St. Augustine Lawn Grass, Salvage or Start Over?


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Hello all, I just finished dethatching and removing all the accumulated leaves from the lawn in the home I just bought.
Lots of debris! 14 big contractor bags full of it! Got some weeds and a lot of bare spots. I know this is St. Augustine so I can't reseed,
and I have to make a decision to either try and regrow it (if that's possible), or tear up the ground and reseed with something else.
I can't afford to resod unfortunately, and I need it to look passable for the HOA. What do you guys think would be a good next move here?

Thanks!
 

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Greetings welcome to the Forums.

Lightly mulch the lawn with compost or soil amendment and let the St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) grow back.

In areas where the grass has become bare (7th photo) due to shade?, soil compaction?, traffic?
Consider replacing with an ornamental bed of groundcovers, low herbaceous perennials and/or shrubs.
 
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Greetings welcome to the Forums.

Lightly mulch the lawn with compost or soil amendment and let the St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) grow back.

In areas where the grass has become bare (7th photo) due to shade?, soil compaction?, traffic?
Consider replacing with an ornamental bed of groundcovers, low herbaceous perennials and/or shrubs.


Thank you! When you say soil amendment, you mean something like EZ Patch?
I got a bag of weed and feed, and the EZ Patch already. Compost I do not have.
 
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EZ patch is grass seed. You don't need to reseed, except maybe in larger bare areas. St. Augustine Grass will quickly grow and fill-in.
By compost, I mean either homemade compost or bagged soil amendment, which is often called 'Planting Mix', or something similar.
You don't need a lot , perhaps even none, but it is good to use some to help give a moist, fertilized environment for the new grass to grow well.
 
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I do not think most of the grass is St Augustine. In the pictures I see a little St Augustine but mostly I see Bermuda. Bermuda will overtake St Augustine if the St Augustine is not maintained properly and even then it is tough to keep out the Bermuda. Take a close look. The Bermuda has a much thinner leaf than the St Augustine. You can easily reseed Bermuda and if Bermuda is given a chance it will be the dominant grass.
 
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There may be both grasses presnt, but the majority doesn't look like Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon). The leaves appear rather coarse like St. Augustine Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum). Of course both species are variable, with different strains and cultivars.
The two grasses can co-exist together, so I don't think it would be an issue in any case.
st-augustine-vs-bermuda.jpg
 
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I assume that the product you purchased is the Scott's product EZ Seed Patch and Repair. If so this product is a waste of your money as it has neither of the grasses you require. It contains Fescue, Kentucky Blue Grass and Rye Grass seed. You can repair the bald spots in your grass without buying a lot of turf. Just cut small plugs from your existing grass and plant them in the bald areas. Or, you can reseed with Bermuda grass. The best place in the world to get Bermuda seed is from a place in San Antonio called Douglas King Seed (www.dkseeds.com). They have many types of Bermuda and will help you with any questions. Personally, I would not even try to re-do your lawn with new Saint Augustine Turf as you will never get rid of the Bermuda and it is much easier to reseed than to re-turf. Both Bermuda and St Augustine are great lawn grasses. I suppose the main difference between the two is that if you don't water Bermuda it browns out and if you don't water St Augustine it dies and does not come back, which might be what has happened to your lawn. They both require the same amount of water. But no matter what you choose it is very important to apply about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of good compost, either over the entire lawn or just on the bald spots. One severe drawback about Bermuda. It doesn't like shade and only certain varieties of St Augustine will grow in partial shade. With full shade neither will do well.

If you reseed you must keep the seeds damp by watering multiple times per day until germination. Just a light spray is all that is required.
 
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Before replanting lawn in a an area where it died out, be sure that the problem that caused the initial die-off has been corrected.
Some situations such as shade or constant traffic make maintaining lawn an uphill battle, at best.

Lakeland gets a fair amount of precipitation year-round so additional irrigation may not be needed often.
How often does this lawn given supplemental irrigation?
 
