Sapphire St. Augustine Maintenance

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Sapphire St. Augustine LogoSapphire is a St. Augustine variety that thrives under a wide range of climatic and soil conditions in USDA Zones 8b to11, which stretches from Florida northward to the Coastal Carolinas and westward along the Gulf Coast Region into Central Texas and continues into southwestern Arizona and coastal and central California. Sapphire is an ideal choice for residential and commercial use. Sapphire has an outstanding blue green color. Sapphire also has a massive root system, making it drought tolerant once established. Sapphire St. Augustine recovers quickly from damage by wear or minor scalping, because it sends out runners to repair open areas more rapidly than other St. Augustine varieties. Research at 21 sites throughout the southern United States, coordinated by Dr. Han at Auburn University, has also demonstrated this variety’s disease resistance along with its high quality aesthetics.

Production and Quality Control

Genetic purity and preservation of the Sapphire St. Augustine variety is of primary importance. Only licensed turfgrass producers are authorized to grow Sapphire for sale. All licensed Sapphire 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 Sapphire St. Augustine. Harvesting and transplantation are extremely stressful to turfgrass and precautionary measures should be taken to help reduce further cultural and environmental stresses. Sapphire 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 (see Installation). 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. Augustinegrass.

Irrigating Newly Installed Sapphire: 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 Sapphire will reduce weed problems. If a weed problem persists:

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

Irrigation: Once established, Sapphire 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 Sapphire:

Sapphire BMP PDF Download

Read detailed description of BMPs

To ensure optimum quality and performance of Sapphire, users must implement proper care and maintenance. This care and maintenance has been formalized above in the Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Sapphire 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 Sapphire 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 is gathered pertaining to maintenance for that cultivar.