St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustinegrass, a.k.a. St. Augustine (or Charleston grass, if you’re in South Carolina), is widely grown in the southern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast, and is a proven performer in this region. In general, it’s one of the easiest grasses to grow, which is one reason why it’s a top choice in warmer climates. It also stays green longer into the year than most varieties, which is another top reason to pick it. In zones where there are no frosts, it is possible to keep some varieties green throughout the year. St. Augustine survives better in the shade than any other warm-season grass (depending on the cultivar, see below for details). St. Augustine’s desirable traits don’t end here. It tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and has a dense, rich turf quality that does an excellent job of choking out or hiding weeds. It’s also a handsome grass, with wide leaves ranging in color from bright to dark green.
One of St. Augustine’s drawbacks is its cold tolerance, or lack thereof. Simply put, older varieties have little to none, which made them less than ideal choices in areas where temperatures dip to below freezing. While this doesn’t significantly limit St. Augustine’s growing region, older strains typically perform best in tropical to sub-tropical areas. A good frost or two will definitely cause them to brown out. St. Augustine also is not a grass that stands up well to wear, which makes it a problematic choice for areas with high foot traffic.
Water requirements are another drawback to older St. Augustine varieties. Because St. Augustine is often grown in sandy coastal areas, older varieties need a fair amount of water to keep them green, especially in drought conditions. Its broad leaves can make older St. Augustine feel a little rough underfoot. Finally, fungal diseases can be an issue, and it’s also susceptible to a virus called St. Augustinegrass Decline, or SAD.
Palmetto St. Augustine, the most popular patented turfgrass in the world, has improved color, a finer texture, and vastly improved cold and drought tolerance.Palmetto was developed in Florida and selected for its impressive shade tolerance, finer texture, and cold tolerance. It is a great grass for both sun and shaded areas and has consistantly been one of the best St. Augustine performers in both research and real world applications in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It has survived temperatures in excess of 100F and as low as 0F. It is described by many landscapers and industry professionals as the best all around and most versitle St. Augustine variety.
Sapphire St. Augustine, our premium St. Augustine variety, sports a gorgeous blue-green color and also tolerates drought and cold extremely well. It also features extremely fast lateral growth, which helps it recover from damage faster than other St. Augustine varieties and allows it to be grown in areas with higher foot traffic than this grass can typically take. Sapphire has a beautiful blue-green color, soft texture, and lower maintenance.
Captiva St. Augustine is another newer cultivar that was developed by the University of Florida for its dwarf leaf blade and improved chinch bug resitance. It is very slow growing and requires up to 30% less mowing than other St. Augustines. Captiva has a thick turf density and dark green color that make it really stand out in a landscape. Captiva is an excellent choice for homeowners wanting a St. Augustine with a finer textured leaf blade.