St. Augustine Grass in North Texas

This is a general article to give you some basic background information about St. Augustine grass. There are links contained in this article which will allow you to find more detailed information about the history of St. Augustine grass diseases, required cultural practices and the various types of St. Augustine sod that have been produced.

History of St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the early 16th century when it was first discovered in the West Indies by Spanish explorers. It is believed that the grass was named after St. Augustine, a city in Florida where it was first introduced by the Spanish in the late 1500s. From there, the grass spread throughout the southeastern United States and became a popular choice for lawns and landscapes due to its tolerance for heat and shade.

In the 1920s, St. Augustine grass was further developed and improved through breeding programs that resulted in new varieties with enhanced characteristics such as disease resistance and drought tolerance. Today, St. Augustine grass is widely used in warm-season areas around the world and continues to be a popular choice for homeowners, landscapers, and sports turf managers. Its rich history and enduring popularity are a testament to its resilience and adaptability in a wide range of growing conditions.

Scientific Description of St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass, also known as Stenotaphrum secundatum, is a warm-season, perennial grass that belongs to the Poaceae family. It is a coarse, dense grass with broad, flat leaves that are bright green in color and grow up to 10 inches long. The grass grows in a low, spreading habit and has a shallow, fibrous root system that allows it to thrive in hot and humid environments. Important note: the shallow above ground root system means that St. Augustine should never be scalped. Read the following article for which types of turfgrass can be scalped in the Spring in Texas:

St. Augustine grass is adapted to a wide range of soil types, including sandy and clay soils, and can tolerate both drought and flooding. It prefers full sun to partial shade and requires regular watering and fertilization for optimal growth and health.

The grass is commonly used for home lawns due to its ability to form a thick, lush turf that is tolerant of foot traffic and wear. It is also used for erosion control and as a cover crop in agricultural settings.

St. Augustine grass is susceptible to several diseases and pests, including brown patch, gray leaf spot, TARR, and chinch bugs. However, through ongoing research and breeding programs, new varieties with improved disease resistance and other desirable traits continue to be developed.

Overall, St. Augustine grass is a versatile and resilient turfgrass that has played an important role in the landscape and economy of warm-season areas for centuries.

Fungus St. Augustine Grass Diseases

St. Augustine grass is susceptible to a number of diseases that can impact the health and appearance of the turf. Some of the most common diseases that affect St. Augustine grass include brown patch, gray leaf spot, SAD, and take-all root rot.

Brown Patch – brown patch is a fungal disease that typically occurs in warm, humid weather conditions. It causes circular patches of brown grass that can range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. The disease is spread by spores and can be controlled through proper fertilization and watering, as well as fungicide treatments.

Gray Leaf Spot -  is another fungal disease that affects St. Augustine grass. It causes grayish-brown lesions on the leaves and stems of the grass, which can eventually lead to large dead patches in the turf. Gray leaf spot is most common in hot, humid weather conditions and can be prevented through proper cultural practices such as mowing, watering, and fertilization.

Take-All Root Rot – Take All Root Rot (TARR) is a soil-borne disease that affects the roots of St. Augustine grass. It causes the roots to rot, which can lead to yellowing and thinning of the turf. It also helps increase nutrient and fertilizer "lock-up" in high PH, alkaline soils as the shorter the roots get the less the nutrients are available to be used by the grass.  Take-all root rot is most common in overshaded lots. And since it is a soil-borne fungus disease there is no cure for it, it can only be managed.

Saint Augustine Decline Virus (SAD) -

Culvalaria -

Other diseases that can affect St. Augustine grass include dollar spot, Pythium blight, and nematodes. Regular monitoring and care of the turf, including proper irrigation, fertilization, and mowing, can help prevent and control these diseases. If you suspect that your St. Augustine grass is suffering from a disease, it is recommended to consult with a professional turf manager or extension agent for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Types of St. Augustine Grass Sod Varieties

There are several different varieties of St. Augustine sod available, each with its own unique characteristics and growing requirements. Some of the most popular varieties include:

  1. Floratam: This is the most widely used variety of St. Augustine grass in Florida. It has a dark green color, coarse texture, and is highly tolerant of heat and humidity. Floratam is also resistant to chinch bugs and other common pests.
  2. Palmetto: Palmetto is another popular variety of St. Augustine grass that is known for its shade tolerance and low maintenance requirements. It has a medium green color, fine texture, and is resistant to most diseases and pests.
  3. Bitterblue: Bitterblue is a darker green variety of St. Augustine grass that is known for its dense growth habit and excellent cold tolerance. It has a medium texture and is resistant to many common diseases and pests.
  4. Seville: Seville is a fine-textured variety of St. Augustine grass that is known for its compact growth habit and low water requirements. It has a light green color and is tolerant of heat and humidity.
  5. Captiva: Captiva is a newer variety of St. Augustine grass that is known for its exceptional shade tolerance and low maintenance requirements. It has a medium green color and fine texture.
  6. Raleigh:
  7. Sapphire:
  8. Delmar:
  9. Amerishade:
  10. CitraBlue:
  11. Classic:
  12. Jade:
  13. Captiva:
  14. Palisades:
  15. Texas Common:
  16. Laredo:
  17. Floratine:

When selecting a variety of St. Augustine grass, it is important to consider factors such as sun exposure, soil type, and water availability. It is also important to choose a variety that is adapted to your local climate and growing conditions in order to ensure optimal health and growth of the turf.