BUY157_Maintenance

MARCH through MAY

Mowing

Remove lawn debris (rocks, sticks and leaves). Due to the potential fire hazard and possible injury to the lawn, do not burn off centipedegrass to remove excessive debris.

Before the grass greens up, mow at 2-1/2” inches with a rotary mower to clear off the dead tops of grass leaves. Sharpen the mower blade to prevent damage to the grass plants.

Fertilization

To determine your soil’s nutrient composition, submit a soil sample to a soil-testing lab, if you haven’t so already. In absence of a soil test, fertilize with 1/2 pound of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet of lawn area in May or two weeks after greenup (whichever is last). Use a complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (e.g., 12-4-8 or 16-4-8).

To determine the amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 50 by the FIRST number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 12-4-8 fertilizer, divide 50 by 12. The result is 4.17 pounds of product to be applied per 1,000 square feet of lawn in order to supply 1/2 pound of nitrogen.

A yellow appearance to the grass may indicate an iron deficiency. Spray iron (ferrous) sulfate (2 ounces in water per 1,000 square feet) or a chelated iron source to enhance color, as needed. Follow label directions.

Irrigation

Proper irrigation now may prevent or reduce pest and other problems from occurring later in the summer. Water the lawn to prevent drought stress. St. Augustinegrass needs about 1” of water each week, all at once, if possible. If runoff occurs, stop watering until the water has been absorbed, and then continue watering until a total of 1” of water has been applied. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering (i.e., 1/2″ of water every third day).

Weed Control

If crabgrass and goosegrass have been a problem in the past, apply preemergence herbicides by the time dogwoods are in full bloom. Control broadleaf weeds as necessary with postemergence herbicides. St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D and MSMA), so read and follow the label directions, and use with caution.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs, and control them if necessary. To determine if white grubs are present, apply a soapy flush solution. Read the insecticide label, and follow directions carefully.

Also, check for chinch bug activity in sunny locations when yellow spots or drought symptoms appear. Push a coffee can (with both the top and bottom removed) into the ground, and fill it with water. If chinch bugs are present, they will float to the surface. Treat the lawn only if you observe 20 or more chinch bugs per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Disease Control

Watch for symptoms of brown patch (circular patches of brown grass up to several feet in diameter). Gray leaf spot may also appear on St. Augustinegrass. Control as necessary with proper fungicides. Read the fungicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Thatch Removal

If dethatching is necessary, mow the grass to 2-1/2”, and use a power rake with 3” blade spacing to dethatch.

JUNE through AUGUST

Mowing

Mow the lawn at 2-1/2” tall before the grass gets above 4”. Do not remove more than 1/3 the blades’ height at one time.

Also, practice grasscycling, which is simply leaving the grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings decompose quickly and can provide up to 25% of the lawn’s fertilizer needs. If prolonged rain or other factors delay mowing and clippings are then too plentiful to leave on the lawn, they can be collected and used as mulch. Whatever you do, don’t bag them — grass clippings do not belong in landfills.

Fertilization

Apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in June and August and 1 pound of nitrogen in July. In absence of a soil test, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio.

Do not fertilize St. Augustinegrass after August 31.

Irrigation

Follow the same irrigation guidelines in June through August as specified above for March through May.

Disease Control

Check for gray leaf spot and brown patch, and control if necessary. Read the fungicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Weed Control

Apply postemergence herbicides as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, such as knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, etc. St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D and MSMA), so read and follow the label directions, and use with caution.

Do not apply herbicides unless weeds are actively growing and the lawn is not suffering from drought stress. Check for the presence of crabgrass and goosegrass to determine if a preemergence herbicide is needed next spring.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs, and control them if necessary. August is the best time to control grubs because this is when they are small and close to the soil surface. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Also, check for chinch bug activity, and follow the same guidelines as specified above for March through May.

Thatch Removal

The best time to check for thatch is late in the summer. If the thatch layer is 3/4″ thick, dethatching is recommended the following spring.

SEPTEMBER through NOVEMBER

Mowing

Mow the lawn to 2-1/2” tall before the grass gets above 4”. Do not remove more than 1/3 the blades’ height at one time.

Fertilization

Do not fertilize St. Augustinegrass after August 31.

Irrigation

Water to prevent drought stress. About 1” of water per application each week is needed for growing St. Augustinegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering (i.e., 1/2″ of water every third day). Water following the onset of dormancy (browning of foliage) if needed to prevent excessive dehydration.

Weed Control

Check for the presence of crabgrass and goosegrass to determine if a preemergence herbicide is needed next spring.

Insect Control

Check for chinch bug activity, and follow the same guidelines as specified above for March through May.

Thatch Removal

Check for a thatch layer in early September. If the thatch layer is 3/4″ thick, plan to dethatch the following spring shortly after greenup.

DECEMBER through FEBRUARY

Mowing

Dormant St. Augustinegrass does not need to be mowed. Remove lawn debris (rocks, sticks and leaves). Due to the potential fire hazard and possible injury to the lawn, do not burn off centipedegrass to remove excessive debris.

Fertilization

Do not apply fertilizer or lime at this time.

Irrigation

Water to prevent excessive dehydration.

Weed Control

Apply broadleaf herbicides to control chickweed, henbit, etc. St. Augustinegrass is sensitive to certain postemergence herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D and MSMA), so follow the label directions for reducing rates, and use with caution. Selected herbicides (e.g., atrazine and simazine) can be applied in November or December to control annual bluegrass (Poa annua) and several winter annual broadleaf weeds. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.