Palmetto St. Augustine Maintenance

Click Here to Download the Palmetto Homeowner's Guide


Palmetto St. Augustine LogoPalmetto St. Augustine, a grass discovered and developed on a sod farm in central Florida, thrives across the southern United States, from Florida northward to coastal Virginia and westward to California, under a wide range of climatic and soil conditions, making it an ideal choice for residential and commercial use. Palmetto has an outstanding emerald green color that is truly eye catching. It performs well in full sun yet thrives in shaded areas where other grasses fail. Palmetto St. Augustine requires 3-4 hours of direct sunlight per day. It is cold hardy to near 0° F, classifying it as one of the most cold-hardy St. Augustine varieties available. It is also frost tolerant and holds fall and winter color longer than Bermuda, Centipede, or other St. Augustine cultivars. It will remain evergreen in some areas of the Deep South. Palmetto St. Augustine also has a massive root system, making it drought tolerant once established. Palmetto St. Augustine recovers quickly from damage by wear or minor scalping as it sends out runners to repair open areas.

Palmetto has proven itself a superior St. Augustine for over ten years, and is now the largest volume warm season proprietary grass sold in the United States. Palmetto has become the St. Augustine of preference in many areas of the country, described by many landscapers as the best overall St. Augustine. Palmetto, like all other St. Augustine’s, has routine installation and maintenance needs that must be properly addressed. The following information is not limited to Palmetto, but is applicable to most grasses in the St. Augustine family.

Production and Quality Control

Genetic purity and preservation of the Palmetto St. Augustine variety is of primary importance. Only licensed turfgrass producers are authorized to grow Palmetto for sale. All licensed Palmetto production is monitored through ongoing quality control and quality assurance programs.

Installation and Establishment

Installation and the care taken during the initial days that follow are the most critical factors in determining the long-term quality and performance of any turfgrass, including Palmetto St. Augustine (see Installation). Harvesting and transplantation are extremely stressful to turfgrass and precautionary measures should be taken to help reduce further cultural and environmental stresses. Palmetto is a tough, hardy turfgrass that, once established, produces a beautiful lifetime lawn and landscape.

Proper care, including pre-installation soil preparation and limiting time on the pallet to less than 24 hours, yields positive results. Improper care, especially during the initial 24-hour period after harvest, can cause death of the turfgrass or damage that results in lengthy recovery and additional expense. This potential damage is magnified during hot, humid months. An installation procedure that is acceptable during cool weather may cause extensive damage during hot weather for any St. Augustine grass.

Irrigating Newly Installed Palmetto: Proper watering upon installation is essential to successful establishment:

Mowing: New installations are often uneven, and care should be taken not to scalp high areas. A common mistake is not to mow a newly installed lawn, which slows establishment and encourages the turf to become “leggy.”

Insecticides: Newly installed turfgrass can be susceptible to insect damage, especially armyworms and webworms. New grass is more vulnerable than established turf due to the temporary loss of a deep root structure. Armyworms and webworms prefer new grass compared to established turf due to the “tenderness” of new growth.

Fungicides: During stressful times of the year, i.e. extremely wet and/or hot periods, a preventative fungicide should be applied at the time of installation.

Fertility: Use a transplant-friendly regimen that will help reduce shock and minimize disease:

Post Establishment

Mowing: Mowing is a critical and often underappreciated cultural practice:

Insecticides: Avoid stress from insects by performing insecticidal applications as needed:

Herbicides: Proper mowing, irrigation and fertilization of Palmetto will reduce weed problems. If a weed problem persists:

Fungicides: Although Palmetto exhibits good disease resistance, fungal problems can occur during prolonged periods of adverse environmental conditions.

Irrigation: Once established, Palmetto requires water on an as-needed basis. Overwatering encourages excessive growth, disease, root rot, and poor aeration of soils. Most lawns are overwatered, not underwatered, which wastes resources, creates a shallow rooted “water dependent lawn,” and potentially damages the turf.

Fertility: Proper fertility practices will encourage healthy, disease and insect free Palmetto:

Palmetto BMP PDF Download

Read detailed description of BMPs

 To ensure optimum quality and performance of Palmetto, users must implement proper care and maintenance. This care and maintenance has been formalized above in the Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Palmetto St. Augustine. These BMPs are written as a guide and should be modified as local climate, soil and environmental conditions dictate. It is important to note that no “magic fertilizer” or “super chemical” will solve all problems or make any turfgrass perfect. 

Through consistent application of the BMPs and on-going evaluation, education and modification of these practices, however, users will greatly enhance the quality and performance of Palmetto St. Augustine. The described maintenance information also applies to many semi-dwarf St. Augustine grasses. It is recommended that users identify the specific variety of St. Augustine being utilized, and that information be gathered pertaining to BMPs for that cultivar.