Who will win? Floratam or Raleigh?

roselee z8b S.W. TexasMarch 5, 2010

This question originated on the gallery from ba_tex, but I had considered doing the same thing.

In my case I'm wondering if Floratam would thrive if plugs were introduced to a lawn of Burmuda and Raleigh St. Augustine.

My back yard used to be all old fashioned St. Augustine, but with the last two very dry summers the St. Augustine has declined and there is mostly Burmuda grass in the sunny spots.

Would some plugs of Floratam would grow well in these conditions? We've just added some good compost to the lawn area and are in the process of reducing it's size so that we can keep it watered better this year at less expense.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Just did a good search on Floratam and now am wondering if it would survive a winter like we just had. Anybody have any experience with it?

I know it has been recommended for many reasons, especially because of it's drought tolerance, but for the occasional cold winter we have it might not be the best choice for the north side of San Antonio.

Any ideas? Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Floratam on Plant Answers ...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I have Floratam (south of Dallas). Time will tell just how much mine got damaged after several nights of low to mid teens temperature. It did survive 14* weather back in December of 2005 with winter damages but it quickly recovered when it warmed up.

Floratam is superior to Raleigh in every way except for cold tolerance. Floratam is pretty fast grower compared to Raleigh so it's kinda moot point about winter damage. May look bad at first but after a month, you wouldn't know it suffered a lot of damages.

I read somewhere that fertilizing Floratam in October with 15-5-10 is supposed to make them more winter hardy. Luckily I did that for the first time last October. Lol.

If I had money to burn, I'd try 'Palisades' zoysia. It looks like mini st augustine but with better cold tolerance. Drought tolerance is about same as Floratam.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thanks Lou. I was hoping you'd see this.

So you are thinking that Floratam may be be damaged in a cold winter making it slower to return than Raleigh, but it is not outright killed?

Please keep us informed on how your Floratam is doing this year with the increased cold weather this last winter. I'll hold off buying some plugs until I hear from you.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 1:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

What is the chances of having that kind of winter again? Pretty slim. Most years, we're fine. I even asked Dallas County extension where they grow floratam on their property as testing plant and they said they do fine most winters. I wouldn't worry too much about it. They will fill in very fast with fertilizer and hopefully a lot of spring rainfall into June. Floratam does significantly better than Raleigh in very hot weather. Raleigh is way prone to fungal disease. I see it all the time and mine is untouched. I also have Sapphire which apparently has same cold tolerance as Floratam but they are very fast grower so it doesn't take long to fill in even with some winter damages. I'm seeing a lot of little green blades popping up after I mowed down dead grass. All you need is green stolons (runners) to grow back.

so far March is unseasonably cool. Usually, it's 70s by now. We're about a couple weeks behind at this point of the year.

St augustine grass seems to start growing when it's at least 70*F during day and 50*F at night. Explosive growth starts around 80*F during day and 60*F at night which isn't till mid April to early May when it fills in completely for me up here.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 4:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have St Augustine for my shady areas, and floratam I plant in the sunny areas. They both look the same but the Floratam does not do well in the shade, and St Augustine, doesn't like the sun, so its a marriage made in heaven. You cannot tell them apart just looking at the lawn. The Floratam has a purple tint on its underside, that is how I can tell them apart. Floratam doesn't like standing in water, so I may have to replace some this spring. The St Augustine, loved the extra water. The best place to buy Floratam is thru the Grass Company in Blessing Texas, they make weekly deliveries to San Antonio. Its about $20 more a palet than the St Augustine Grass.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 7:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Barbra, thank you for the information on the growing habits and likes and dislikes of both kinds of St. Augustine. I'm going to check with some nurseries here in San Antonio to see who has it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Palmetto variety is best for shady area.

However, most people mow too low in shady area. 4 inches is probably best. I often mow 4 inches in full sun to cut down watering during summer. Organic program is best.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I moved into a new house (old house, new to me) in November, so I am seeing the spring growth for the first time. 1/2 of the yard gets full to partial sun (south west corner). It is currently a mix of Raleigh St. Augustine and winter weeds. As much as I would like to just start over with new sod, I want to take the path of least resistance in restoring a uniform, healthy (weed free) lawn + it would probably cost a fortune to resod. I core aerated this past weekend and am planning on spreading fertilizer and compost in a few days. The fertilizer that a local nursery recommended is a 19-5-9. I hope to just let the summer weather help promote the St. Augustine growth and that it will out compete the weeds.

My questions are -
If I spread fertilizer and compost, am I doing the right thing, or am i just fertilizing the weeds?

Is now the time to fertilize or should I wait a few more weeks (San Antonio)

Any advice on controlling the weed grass? I pulled a bunch of the weed grass Saturday , but it would take me weeks to do the entire yard. I have always been hesitant to use a St. Augustine weed and feed, but should I consider it?

Roselee recommended (thanks Roselee!) using a pre-emergent weed killer next fall and I plan on doing that to help control the weed growth next winter.

Thanks for everyone's advice.

BTW, a core aerator is one heck of a machine a gave me a workout!!!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Ba-tex, I'm not an expert on lawn grass, but those who are say 'weed and feeds' are never a good idea.