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St Aug is reasonable for semi shaded areas. Bermuda is not as it is a full sun lover. The easiest plugging tool I have used to move St Aug around is this pro plugger. I fill the holes with compost and lawn remnants
Screenshot_20220323-191242.png
 
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I assume that the product you purchased is the Scott's product EZ Seed Patch and Repair. If so this product is a waste of your money as it has neither of the grasses you require. It contains Fescue, Kentucky Blue Grass and Rye Grass seed. You can repair the bald spots in your grass without buying a lot of turf. Just cut small plugs from your existing grass and plant them in the bald areas. Or, you can reseed with Bermuda grass. The best place in the world to get Bermuda seed is from a place in San Antonio called Douglas King Seed (www.dkseeds.com). They have many types of Bermuda and will help you with any questions. Personally, I would not even try to re-do your lawn with new Saint Augustine Turf as you will never get rid of the Bermuda and it is much easier to reseed than to re-turf. Both Bermuda and St Augustine are great lawn grasses. I suppose the main difference between the two is that if you don't water Bermuda it browns out and if you don't water St Augustine it dies and does not come back, which might be what has happened to your lawn. They both require the same amount of water. But no matter what you choose it is very important to apply about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of good compost, either over the entire lawn or just on the bald spots. One severe drawback about Bermuda. It doesn't like shade and only certain varieties of St Augustine will grow in partial shade. With full shade neither will do well.

If you reseed you must keep the seeds damp by watering multiple times per day until germination. Just a light spray is all that is required.

Thanks for the recommendation. I think the cause was the two hundred pounds of debris built of of leaves and thatch. It was covering the lawn pretty completely, and when I removed it all, I was left with the bare spots. Probably a lack of water too. I do have a big tree in the area of lawn I showed, with about half the front yard in semi shade much of the day. I guess this means bermuda is out?
 

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Before replanting lawn in a an area where it died out, be sure that the problem that caused the initial die-off has been corrected.
Some situations such as shade or constant traffic make maintaining lawn an uphill battle, at best.

Lakeland gets a fair amount of precipitation year-round so additional irrigation may not be needed often.
How often does this lawn given supplemental irrigation?
Hard to tell, I just moved in recently and am attempting to solve all of the problems.
I plan on keeping an eye on the weather and irrigating as needed.
 
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I assume that the product you purchased is the Scott's product EZ Seed Patch and Repair. If so this product is a waste of your money as it has neither of the grasses you require. It contains Fescue, Kentucky Blue Grass and Rye Grass seed. You can repair the bald spots in your grass without buying a lot of turf. Just cut small plugs from your existing grass and plant them in the bald areas. Or, you can reseed with Bermuda grass. The best place in the world to get Bermuda seed is from a place in San Antonio called Douglas King Seed (www.dkseeds.com). They have many types of Bermuda and will help you with any questions. Personally, I would not even try to re-do your lawn with new Saint Augustine Turf as you will never get rid of the Bermuda and it is much easier to reseed than to re-turf. Both Bermuda and St Augustine are great lawn grasses. I suppose the main difference between the two is that if you don't water Bermuda it browns out and if you don't water St Augustine it dies and does not come back, which might be what has happened to your lawn. They both require the same amount of water. But no matter what you choose it is very important to apply about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of good compost, either over the entire lawn or just on the bald spots. One severe drawback about Bermuda. It doesn't like shade and only certain varieties of St Augustine will grow in partial shade. With full shade neither will do well.

If you reseed you must keep the seeds damp by watering multiple times per day until germination. Just a light spray is all that is required.
Oh, and this link is the exact product I purchased. It says it's mulch and fert to repair St. Augustine.

I guess I would probably be better off returning this and buying some big bags of both separately.
This is what I've come up with so far for a list.

Lamotte Model El - Turf and Garden Soil Test Kit - 5679-01
The Andersons Humic DG Organic Soil Amendment
Sunniland 20-lb 5000-sq ft 20-0-6 Weed Feed Weed Control Fertilizer
Plugs from Local Nursery

I'm going to manually aerate the soil, prep the plug areas, fertilize and water one day, install plugs \ soil amendment \ water another day. Is this a good plan?
 
