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St. Augustine grass

St. Augustine grass

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Encyclopedia
St. Augustine Grass or Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) (also known as Charleston Grass in South Carolina) is a warm season lawn
Lawn
A lawn is an area of aesthetic and recreational land planted with grasses or other durable plants, which usually are maintained at a low and consistent height. Low ornamental meadows in natural landscaping styles are a contemporary option of a lawn...

 grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

 that is popular for use in tropical and subtropical regions. It is a medium to high maintenance grass that forms a thick, carpetlike lawn, crowding out most weed
Weed
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings, especially farm fields and gardens, but also lawns, parks, woods, and other areas. More specifically, the term is often used to...

s and other grasses.

Characteristics



St. Augustine is a dark green grass with broad, flat blades. It spreads by above ground stolon
Stolon
In biology, stolons are horizontal connections between organisms. They may be part of the organism, or of its skeleton; typically, animal stolons are external skeletons.-In botany:...

s, commonly known as "runners" and forms a dense layer of grass.

The grass originated in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, and it occurs on both sides of the Atlantic ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, including much of the southeastern United States, including Texas, Mexico, and Central and South America. It has escaped cultivation in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, many Pacific islands, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

.

St. Augustine grass is one type of grass that commonly exists in most Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and Mediterranean
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 areas. It breeds best in tropical climates. It is often seen in lagoons, marshes, shorelines and wherever there is a good amount of moisture.

Planting and propagation


Only recently has commercially valuable viable seed for St. Augustine become available, so it has typically been propagated by plug
Plug (horticulture)
Plugs in horticulture are small-sized seedlings grown in trays from expanded polystyrene or polythene filled usually with a peat substrate. This kind of plug is used for commercially raising vegetables and bedding plants. Similarly plugs may also refer to small sections of lawn grass sod...

s, sprig
Sprigging
Sprigging is a method of plant propagation whereby cuttings of stolons or rhizomes are planted instead of seed onto the soil surface or into furrows or small holes. This method is common for establishing Cynodon and Zoysia . The stolons/rhizomes can also be broadcast in a slurry as in hydroseeding....

s, or sod
Sod
Sod or turf is grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots, or a piece of thin material.The term sod may be used to mean turf grown and cut specifically for the establishment of lawns...

. Once the grasses are cultivated, then they can propagate on their own.

St. Augustine can grow in a wide range of soil types with 5.0 to 8.5 pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

. St. Augustine grasses will be in full bloom between springtime and summer.
St Augustine grass produces runners that allow it to grow and spread.

Uses


St. Augustine grasses are popularly used in pastures and ranches. They are also a popular grass covers for home lawns. It rivals the reputation of Bermuda grass, although St. Augustine grasses are somewhat less drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 tolerant.

Varieties


St. Augustine comes in several varieties:
  • Captiva(R). Released in 2008. Developed by the University of Florida for its Chinch bug
    Chinch Bug
    The term chinch bug can refer to a few different North American insects:*Blissus insularis – the southern chinch bug*Blissus leucopterus – the true chinch bug*Nysius raphanus – the false chinch bug...

     resistance and dwarf profile which requires less mowing.
  • Floratine. Released 1959. Darker color, finer texture, tolerated lower temperatures and lower mow
    Mow
    Mow may refer to:* Mow, Gaya, Bihar, India* William Mow , founder of Bugle Boy* Men of War, a WWII RTS videogame* A mow is another name for a hayloft-See also:* MOW * Mowing* Mo * Meaux * mho...

    ing.
  • Floratam. Released 1972. Resists SAD and chinch bug
    Chinch Bug
    The term chinch bug can refer to a few different North American insects:*Blissus insularis – the southern chinch bug*Blissus leucopterus – the true chinch bug*Nysius raphanus – the false chinch bug...

    s. Not as cold- or shade-tolerant.
  • Palmetto. Released in 1989. Selected for its shade tolerance and cold tolerance.
  • Raleigh. Released 1980. SAD resistant and shade tolerant, but susceptible to chinch bugs.
  • Sapphire. Released 2004. Selected from Australia for its dark blue green color and rapid lateral growth.
  • Seville. Released 1980. Finer texture than Floratam, but shared Floratam's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Texas Common. May be the original St. Augustine. It has fallen out of favor due to its susceptibility to the incurable St. Augustine Decline (SAD) virus.

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