I think if you are feeding organically, like with compost or one of the seed meals, (soy bean, cotton seed, alfalfa pellets) now is the time to do it. If using chemical fertilizer you wait until the grass is actively growing.

As for 'fertilizing the weeds' I think I would go ahead and fertilize the area now with organics so the grass would have a healthy base while I was dealing with the weeds. With organics you are feeding the micro-organisms and earth worms in the soil which in turn feeds the grass.

I'll be picking up 50 lb. bags of soy bean meal and alfalfa pellets today at Lockhill Feed Store. If you go there call first to make sure they have the soy bean meal and cotton seed meal in stock. They always have alfalfa pellets. 691-2351

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


You can apply organic fertilizer now or wait a few weeks before using synthetic fertilizer.

Weed n feed type is never good to be used around trees and shrubs. Pre-em is best. You can do it now for partial control. Lesco 0-0-7 pre-em weed control is fine. Home Depot sells it now. Repeat in September. Amaze is another product you can use. You probably should have done it last week for maximum control. The weeds you're seeing is from last fall. You want to try and control spring/summer weed so do it now and just simply mow high from now on.

I've found that mowing at 3-4 inches cutting height works best to control weeds.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All I can say is stay away from weed and feed if you have any cats or dogs. I have 3 little graves, to prove it. The best way to go is living compose. Weed and feed is great stuff, but is it not worth loosing your pets. Barbra.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I came across this video from Plant Answers that says, like the posters above, that sprigs of Floratam can be plugged in on 12 to 14 inch centers into existing varieties of St. Augustine and it will take over.

Can anyone suggest a location on the NW side of San Antonio that might have it now? Lowe's will have pallets of grass in about two weeks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video about Floratam ...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Are you sure Lowe's will have Floratam? Up here, it's always Raleigh. You could try Milberger's Nursery. I've seen them advertise Floratam grass all the time. (I got Floratam by accident when I ordered Palmetto but Palmetto got SADV and slowly died off while Floratam and Sapphire filled in; Sapphire isn't sold in Texas anymore).

I've grown Floratam from sprigs and they seem very easy to establish and give them some fertilizer and they will fill in rapidly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Milberger Nursery

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 4:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Lou, you are probably right in that Lowes will not have Floratam. It has to be special ordered from Milbergers, or so I was told.

See link below to see the way they sell it.

No 'plugs' as I was hoping. Maybe I'll run across someone who has some sprigs to trade.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grasses at Milbergers ...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Milbergers do sell "pieces" of floratam. It's only $1.29 a piece that you can cut into 4-8 smaller pieces (or plugs). It's not that bad of a price. I've seen a tray of st augustine plugs for 10 bucks or more, I think. Too bad they don't sell Palisades zoysia by pieces. I sure want to give it a try!

Available by the piece every Friday. Weather permitting.
16" x24" piece
Only $1.29

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 11:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Whoo hoo! Thanks Lou.

To tell the truth the salesperson I got on the phone had such a heavy accent that I didn't ask questions as I couldn't understand half of what they were saying, but they did say I had to make a deposit to special order it by the pallet. They apparently didn't read their own advertisements. Now that I searched their site under "specials" I see the information you provided. I'll call first to double check and go tomorrow. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

To any that might be following this thread and has Floratam, does it look like it will come back after the freeze? Are the stolens still green?

As Lou says the chances are small that we will have another winter anytime soon that will be as cold as this one, plus if it does die it grows back quickly from plugs so I'll probably plant it anyway, but just curious.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We went down to the coast this week for spring break, and just got back. Our floratam, was brown from too much water, 2 weeks ago we went and put mulch on top of the brown. This weekend, it is just beautiful, green grass is coming up around the mulch. We did not lose any floratam, or raleigh grass. We had freezing temp. 26 degrees for 7 hrs, and then 31 degrees for 9 hours. I only lost plumeria, and alexander palm trees. Barbra

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roselee z8b S.W. Texas

That's good news about the Floratam anyway! Thanks Barbra, but I'm sorry to hear you lost plumerias and palms. Any chance they will come back from the roots?

Milbergers was already sold out of Floratam when I called Friday. They will be ordering plenty for next week's "Floratam Friday". I'll be there early to get some 16 by 24 inch each pieces to cut up into plugs.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Roselee, just call the toll free number for "The Grass Company", in Blessing Texas, I think I paid $.64 cents a piece for Floratam when I got it last year, when you buy a palet. This was my 4th time ordereing floratam. I think I paid $105 for it, it went up $20 more last year because of the gas prices. I had mine delivered to Rockport, they put the palet right in my yard. I was told they deliver to San Antonio, I think she said twice a week. I think its the freshest grass you can get, they dig it the day before it is delivered to you. Good Luck, Barbra

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 12:05AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
This is really different.
Please name this succulent.
Bought from Lowes sale rack and it just had a generic...
roselee z8b S.W. Texas
San Antonio Texas Garden Swap - Free
San Antonio Texas Garden Swap Join us on facebook for...
Gaia's Sacred Seeds
Would you share your exerience with Cestrums?
Although I have grown night blooming jessamine (Cestrum...
Big orange tree in fruit ...
I don't know why I've never seen it before, but there...
roselee z8b S.W. Texas
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™