A lush green yard is every homeowner’s goal, but sometimes your yard begins to experience brown spots, yellow color, or even worse, dead patches. There are a handful of reasons that a yard can enter into decline. Weather and environmental damage, pests, and disease are the major causes of damage to most yards. However, if you want to know how to repair St Augustine grass, read on…
How to repair cold-weather damage to St Augustine grass
Cold weather is hazardous for St Augustine grass. In fact, temperatures in the twenties can damage or kill a St Augustine lawn. Trauma from cold weather temporarily stuns St Augustine, leaving unsightly damage in its wake. However, there are a handful of steps that you can take to repair cold weather damage on St Augustine grass.
Rehabilitation and repair should only be done once the coldest part of the winter or your last frost date has passed. Future freezes may negate any efforts to repair your lawn.
- Water your St Augustine grass
- Dethatch your lawn
- Seed or Sod as Necessary
1. Water St Augustine
Ensure that your recovering lawn receives at least one inch of water per week. A lawn exiting dormancy will need ample water supply to ensure a healthy recovery. Also, water is an essential element for lawns to process nutrients from the soil. If your yard does not receive at least one inch of water per week, it may bounce back more slowly from the cold damage or may not bounce back at all.
2. Dethatch Lawn
Using a garden rake and/or dethatcher to remove all debris and dead grass from your yard.
Dethatching and removing debris will help your lawn in several ways:
- Helps grass receive proper sunlight and nutrients
- Makes it easier for stunned/damaged grass to regrow
- Aerates the soil leading to more efficient nutrient absorption
3. Seed or Sod
The fastest way to repair damaged or dead grass is to seed and/or sod.
After following the steps outlined above, apply seed or sod to dead areas of your lawn. If seeding, make sure you have loose enough soil or use topsoil to plant your seed.
Water is a must to regrow a yard from seed or sod successfully. Therefore, make sure you apply ample water after spreading seed or laying sod.
How to Repair Disease Damage to St Augustine
Root rot, brown patch, and a host of funguses are the most common diseases to strike a St Augustine lawn. Seeing diseased or brown spots appear on your lawn can be disturbing, but like people, lawns get sick from time to time. Proper fungicides and a little extra TLC can get your yard back on track.
1. Verify Water Application
St Augustine requires at least one inch of water per week at a minimum. However, m, more water may be needed during hotter months.
If you are applying more water to your lawn than the minimum and begin to see brown spots, you may be watering too much. As a matter of fact, excess water to St Augustine will often do more harm than good.
Overly moist soil plays a host to all types of mold and fungi that can damage your lawn. Dry out your ground and see if the fungus issue resolves with the moisture being removed.
2. Do Not Over-apply Fertilizer
Overfertilization can scorch and burn grass blades and leave your lawn with brown or dead spots. Also, overfertilization can make your property more vulnerable to fungal or insect attack.
A strained yard is not able to combat natural threats in the same way as healthy grass. Always follow a proper fertilization plan for your St Augustine lawn that has been customized to your climate.
After verifying that you are not overwatering or over-fertilizing your lawn, you need to find a fungicide to treat your St Augustine lawn. Confirm which fungus you are combatting and apply it at the manufacturer’s suggested rates. Most fungicides come in a liquid form and require a sprayer and personal protective equipment.
Armada 50 WDG is a professional grade fungicide that will treat many common funguses in St. Augustine yards. Refer to the label to make sure this product will treat your issue.
4. Repair the Lawn
Repair the affected areas with by either over-seeding or applying sod once the fungus issue is resolved.
How to Repair Lawn Damage from Pests and Insects
Chinch bugs, webworms, armyworms, and mole crickets are the most common type of pests that invade St Augustine lawns.
Most lawn pests will be visible to the human eye either by themselves or the damage they leave behind. Brown spots are often the first indicator of an invasion. Additionally, you may see jagged scars missing from grass blades where pests have eaten away at them. Another indicator are burrow mounds where mole crickets dig into the root system of your lawn.
1. Dethatch Your Lawn
A thick thatch layer can provide a home for invasive pests to live in. Therefore, removing the thatch will remove their habitat. Additionally, a thatch-free lawn makes your lawn stronger whether pests are present or not.
Thatch prevents St Augustine grass from properly accessing nutrients in the soil. When this happens, it it becomes stressed and more susceptible to insect attack.
2. Mow Your Lawn
Much like dethatching your lawn, removing excess grass will eliminate cover and food for the invading insects. Additionally, regular mowing makes fertilization or insecticide applications easier and more effective.
Warning: Be careful not to spread insects from an infected area of the lawn to a perfectly good portion of the lawn by bagging and properly disposing of the clippings.
3. Apply Insecticide
The most efficient and effective way to rid your lawn of insects is with a broad-spectrum insecticide. Talstar Pro is great at ridding your yard of hundreds of different types of pests.
Lawn insecticides come in liquid and granular forms and will need to be applied using either a sprayer or spreader. As with any chemical, always follow the manufacturer’s application rates and safety instructions.
For those who like granule insecticides, Merit 0.5G is an easy to apply granule that will eliminate many common insects that affect St. Augustine grass.