Home Blog How to make St. Augustine grass thicker – A detailed guide

How to make St. Augustine grass thicker – A detailed guide

by Jackson White

St. Augustine grass propagates quite easily and it grows into a beautiful and luscious grass type, especially when routine maintenance is done. However, it has a tendency to thin, and patchy St. Augustine grass is not exactly the prettiest.

When it comes to beautiful lawns that look like carpets, St. Augustine grass tops the list of some of the most lawn friendly grass types. It creates a flat and soft surface that is ideal for kids to play on and adults to relax on without having to deal with that uncomfortable tickling feeling that comes with grass. This grass type bears a close resemblance to the Kikuyu grass that is native to the Kenyan Highlands, but it is less aggressive and easier to control.

One of this grass type’s main shortcomings is its capacity to thin quite fast, leaving open patches that have little to no grass at all. So, how can you make your St. Augustine grass thicker? To make your St. Augustine grass grow thicker, make sure you seed during warmer periods of summer and ensure that your soils are appropriately aerated.

Unlike most cool season grasses that thrive during the cooler season of fall, this grass type is a warm season grass that flourishes in the warmer summer season. During this time, the seeds germinate much faster, and established turf also grows in leaps and bounds to become quite full. This grass grows by spreading on the ground, making it quite easy to thicken and re-populate.

As with any other grass type, the St. Augustine grass requires a substantial amount of care so that it remains healthy and beautiful. The table below gives a brief breakdown of routine care practices and how often they should be done to maintain healthy St. Augustine grass.

Routine care practices for St. Augustine grass to make it thicker

Maintenance practice
Method
Recommended interval
Dethatching
Run a dethatching rake across the turf to remove thatch
Annually/ when thatch is more than 0.5 inches thick
Mowing
Use a rotary mower to clip and mulch overgrown grass
Every 7 to 14 days
Fertilizing
Use a fertilizer that is nutrient-specific to what your soils need
After sodding and aeration, every 6 to 8 weeks during growing period
Aeration
Use an aerator
Annually
Weeding
Use weed selective chemicals or mechanical means to get rid of unwanted weeds
As often as needed
Watering
Use a sprinkler to ensure all corners of the lawn are constantly watered
Every 2 days – ensure the grass receives an inch of water per week
Pest and disease control
Use appropriate pesticides and herbicides
As often as needed

Routine care practices for St. Augustine grass – The best way to keep your lawn looking thick

Before delving into how to go about routinely caring for your St. Augustine grass lawn, have in mind that this grass type is not propagated through seeds. It comes as a plug or square cut that is laid gently onto prepared land to grow and spread. Below is a detailed description of how to regularly care for your St. Augustine grass lawn to make it grow thicker.

Sodding

There is no better way to ensure your St. Augustine grass stays beautiful and thick than ensuring that your planted grass grows properly. This grass type is rarely grown using its seeds. This is because they are very expensive and hard to acquire, and so the grass comes pre-grown as plugs. To create your lawn, these plugs are laid close together quite gently so that the grass begins to grow and form a compact thick lawn. Since this grass spreads by forming stolons, also referred to as runners, it spreads quite fast to fill any gaps left after sodding.

Mowing

Routine mowing does not just keep your grass looking beautiful, it also allows it to grow properly which eventually makes it quite healthy. This way, you can be certain that your grass does not just focus on vertical growth, but also on horizontal growth which eventually makes it spread and thicken.

Using the best soil type

St. Augustine grass thrives best in soil that is well aerated and that bears the capacity to drain off excess water with ease. When planted in water logged soils, this grass type runs the risk of getting damaged by excess water, leaving a bare patch where the water was. To avoid such an occurrence, plant this grass type in a high drainage soil. This way, it grows and thickens with ease.

Another soil factor to put into consideration is the soil pH. St. Augustine grass has a high preference to slightly acidic soils which allow it to grow and spread quite fast, resulting in a thicker and fuller lawn.

Constant watering

Watering your St. Augustine lawn is one of the most effective ways of promoting stolon formation and turf growth. Water allows for transportation of nutrients and minerals which in turn translates to increased growth. This common but effective practice ensures that your lawn thickens quite fast.

Weeding

Weeds often times come to destroy all forms of vegetation, and St. Augustine grass also falls victim. When weeds such as the Three Leaf Clover grow in the middle of your lawn, they deprive the grass of necessary nutrients, moisture and space necessary for growth. Routine weeding ensures that your grass stays compact and thick in all regions.

Dethatching

Thatch is mainly formed when living grass tangles up with dead grass that is tough and resistant to decay. It is unsightly, and it deprives the soil of air, and also prevents proper growth of the grass. Routine dethatching ensures a healthy population of thatch necessary for keeping the lawn healthy and thick.

Final Thoughts

A beautiful thick lawn makes for a pleasant sight and a delightful session of relaxing. It becomes more comfortable when the grass is thick and cushion like, and this can only be achieved when the grass is thick and luscious. Use the methods detailed above to ensure that your St. Augustine grass lawn stays thick and beautiful all year round for yours and your family’s enjoyment.

FAQs

How much time do St. Augustine plugs take to spread?

They take an average of 7 to 14 days to spread.

Does it turn brown during Winter?

Yes, it develops a straw color during this season.

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