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Haha yes. Anything that gets you nearer a plant, or touching a plant, or bending over sharing energy with a plant will absolutely have you appreciating more time saving procedures with the wisdom of experience!

For one I can use the exercise, and I have the tool to do it on hand. But what you would recommend instead?
 
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Oh, and this link is the exact product I purchased. It says it's mulch and fert to repair St. Augustine.

I guess I would probably be better off returning this and buying some big bags of both separately.
This is what I've come up with so far for a list.

Lamotte Model El - Turf and Garden Soil Test Kit - 5679-01
The Andersons Humic DG Organic Soil Amendment
Sunniland 20-lb 5000-sq ft 20-0-6 Weed Feed Weed Control Fertilizer
Plugs from Local Nursery

I'm going to manually aerate the soil, prep the plug areas, fertilize and water one day, install plugs \ soil amendment \ water another day. Is this a good plan?
I have never seen any soil test kit worth the money. If you want a comprehensive soil test go to a soil test lab. Basically all you will get with a store bought kit is whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. It will also tell you what is in the soil but it will not tell you if it is available for plant uptake. The DG product is an excellent product. The Sunniland is counterproductive to the DG product and possibly be a detriment to your tree and any possible plants you may plant. It will be much cheaper, efficient and safer to just but large bags of compost, a hard garden rake and a big bag of OMRI rated fertilizer and a grass plug tool. You can probably rent the plug tool. All I ever did regarding plugs is to just use a shovel. Most nurserys will sell St Augustine by the square. You won't need many if you just cut the square into small pieces. St Augustine comes in numerous varieties but most of them require full sun. Here in Texas the best shade tolerant St Augustine variety is Palmetto. Do NOT get Floratam.
 
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I have never seen any soil test kit worth the money. If you want a comprehensive soil test go to a soil test lab. Basically all you will get with a store bought kit is whether your soil is acidic or alkaline. It will also tell you what is in the soil but it will not tell you if it is available for plant uptake. The DG product is an excellent product. The Sunniland is counterproductive to the DG product and possibly be a detriment to your tree and any possible plants you may plant. It will be much cheaper, efficient and safer to just but large bags of compost, a hard garden rake and a big bag of OMRI rated fertilizer and a grass plug tool. You can probably rent the plug tool. All I ever did regarding plugs is to just use a shovel. Most nurserys will sell St Augustine by the square. You won't need many if you just cut the square into small pieces. St Augustine comes in numerous varieties but most of them require full sun. Here in Texas the best shade tolerant St Augustine variety is Palmetto. Do NOT get Floratam.

Got it, alright, now I just need to figure out where to get a small quantity of compost. There are some locals on Craigslist but they only sell in bulk, like by the truckload. And this isn't a large area of lawn so i'm going to have to do some searching.
 
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Got it, alright, now I just need to figure out where to get a small quantity of compost. There are some locals on Craigslist but they only sell in bulk, like by the truckload. And this isn't a large area of lawn so i'm going to have to do some searching.
One of the bagged soil amendment products sold at the box stores will work fine for your purposes.
 
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Hello all, I just finished dethatching and removing all the accumulated leaves from the lawn in the home I just bought.
Lots of debris! 14 big contractor bags full of it! Got some weeds and a lot of bare spots. I know this is St. Augustine so I can't reseed,
and I have to make a decision to either try and regrow it (if that's possible), or tear up the ground and reseed with something else.
I can't afford to resod unfortunately, and I need it to look passable for the HOA. What do you guys think would be a good next move here?

Thanks!
I added a little triple 15 to my St. Augustine and it is doing amazing. It will grow back in the dead areas, faster if you plug it in several places
 
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I added a little triple 15 to my St. Augustine and it is doing amazing. It will grow back in the dead areas, faster if you plug it in several places
Nice, did you fertilize before or after using the plugs? I have to lay some basic topsoil to fill in a bunch of holes and level some areas, then I have the fert and soil amendment and plugs. Does it matter what order you use the Fertilizer?
 

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