making it a favorite for homeowners in the area. The grass is tolerant to the Texas heat, can survive small periods of droughts and can grow in just about any soil type. The grass is characterized by its dark green hue and dense carpet-like cover. As a warm-season grass, it grows best in warm and humid areas. Its resilience to heat makes it an easy choice for any southern state, and getting on a regular maintenance schedule can keep this lawn flourishing for years.

Starting New

Photo: homemadeaustin.com

St. Augustine grass comes as sod, sprigs or plugs and is best planted between May and August. Measure the desired area to ensure you buy enough materials and then begin the prepping process.

Start with raking or tilling the lawn until the soil is loose. Be sure to get rid of all weeds, whether by pulling them or applying a herbicide. If there are leftover weeds they will grow into the new lawn. There are soils offered that are designed specifically to enhance growth and nourishment through the early stages of a new lawn. Use this to fill in low spots around the lawn. Lay the sod, sprigs or plugs around the yard and sprinkle a slow-release starter fertilizer. Avoid using other fertilizers because they may damage the new grass.

Begin watering two times per day for the first three weeks after planting, then move towards a regular watering schedule. Make sure not to flood the new grass to keep it from catching a disease or fungus. To ensure this, water in the early morning and early afternoon while the sun is out.

Seasonal Care

Spring

As soon as the grass begins to turn green again from winter dormancy its time to up your water regimen to two times a week and start a regular mowing schedule. The first of the grass clippings will help to fertilize the lawn so it’s best not to bag them. About three weeks after the grass turns green apply fertilizer to the lawn. Springtime is an important marker in lawn care for deciding how lush your grass will be for the growing seasons.

Summer

St. Augustine grass does great in the summer with proper care from the spring. Measure the amount of water the lawn gets per week from rain and supplement that with watering. The lawn should get about an inch of water each week. Watering twice a week is recommended. Use the same mowing schedule as spring season during summer.

Apply a 2nd fertilizer 8 to 10 weeks after spring fertilization for the best growth throughout the end of summer.

Fall

Texas’ autumn seasons can feel like a continuation of summer. With that in mind St. Augustine grass will continue to flourish in warmer seasons, so until cooler days, continue the regular mowing and water schedule from spring and summer.

During cooler days, the grass will start to turn brown as it goes dormant. The grass will only need to be watered periodically at this point. Be aware of warmer, windy and dry days because this is when the lawn will need a little water.  

Winter

During the winter season, the lawn will be dormant so there is not much upkeep at this point. Do not apply any fertilizer in the months of December through February.

Local Pests

Chinch Bugs are common in St. Augustine grass, especially in the summer. They love heat and the lawn will give them a steady stream of food. Watering the lawn regularly and keeping the lawn healthy will proactively keep the pests away. If, however, the pests are already present, investing in a pesticide may be the only way to get your lawn back. Look out for any patches of yellow grass as this can be a sign of pests.

Fire ants are the bane of every Texan’s existence. These little pests usually find their way into St. Augustine grass as well. Pesticides tend to be the first response to these suckers, however, if you are opting for a more natural remedy, a 3 percent dish soap to water formula can get rid of them.

Watering

Photo: agrilife.org

Watering is essential for any lawn, but especially so in Texas. St. Augustine grass is only slightly drought resistant, so monitoring how much rain the lawn gets is very important. Watering the lawn twice a week is good for this grass. The best time frame to water is early morning and early evening.

Watering Restrictions for Dallas

The city of Dallas has a strict two times per week watering schedule. Depending on the last digit of your address there are certain days allotted for watering. Even numbers are Sundays and Thursdays, odd numbers are Saturdays and Wednesdays and no address numbers fall on Sundays and Thursdays as well. Watering is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the days watering is allowed. These policies have been in place since 2012 to ensure that there will be water in the future for a growing population.

Still have lawn care questions that need to be answered? Visit our Dallas, TX lawn care page or read what’s going on in your state.

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Written by Wikilawn

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

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