How to Speed Up St. Augustine Grass Spreading: Tips and Techniques

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Making St. Augustine grass spread quickly can be challenging, but it is possible with a few simple steps. St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for lawns in warm and humid regions thanks to its lush green color and thick growth. Here are some tips to help you make your St. Augustine grass spread quickly.

Prepare the soil

To make St. Augustine grass spread quickly, it’s crucial to prepare the soil properly. Start by clearing the area of any existing vegetation, rocks, and debris. This creates a clean slate for the grass to establish itself. Conduct a soil test to determine its pH level and nutrient content. St. Augustine grass prefers a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. Adjust the pH if necessary using soil amendments like lime or sulfur. 

Next, loosen the soil using a garden tiller or a garden fork. This process helps break up compacted soil, improves drainage, and creates a favorable environment for root growth. Remove any remaining weeds or grass to prevent competition. Adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can enhance soil fertility and moisture retention. 

Finally, level the soil surface using a rake or leveling tool to ensure uniformity. By preparing the soil properly, you provide an optimal foundation for St. Augustine grass to take root, access nutrients, and spread quickly across your lawn.

Choose the right variety

Choosing a suitable variety of St. Augustine grass is essential to ensure it spreads quickly and thrives in your specific climate and growing conditions. Several varieties of St. Augustine grass are available, each with its own characteristics and adaptability. 

Research the different varieties and select one well-suited to your region’s climate, sunlight exposure, and soil type. Some varieties may be more tolerant of shade or drought, while others may have better disease resistance or cold hardiness. Consider your local climate, average temperature, rainfall patterns, and maintenance requirements. 

By choosing a variety best suited to your specific conditions, you increase the chances of rapid and successful spreading of St. Augustine grass in your lawn. Consulting with local experts or nurseries can provide valuable insights and recommendations regarding the best variety for your area.

Plant at the right time

Planting St. Augustine grass at the right time is crucial for its quick and successful spread. The optimal time for planting varies depending on your location and climate. 

Generally, it is recommended to plant St. Augustine grass during the late spring or early summer when the soil is warm, and the chances of frost have passed. This allows the grass to establish its root system and benefit from the favorable growing conditions. Before planting, ensure the soil temperature is consistently above 60°F (15°C) to promote proper germination and growth. 

Prepare the soil as mentioned earlier and evenly distribute the grass seeds or sprigs over the area. Lightly rake the soil to cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, ensuring good seed-to-soil contact. Water the area regularly to keep the soil moist, but avoid overwatering as it can lead to waterlogging and hinder the spread of the grass. Planting St. Augustine grass at the right time and providing adequate water and care during the establishment phase create favorable conditions for fast growth and spread.

Adequate Watering

Adequate watering is critical to ensuring the quick spread of St. Augustine grass. During the initial establishment period, it is crucial to provide regular and consistent watering to promote root development and encourage the grass to spread. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil. Avoid frequent shallow watering, which can result in weak, shallow roots. 

The general rule of thumb is to provide about 1 inch of water per week through rainfall or irrigation. However, adjust the frequency and amount of watering based on the specific needs of your lawn and the prevailing weather conditions. It’s essential to monitor the soil’s moisture level and adjust the watering schedule accordingly. Pay attention to signs of drought stress, such as wilting or discoloration of the grass, and increase watering if necessary. 

Additionally, ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and hinder grass spread. Providing adequate and consistent watering creates the ideal conditions for St. Augustine grass to establish a robust root system, develop healthy runners, and spread quickly across your lawn.

Regular Fertilization

Regular fertilization is essential for promoting the rapid spread of St. Augustine grass. Providing the grass with the necessary nutrients helps it develop a solid and vigorous root system, leading to healthy growth and quick spreading. Begin by conducting a soil test to determine the nutrient levels and pH of the soil. This will help you identify any deficiencies and select the appropriate fertilizer. 

St. Augustine grass generally benefits from a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically in early spring, late summer, or early fall. Ensure even fertilizer distribution and avoid applying it too close to the grass blades to prevent burning. 

Water the lawn immediately after fertilization to allow the nutrients to penetrate the soil and reach the roots effectively. Regularly fertilize your St. Augustine grass to maintain nutrient levels throughout the growing season. Additionally, consider using slow-release fertilizers that provide a steady supply of nutrients over an extended period. This helps sustain the grass’s growth and spread over time. 

Regular fertilization supplies the necessary nutrients for St. Augustine grass to thrive, promoting rapid spreading and the development of a lush, healthy lawn.

Mow regularly

Regular mowing plays a significant role in encouraging the quick spread of St. Augustine grass. Maintaining an appropriate mowing height stimulates lateral growth and encourages the grass to fill in bare areas, leading to faster spreading. 

Set your mower blades to a height of around 2.5 to 4 inches, as St. Augustine grass thrives when kept slightly taller. Avoid cutting the grass too short, as this can weaken the plants and make them more susceptible to stress and weed competition. Mow the lawn regularly, ensuring you never remove more than one-third of the grass blade length in a single mowing session. 

Regular mowing helps control weed growth, reduces thatch buildup, and promotes the development of denser turf. Additionally, consider using a mulching mower to leave clippings on the lawn. These clippings act as a natural fertilizer, returning nutrients to the soil and aiding in the growth and spread of the grass. 

Remember to keep your mower blades sharp to ensure clean cuts and prevent damage to the grass blades. Mowing regularly and at the appropriate height encourage lateral growth and help St. Augustine grass spread quickly and effectively across your lawn.

Control weeds and pests

Controlling weeds and pests is crucial for promoting the quick spread of St. Augustine grass. Weeds compete with grass for essential nutrients, water, and sunlight, hindering its growth and spread. Regularly inspect your lawn for weeds and promptly address any infestations. 

Use appropriate weed control methods such as hand-pulling, spot-treating with herbicides, or pre-emergent herbicides to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Be cautious when using herbicides, as some products can harm St. Augustine grass if not applied correctly. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with a lawn care professional if needed. In addition to weeds, pests can damage St. Augustine grass and impede its spread. Common pests include insects like chinch bugs, armyworms, and grubs. 

Monitor your lawn for signs of pest activity, such as thinning areas, discoloration, or irregular patches. If you identify a pest problem, consider using appropriate insecticides or seeking professional pest control services to eliminate the infestation. By effectively controlling weeds and pests, you create optimal conditions for St. Augustine grass to spread quickly and establish a healthy, vibrant lawn.


Following these tips can spread your St. Augustine grass quickly and thrive on your lawn. Remember to be patient, as the grass may take some time to establish itself and spread. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy a lush, green lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood.