November 28, 2012 // 0. If you have seen my previous blog, you will recognize this site. Dethatching Options. If the thatch is under 1/2” thick, it is actually beneficial for your lawn. However, if you look closely, you will see that the roots will not turn dark brown or black in color. It is vigorous, establishes a ground cover rapidly, and has superior color. Thatch is a layer of organic material, like stems and dead roots, that accumulates in a patch of grass. As the height of the Saint Augustine lawn thatch increases, it will continue to grow new runners and leaf on top of the old dead or still living runners, continually increasing its thatch … There are two settings for a power rake:  a wide setting for bunch grass, and a narrow setting for sod-forming grass. Making the problem worse is when much of the water which is applied to the lawn no longer reaches into the soil and instead stays trapped inside the thatch layer. One Saint Augustine can and will thatch much more than … St. Augustine does not handle power-raking, but you can use a hand rake each spring to remove an unhealthy thatch layer. St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a warm weather, subtropical grass which can be found throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, western and southern Africa, the Caribbean, the Hawaiian Islands, and Oceania. St. Augustine Grass is susceptible to a type of fungus aptly called brown patch fungus. Get your lawn off to the best start by beginning preventative maintenance and providing the nutrition your grass needs to heal. For tips on improving your soil, visit our articles on clay soil, alkaline soil, and using compost as a topdressing. There are two machines that you can rent for dethatching:  a dethatcher, and a power rake. Overgrown thatch is often characterized by large, unhealthy brown areas of the lawn. Once a Saint Augustine lawn reaches this state in its life - it must be accepted by the homeowner that some Saint Augustine lawns may have a limited lifespan, and once that lifespan has been reached, it will be time to remove the lawn completely and plant a new lawn in its place. It leads to shallow roots and winter kill. The real question is: should you? Like compost, a thatch layer will only decompose if it is moist, warm, and aerated. But, most people don’t recognize a thatch problem until it is severely restricting growth. St Augustine Lawn Lives Above Ground. When excessive, thatch causes serious problems in Florida lawns. Overgrown thatch is a common problem in St. Augustine grass lawns. Floratam is a vigorous, coarse textured St. Augustine grass … Thatch Management in St. Augustine Turf. After dethatching, put down a pre-emergent weed killer to make sure weeds seeds can’t germinate while the St. Augustine fills back in. Thatch Thatch in St. Augustine Grass. St. Augustine Thatch or What? St. Augustine grass is semi-drought tolerant, and does best when watering is done only as needed. Welcome to Saint Augustine Lawn Care. Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed plant material that builds up on the soil’s surface. A thick accumulation of thatch in St. Augustine grass can cause suffocation and the slow death of grass. Most hardware stores use “dethatcher” and “power rake” interchangeably, so make sure you don’t accidentally rent a power rake when you’re looking for a dethatcher. St Augustine grass is one of several grasses that can create thatch. It has resistance to chinch bugs. Of course, it’s possible to dethatch any lawn. Mowing encourages your lawn to keep growing. If the turf seems to be growing directly in the soil and if the thatch is less than 1/2 inch thick, don’t use a dethatcher. Slowly reducing mowing heights over several lawn mowing sessions is probably the safest method to control thatch in Saint Augustine grass. Over-fertilization is one of the biggest culprits in thatch build up. The thatch in Saint Augustine lawns has always been a concern for owners of this grass type. Be sure to read How To Clean Up After Dethatching: A Practical Guide. Various other problems can cause browning in St. Augustine grass. in Landscape Design/Organic Produce Production from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. Mar 06, 2015 • Filed Under: Lawn Care. Brown patch fungus … This will deprive the new grass of both nutrients from the soil as well as a reliable water supply. St. Augustine is a thick turf that can create thatch, a layer of dead grass and other organic matter that settles just above the surface of soil. Q: We need to buy a lawn mower soon. Usually, more than one half inch of thatch on general turf areas decreases the turf vigor … Generally the easiest method to remove a heavily thatched Saint Augustine lawn will be to bring in a small digging machine to dig the grass out and remove the lawn waste material. Dethatching: Too much thatch build-up can harm your St. Augustine grass anything over ½ inch spells trouble. If your lawn has a substantial thatch buildup (more than a few inches) it may be time to start over. You really can't kill St. Augustine grass in Florida. In the case of insects, the Southern chinch bug is the most economically important pest affecting St. … Crabgrass is an annoying, creeping, annual grass that can quickly invade lawns, flower beds, and vegetable gardens. Use the hand rake to pull the thatch layer up to the surface. Over-fertilization is one of the biggest culprits in thatch build up. The total annual rate depends upon desired quality, length of the growing season, recovery from traffic and a number of other factors. Water once per week for 45 minutes – 1.5 hours, which will saturate the soil and keep thatch moist enough to decompose. St Augustine dethatching solves will solve this issue. Next Last. Thatch is the layer of dead plant material that settles on top of the soil. Product recommendations not personally owned are based on the author’s knowledge of the company, product, reliability, and reputation. By