St. Augustine grass does well with salty soils and does best in tropical and subtropical climates. St. Augustine is grown in Hawaii, Mexico, Southern California and the southern United States, as well as Australia and parts of Africa. It does not survive in cold weather.

St. Augustine as a Lawn

For anyone who grew up with St. Augustine as a lawn, the mention of it conjures up memories of really nasty grass cuts and grass stains. It’s a grass that is thick and turfy supplying some extra cushion for a rough game of tag or flag football in the front yard.

Thatching Turfgrass

St. Augustine has a broad leaf that sprouts from nodes on creeping tendrils. If given a lot of nitrogen-rich fertilizer or frequent watering, this turfgrass can really bulk up and require thatching to thin it out. Even when it grows to several layers of thickness, St. Augustine really does not take foot traffic well. It might not stop your kids from playing on it though. With regular traffic, it doesn’t die, but it looks a bit shabby.

Planting St. Augustine

Growers have found it very difficult to regularly cultivate seeds for planting St. Augustine. Sod and cultivars or plugs are more readily available. St. Augustine will spread quickly and wildly. If your neighbor doesn’t want it in their yard, make sure you install a barrier to control it and edge borders and beds regularly. Other than that, it is pretty low maintenance, especially after it has been established. It rarely needs re-seeding or replanting. A rotary mower works great to keep it neat and trimmed.

If you want a reliable, easy grass for a salty or alkaline soil, St. Augustine should be on your list of possibilities.