St Augustine grass has its origins in South Africa. Today it is common in south-eastern United States of America, Mexico and South America. It is also to be found in the Caribbean Islands and Mediterranean areas. It grows well in tropical conditions and is found in abundance around marshlands, shore lands and lagoons where the moisture content is high. It is planted as sod and plugs which when they once take root grow very sturdily. They do not allow other grasses and weeds to invade the soil. It can easily be planted in soils with pH levels within the range of 5.0 to 8.5. The grass grows rapidly with runners or ‘stolons.’ This is a dark green coloured grass with wide blades.
St Augustine grass is available in many varieties with attractive names like, Captiva, Seville, Palmetto, Floratine, Texas Common, Floratam and Sapphire. It has a very elegant botanical name too which is Stenotaphrum secundatum. St Augustine grass is also known by various other names including buffalo grass, crabgrass, wiregrass, gramillon and carpetgrass. St Augustine grass needs at least eight hours or more of sunlight to grow and thus is not very good for shaded areas. On the other hand it can sustain itself in salty soil. St Augustine grass requires frequent mowing.
It is a sturdy grass once it has taken root and spreads within a period of five to six months. Until then it is a bit of a temperamental grass and requires careful tending during its infancy. St Augustine grass requires a warm ambient temperature. It also requires a certain amount of moisture and it requires some nutrients in the form of fertilisers. St Augustine grass can withstand mild winters but loves warmer climes. It can grow in various soil types but the soil should neither be too dry nor too wet. It cannot grow where water tends to pool up around it. It is also not very fond of areas which are too far inland from the sea coast. Near the coast with regular rainfall it does not require much maintenance. St Augustine grass is a bluish green glass which requires to be planted in a special way. It should ideally be planted during the warm season so that it can take a firm footing before the onset of winter.
St Augustine grass gives a thick and soft texture to lawns. It reminds people of the Mediterranean coast and the Gulf of Mexico. When a lawn is planted with St Augustine grass it needs to be irrigated with short sprays of water lasting from five to ten minutes. This should be done throughout the day at regular intervals to sustain a feasible level of moisture. This should be done for about seven to ten days. After this the grass should be watered once a day again for a period of seven to ten days. After three weeks the grass can then be watered two to three times a week and later as per requirement. By this time the Augustine grass has become firmly rooted in the ground. The chinch bug is its worst enemy. A healthy St Augustine grass lawn looks beautiful and gives a lifetime of pleasure to the owner and the beholder.