St. Augustine is a grass type that is hardy and easy to grow, so it is often the favorite of homeowners who wish to have a lush green lawn. Despite its hardiness, there are some circumstances when it can start weathering and display yellowish hues.
That’s when you should get it altered, as it is a sign that your St. Augustine grass is dying!
However, unlike more delicate grasses like Bermuda or Fescues, you can still revive your St. Augustine grass even after it starts having some yellow patches. If you are curious to know how then keep on reading.
Top Reasons Why Your St. Augustine Grass is Dying
Before we talk about the reviving methods, let’s understand why your grass might have died in the first place.
As we said earlier, St. Augustine is a hardy grass variant, which means it can withstand tougher conditions than most other grass types.
But then, what wrong could you have possibly done to make it wither? Let’s take a look!
1. Over Fertilizing Your Yard
Fertilization is good, but over-fertilization isn’t! Using too many chemical fertilizers in your yard can cause your grass to turn yellow and burnt.
Especially if you are using too much nitrogen-based fertilizers, they will scotch the grass blades and shafts and create bald patches.
For St. Augustine grass, you should apply fertilizer a maximum of three times during the summer. This grass grows best in a soil pH of 6 to 6.5, which is why adding too much nitrogen-based fertilizers can be damaging.
For ease, you can use ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1000 square feet so you don’t overdo it.
Also, it is always a great idea to do a soil test before applying fertilizer to understand the exact nutritional needs of your turf.
On that note, the yellowing of grass can also happen due to iron and manganese deficiency in the soil. So, while doing the soil test, remember to check all its components thoroughly.
2. Not Regulating Soil Quality
Good soil quality is everything when it comes to growing a healthy turf. You can still get away with fertilizers and irregular watering if your yard’s soil is of good quality.
If you want a lush green garden full of St. Augustine grass, you must have more sandy soil. Since St. Augustine is a warm-season grass, it grows best in a sandy, well-drained soil of neutral pH.
Though the blueish-green grass blades seem rigid enough, the roots of St. Augustine are highly delicate. The roots require enough room and oxygen to support their growth and development, so the grass won’t grow that well if your yard is more clay-rich.
However, if your yard’s clay component is high, you can try some of these things below:
- Before seeding, balance out your yard’s soil by adding a mixture of sand and organic compost.
- If you already have grass, you can aerate your lawn occasionally to ensure there is enough room and oxygen flow for the roots.
If you have little to no clue about aeration and how to do it, you can check out our guide on how to aerate a lawn by hand.
Apart from these mistakes, some natural reasons can also cause your St. Augustine grass to die. While you may not initiate these problems, knowledge of them can definitely help you control them in the future.
3. Grass Diseases and Pests
St. Augustine grass can fall prey to some common grass diseases and turn yellow. Brown Patch disease is one of the most common ones, which mostly occurs during the mid or late summers due to the hot and humid climate.
The good news is it only affects the turf crown, so you can save and revive your grass if you act quickly. Some of the other common grass diseases include:
- Nigrospora stolon rot
- Gray leaf spot disease
- Fairy ring disease
- Clod damage
- Take-all root rot (TARR) etc.
Apart from these fungal diseases, St. Augustine grass might also come under pest attack, leading to its withering and rotting.
What are some common pests that love munching on this grass?
- Chinch bugs
- Grub worms
- Sod webworms
- Mole crickets, etc.
You will spot these unwanted visitors mostly during the summers and late fall to feast on the roots of your growing grass. Because of them, your grass’s root system will be completely destroyed and unable to absorb nutrients and water from the soil.
Can You Completely Revive Dying St. Augustine Grass?
The answer will depend on the cause of the damage. If you have gone through the previous section, you would know that certain damages are reversible, while some are not.
So, what caused your grass to die will determine whether or not you can fully revive your dying St. Augustine grass.
In most cases, if the damage is only limited to the crown and blades of your grass, you can easily fix it within a couple of weeks. But if the damage occurs in the root system, it might take months to see visible results.
Ways to Revive St. Augustine Grass
Now that we have discussed all the causes and possibilities of reviving your dying St. Augustine grass let’s see how you do it!
1. Water it Enough
In most cases, watering your grass enough solves the problem, so you can start from that. Especially if you notice brown patches during summer, it can be due to hot and dry weather.
Hence, sufficiently watering the grass can help rejuvenate it and stimulate growth, which can help gradually replace the brown patches.
Now you may think, how much is “enough”?
Any seasoned gardener would recommend watering your St. Augustine grass with about ¾ inch of water twice weekly or about 1 ½ inches per week. Anything more or less than that can affect your turf growth.
2. Let it be for Sometime
If you see rotting or discoloration in your grass, it means that it is already stressed. In that situation, fidgeting with it would not be a good idea.
So, while you water it, try to reduce footfall in the area as much as possible. If you park your car or keep some other heavy items on it, we recommend relocating them for a couple of weeks to let the grass relax for a while.
3. Fix the Soil Composition
Though this suggestion works best before seeding, there are a few cases where fixing the soil composition afterward might help you revive your grass.
To know what needs to be fixed (the texture or the nutrients), you first need to do a soil test.
You can buy a soil testing kit or contact your local garden authorities or agricultural department to get your yard’s soil tested.
But you can try this easy DIY test to check the soil compaction in your yard.
- Step 1: Take a screwdriver and shove it into the ground at a ninety-degree angle.
- Step 2: If it goes in easily, then the compaction level is all right.
- Step 3: If it requires you to put too much pressure, you need to loosen it up a bit.
You can also check for too much mulch build-up around the grass shoots. Too much of it can choke your grass, so detach them to give your grass some space.
4. Do Some Patchwork
If the patches are not reviving even after five to seven weeks of good care, their roots may have been damaged.
In that case, the only option left would be to do some sod patchwork. In this process, you will replace the damaged section with new living sod.
5. Use Pest Killers
If you notice any signs of fungal disease or pests, you must address them before moving on to anything else.
Identify the disease or pest infestation and apply appropriate pest killers. Also, while dealing with pesticides, follow the guidelines to the T and avoid any mishaps.
St. Augustine is a warm-weather grass, so you must water it every three weeks. However, in the growing phase, the amount and frequency of watering need to increase.
Tall fescue is considered amongst the hardiest and low-maintenance grasses. Their sturdy blades and deep roots make them perfect for high-traffic lawns.
The biggest disadvantage of planting St. Augustine grass would be its sensitivity to chinch bugs. They often struggle with chinch bug symptoms when the grass blades rapidly wilt and turn brown.
In conclusion, maintaining a lush, green St. Augustine lawn requires attention and care, but reviving it from a declining state is possible with the right approach.
The first step is understanding the reasons behind the deterioration of the grass, such as over-fertilization and poor soil quality. Watering the grass adequately and giving it time to recover is crucial to minimize disturbances. Improving soil composition and promptly addressing pest or disease issues are essential steps in the revival process.
With proper care and the appropriate remedies, you can easily revive your St. Augustine grass and enjoy a vibrant, healthy lawn once again!