How to Successfully Plant St. Augustine Grass Plugs

St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for lawns in warm climates due to its ability to tolerate high temperatures and humidity. Its vibrant blue-green blades form a dense and visually appealing turf that can withstand coastal conditions, making it an ideal option for coastal yards. One of the easiest ways to establish a St. Augustine lawn is by planting plugs of established grass, which will gradually fill in the spaces between them, resulting in a lush and beautiful lawn. In this article, we will guide you through the process of planting St. Augustine grass plugs, ensuring your lawn thrives and gives you the outdoor space you desire.

When and Where to Plant St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass thrives best in the warmth of spring and summer, when temperatures typically range from 80-100 °F. To give the grass ample time to establish itself, it’s recommended to plant St. Augustine grass plugs or sod in full sun at least 90 days before the estimated fall frost in your region. This will allow the grass to establish strong roots before the onset of colder weather.

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Preparing Your Lawn for St. Augustine Grass Plug Planting

Before you begin planting St. Augustine grass plugs, it’s essential to prepare the area properly. If you are replacing an existing lawn, consider renting a sod-cutter to remove the old sod and vegetation. Additionally, applying a non-selective herbicide two weeks before planting will help eliminate any weeds. Ensure that the herbicide used does not leave a residual effect that could harm the newly planted St. Augustine grass. If you encounter a few scattered weeds, make sure to hand-pull them completely, including the root system, to prevent their regrowth during the establishment phase of your grass plugs.

Applying EZ Patch™ Lawn Repair for St. Augustine Lawns

To help your St. Augustine grass plugs fill in faster, evenly apply Scotts® EZ Patch™ Lawn Repair for St. Augustine Lawns over the planting area, covering any bare ground. This lawn repair product is infused with fertilizer and a mulch that effectively absorbs up to six times its weight in water. The moisture-absorbing mulch helps to provide the necessary hydration and nutrients for your St. Augustine grass plugs, aiding in their rapid establishment.

Proper Watering Techniques for St. Augustine Grass Plug Planting

Thoroughly water the area before planting your St. Augustine grass plugs. Adequate watering not only makes the ground more malleable for planting but also provides immediate moisture to the roots of the plugs. Make sure the water you apply soaks into the soil instead of remaining on the surface. Continue watering until the EZ Patch™ is completely saturated, which may take several minutes.

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Digging and Planting Your St. Augustine Grass Plugs

Now it’s time to dig the holes for your St. Augustine grass plugs. To create an appealing diamond pattern, dig the holes diagonally, ensuring each group of four holes forms a diamond shape. The spacing between each hole should be approximately 12 inches, with the holes across the center of each diamond spaced 15 inches apart. The holes should be slightly larger than the root ball of the plug. Consider using a grass plugging tool, available for purchase or rent, to make the process more efficient and produce perfectly-sized holes.

Once the holes are prepared, press one St. Augustine grass plug firmly into each hole, ensuring they are level with the surrounding ground. If any holes end up being too deep, you can add a small amount of nutrient-rich soil to fill in the extra space.

Establishing Strong Roots for Your St. Augustine Grass Plugs

To help your St. Augustine grass plugs establish strong roots, water them daily or as needed until they are firmly rooted and starting to spread. Typically, it takes around 7-14 days for the roots to establish themselves. After this period, continue watering your lawn on a weekly basis unless there is substantial rainfall.

Monitoring for Potential Issues

Newly planted St. Augustine grass lawns are vulnerable to pests and diseases, so it’s crucial to monitor closely during the establishment phase. Keep an eye out for any brown spots or signs of mildew forming on your lawn. If you notice any issues, contact your local extension agency for appropriate treatment options.

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Maintaining Your New St. Augustine Grass Lawn

Once your St. Augustine grass lawn starts to fill in and the grass blades reach a mowable height, it’s time to start regular maintenance. Set your mower to one of the highest settings, around 3-4 inches, and mow the grass accordingly. Water your lawn when the leaf blades begin to fold and turn bluish-green in color. Around six to eight weeks after planting, feed your lawn with Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food. Continue to fertilize every 6-8 weeks until your lawn has completely filled in.

Choosing the Right Spreader for Your Lawn

Having the correct spreader for your lawn care routine is essential. Selecting the right broadcast spreader based on your lawn size ensures an even distribution of products. Below is a simple guide to help you choose the most suitable broadcast spreader for your lawn:

  • Small lawns: 1,500 ft² or less – Scotts® Whirl™ Hand-Powered Spreader
  • Medium lawns: 5,000 ft² or less – Scotts® Turf Builder® Edgeguard® Mini Broadcast Spreader
  • Large lawns: 15,000 ft² or less – Scotts® Turf Builder® Edgeguard® DLX Broadcast Spreader
  • Extra-large lawns: 20,000 ft² or less – Scotts® Elite Spreader

By following these guidelines and employing proper lawn care techniques, you can successfully plant St. Augustine grass plugs and enjoy a lush and vibrant lawn. For further information and high-quality products, visit Ames Farm Center.