St Augustine help

HuttoautoMarch 17, 2013

Like to start off saying thanks, new to forum and a lot of great info, almost to much. Quick back story, I am first time home owner, three years ago bought a weed filled home. First year just watered and mowed my weeds. Last year got great deal on a sprinkler system and some sod, it was installed early spring over dormant grass and weeds. Looked great all year. All I did was some weed and feed and what I have learned is I was over watering, ended up with brown spot. It has been mild winter in central Texas. Now it is spring want to do it right. Any help would be great, will it recover from brown spot? Should I dethatch to get all old dead grass out? Time to aerate? DILO dirt? Thanks for any tips.

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Bryan Scott

Post your thread over in the Lawn Care or Organic Lawn Care forum. There are plenty of grass "experts" in those two that can help. Knowing ahead of time if you want to go organic or not, and posting to the appropriate forum will help too, not to mention what type of grass you have. St. Augustine and Bermuda have very different standard lawn care practices, so post what type you have, and a picture or two if possible.

First thing I recommend is to read up on the Organic Lawn Care forum's FAQ article. Even if you don't go organic, the lawn care basics are in there and will tell you exactly how to water, mow, and fertilize. On that note, those guidelines are also in step with what the City of Austin recommends for lawn care based on their Grow Green Initiative. That's another Google search you can do for a ton of info.

P.S.- google Dillodirt and make an informative decision to use it or not based on what you find on how Dillo dirt is made. Based on how I care for my lawn, trees, sf vegetable gardens, pets, and my kids, you will not find it anywhere near my yard.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:37AM
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Bryan Scott

Sorry, missed your grass type in your thread title. The FAQ I mentioned above will definitely benefit you! Still, please post over in the appropriate lawn forum.

See you "over there".

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:41AM
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brown spot is very common in Texas in this grass.
Go to this link for John Ferguesons website, buy his book, it is called Organic Management for the Professional but will address every question you could ever have about turf grasses. His website has a lot of information also. I don`t usually tell people to buy books lol! but I don`t even have grass and his book is great. If you get a chance to go see him talk then go! I only do organic because of our chickens, butterflies, bees, the dogs, and have found him to be my best resource.
Tally HO!

Here is a link that might be useful: Natures way Resources

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:30PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

All I did was some weed and feed and what I have learned is I was over watering, ended up with brown spot..... will it recover from brown spot?

Depends on what's causing the brown spots. Take-All Patch favors alkaline conditions, Brown Patch favors acidic, and chinch bugs love any weakened/unhealthy St Augustine. The lawn will recover from chinch bug damage, but the "patch" fungi can kill down to the roots.

Take-All Patch has been especially bad the past couple years due to much irrigation (alkaline) and little rain (acidic) shifting ph in the direction it favors. A lot of info is available about these problems in the forums and elsewhere on the Web that can help you try to sort out what you are dealing with - though it may be harder this time of year without active symptoms.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 2:06AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Plug in 'Floratam' st augustine variety if you can find them.

They seem to do just fine in the limestone rubble soil at my old house. Use cheap animal feed like alfalfa pellets or soybean meal 2 or 3 times a year and that's it. I never use weed and feed. There is no need for it as long as you water them deeply and infrequently and mow at 3 inches.

If you can't find Floratam, there's always Lawn Plugs website that you can order from. Floratam is very aggressive spreader so you don't need much to begin with.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 3:04PM
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A lot of times, especially with new sod, you over water, and its hot out, thus causing brown spot the first year. At least it should grow back into the areas.

I would aerate late spring this year, and put a little fertilizer out, but not too much and you should be good.

Here is a link that might be useful: sod help in houston

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 12:29PM
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When we have brown spot in our Flo Tam St Augustine grass, we put a thin layer of either turkey compose or spagnum moss over the brown spot, extending it to just outside the green grass.. We also cut down on our watering.. Brown spot is a fungus and will spread easily, so do not walk or mow over it, or it will spread to other areas of your lawn. Information I received from our county extension service. Barbra

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 5:48PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

... what I have learned is I was over watering, ended up with brown spot.

A word of caution: BROWN SPOT BROWN PATCH

"Brown spot" is a SYMPTOM not a cause. Unless you are fairly certain your brown spot is caused by Brown Patch, I'd spend some effort making sure it is not due to Take-All. There's a lot of info in these forums and elsewhere going back several years on this.

When Take-All bloomed in our part of north Texas a couple years ago, a lot of additional lawn damage occurred during the time traditional brown patch treatments were initially applied. Both homeowners and professionals fell into that trap and the sod farms benefited. There is some similarity in treatments, but the differences are crucial and take-all is fast and unforgiving if you or the lawn service gets it wrong for a disappointingly short period of time.

This post was edited by bostedo on Wed, Apr 3, 13 at 19:38

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:11PM
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