Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Floratam grass commonly called St. Augustine grass is coarse-textured, dark green grass that does not like the cold. Floratam goes dormant in winter and then turns green quickly in spring. It grows horizontally along large, purplish-red above-ground stems known as stolons. It is not suitable for play areas or playgrounds due to its softness, density, and texture. However, it recovers quickly and proliferates. You can mow the grass with a reel or rotary mower. The best height is between 3 and 4 inches.
Growing Conditions for Floratam Grass: Sun, Soil, and Salt
Floratam can become thin if it doesn’t get six to eight hours of sunshine per day. Winter temperatures below 20 °F will cause it to die. The grass prefers soil with pH levels between 6.0 and 7.5. Floratam can tolerate salty marine air, so that you will see St. Augustine cultivars along urban coastlines.
Planting Floratam Grass
Floratam cannot produce viable seeds. That’s why you will need to purchase blocks of sod or plugs. Floratam blocks are usually 1 foot by 2 feet wide and 2 feet long. A yard of sod is approximately 60 pounds.
You can plant the blocks from end to end, which is way more expensive. Or, you can cut them into plugs measuring 3 to 4 inches in width and plant those. The spreading stolons will fill the space between the plugs. Depending on how large the plugs are and where you place them, it will take approximately four to nine months to cover 1,000 feet of lawn.
- It will help if you water it constantly during a drought, or it will die. Its dark green foliage will fade.
- Growing in fertile soils may be more challenging because it will produce excessive thatch. You will need to remove it regularly as it can be a problem.
- Resistant to the southern chinch bug (Blissus Insularis), which suckers the sap from the leaves and causes brown spots at the lawn edges where it gets less water. However, the chinch bugs have evolved and can attack your Floratam. Although you can release predator insects to eat the chinch bug, their effectiveness is limited.
The best way to prevent pest and stress problems is to maintain a healthy lawn. St. Augustine grass needs fertilizer to keep a healthy growth pattern and good cover. It may require supplemental irrigation at certain times. Although pesticides are sometimes necessary, try to reduce their use if other cultural practices, such as mowing, irrigation, and fertilization, are followed.