its nature, St. Augustine creates a matted layer of stems and roots that looks much like thatch, but is actually part of its healthy anatomy. No, lowering your mower to cut thatch will not work – the St. Augustine stolons have been pushed to the surface – you will just hack off all of the growing points, leaving behind a largely dead lawn. I'm hoping you guys do or someone does that's in my area. Here are tips for helping you to keep the St. Augustine grass in good shape Regular mowing It is important to be consistent with your mowing for this St. Augustine grass type than many other species. Thatch is an almost impenetrable mat of tangled, intertwined grass and other material on the ground surface. Thatch is the decomposing layer of organic matter like grass shoots and stems that collects between the soil and your lawn’s grass blades, and it can choke your grass by limiting its access to necessary nutrients, air, and water. Over the years as this thatch layer continues to extend in thickness, we are going to begin to seek out our turf is slowly rising higher and better on top of the pathways encompassing our lawns clay soil. Use the following tips to maintain thatch layer at a manageable height which will make your St Augustine grass green and lively. A: Experts say that stray St. Augustine runners won't root in dry soil, compacted soil or too much thatch (the nondecomposed organic matter between the soil surface and the base of the blades). Thatching in Saint Augustine grass is discussed frequently on this site, and that’s mainly because it is a real trait which is prevalent in all St Augustine grasses that some people may like, while others may not prefer, this thatch is also inclusive of the new soft Saint Augustine grasses too. It has since been observed to be the most drought tolerant St. Augustine & brown patch tolerant. A thatch layer provides protection against moisture evaporating from the soil. Covering many different lawn care topics relating to most aspects of lawn care practices for St Augustine grass lawns. St Augustine – Dethatching. Implement a soil-improvement plan after dethatching. Should you power rake or de-thatch St Augustine grass? I do not own a lawn service company, and none in my area seem to know what they are doing. St Augustine lawn is made of thick above-ground stems with large open space between stems and a tall stiff canopy above the stems. Thriving Yard is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earn a commission on qualifying purchases. Thick thatch is a good habitat for insects and disease-causing agents. The key to a thriving yard is healthy soil. The thatch can restrict root development and create an attractive environment for insects and other pests. St. Augustinegrass is known to accumulate thatch, making it ideal for insect and disease problems. Thatch is an excellent habitat for insect pests and disease, makes mowing difficult, and reduces air and water flow in the lawn. St. Augustine Grass St. Augustine grass is extremely popular in this country along the Gulf Coast, as well as in Hawaii. It is superior to Texas common St. Augustine grass in its tolerance to downy mildew, gray leaf spot diseases and brown patch fungus. Begin fertilizing 3 weeks after the grass turns green and whe… Ripping out your lawn and starting over will give you the opportunity to solve underlying soil issues to create a better turf in the future. Your lawn looks pretty good, I personally wouldn't mess with it b/c of perceived thatch issues. The southern chinch bug, Blissus inslaris, is the most prevalent and damaging insect pest of St. Augustine grass. This layer of organic matter is caused by excessive mow clippings, leaves, and other debris that settle and rest on your lawn. Removing thatch … Remove some of the soil from the lawn around the thatch by using a … More About. Use compost to topdress your lawn at the beginning and end of each growing season to improve texture. Run the dethatcher across your lawn as you would a mower, and pick up the dislodged plant material. It’s not nearly as damaging to the stolons, and your lawn will recover quicker. For St. Augustinegrass, consider dethatching when the thatch layer is greater than ½ inch. As the height of the Saint Augustine lawn thatch increases, it will continue to grow new runners and leaf on top of the old dead or still living runners, continually increasing its thatch height. Although ½” of thatch is healthy in most lawns, the bottom ½” of a thick thatch layer will be compacted and too thick to break down quickly. A dethatcher is less aggressive, and is the best machine for St. Augustine. Oddly, dethatching St. Augustine grass is a hotly-debated question in the horticulture world. St. Augustine thatch. What you might not realize is that encouraging your St. Augustine grass … Nitrogen fertilizer application on St. Augustine can range from 3 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year. 1 of 3 Go to page. Soil pH problems can be another. When St. Augustine grass suffers from this type of fungus, the movement of water and nutrients is unable to get to the roots of the grass, making its leaves turn yellow and die. This leads to lack of water for the grass which still has roots inside the soil, and also causes the water to evaporate much quicker. Dethatching is generally paired with a very low mowing height, but St. Augustine struggles if it’s cut under 2.5”. It should be cut to 3 or 4 inches, cutting too much will cause it to thin, while taking off too little results in thatch. Therefore, if you use a power dethatcher, you will end up removing most of the top growth, which is how it spreads and fills in bare patches of soil. For St. Augustine, this will be in mid to late spring. Use a bag to collect the clippings and loose thatch. Continue to mow after dethatching. The lawn was very thick with dead clippings (2″)or so. Thriving Yard is a privately owned website. 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