What are some simple steps to improve my St. Augustine grass?
Watering less is the easiest way to improve your St. Augustine (Stenotaphrum secundatum) lawn. Believe it or not, the average monthly rainfall in the Houston area is approximately four inches. This grass prefers about two inches of water a month, so typically we get enough rainfall to keep a lawn growing well.
Watering too much during times with cool nights, like spring and fall, can encourage fungal brown patch. Furthermore, watering less encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil, so the grass can withstand dry periods.
Fertilize only in the spring as the grass begins active growth with a simple organic 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer.
When you mow, use a mulching mower and change the setting to the tallest height. Then, to improve the soil and assist root growth, regularly rake in a light layer of organic compost over your lawn – perhaps even monthly.
And finally, return to the first step and minimize watering.
My own solution is to have a small lawn and more beds with flowers, herbs and vegetables. I prefer a lawn big enough for a bench and place to rest, and then use the remainder of the yard to encourage butterflies, bees and birds to visit.

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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