Thatch Go. Overgrown thatch is often characterized by large, unhealthy brown areas of the lawn. Thatch is acidic, so if needed, an application of agricultural limestone will help prevent the development of thatch and reduce soil acidity. Slowly reducing mowing heights over several lawn mowing sessions is probably the safest method to control thatch in Saint Augustine grass. Dethatching St Augustine Grass Thatch is really a layer of partially decomposed plant material that builds up around the soil’s surface. Advantages & Disadvantages of St. Augustine Grass. If you have more than a half an inch of thatch, or … The southern chinch bug, Blissus inslaris, is the most prevalent and damaging insect pest of St. Augustine grass. Power raking is quite labor-intensive, and large thatch layers generally sit on top of compacted soil. Lush, colorful flower beds increase curb appeal while attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Fertilizer to help the Spread of St Augustine . Now that you have removed the thatch, the soil can absorb the nutrients that your lawn needs to grow. Examples provided of tested products are actual products owned, tested, and used regularly by the author. 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. It's very difficult to thatch rake a St. Augustine lawn because of the above grown runners, so just about every other option has temporary consequenses. Dethatching: Too much thatch build-up can harm your St. Augustine grass anything over ½ inch spells trouble. Thatch is an excellent habitat for insect pests and disease, makes mowing difficult, and reduces air and water flow in the lawn. After dethatching, your lawn will be stressed and in shock. Thatch is accumulated organic matter that is persistent, meaning it doesn’t decompose as fast as it builds. However, what they’re really advising against is using a power rake, not the act of removing thatch. It’s best to remove as much as you can and let a small layer accumulate naturally. Brown patch fungus … An Augustine Lawn is Thatch Free A St Augustine lawn kept tall and wet always has moist, cool, dark and windless conditions at the soil surface. Thatch breaks down easier if the grass clippings are small, so use a mulching blade and mow twice per week, never cutting off more than 1/3rd of the growth. Speaking of thatch, St. Augustine grass is one of the species that deals with thatch buildup, which often indicates either overwatering or over-fertilization. St Augustine – Dethatching. In south Florida, the optimal time for establishment is late fall, winter, or spring. Mow every 5-14 days to maintain the proper height. Most sod-forming grasses spread through above-ground stolons and below-ground rhizomes. After dethatching, put down a pre-emergent weed killer to make sure weeds seeds can’t germinate while the St. Augustine fills back in. The recommended depth to water St. Augustine grass is 4- 6 inches. Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed plant material that builds up on the soil’s surface. P. phdibart LawnSite Member. The lawn was very thick with dead clippings (2″)or so. Thatch. This layer of organic matter is caused by … St. Augustinegrass. 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. 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. Use the hand rake to pull the thatch layer up to the surface. 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. Field Thatch Layer. Mar 06, 2015 • Filed Under: Lawn Care. Dethatching works best when the clippings are moist. Whatever you say. Thatch buildup can either cause or was caused by, poor soil. … Usually, more than one half inch of thatch on general turf areas decreases the turf vigor … Thatch in St. Augustine Grass. Be sure to read How To Clean Up After Dethatching: A Practical Guide. A thin layer of dead plant material will help retain moisture, and as the leaves decompose, they return nutrients to the soil. Welcome to Saint Augustine Lawn Care. Delmar: A dwarf St. Augustine grass that has good shade tolerance, but does well in full sun too. Floralawn: Has poor shade and cold tolerance; performs best in mild environments; Common Issues in St. Augustine Grass. If you already have a few inches of thatch buildup, you can encourage decomposition by changing your maintenance practices. Breeding for cold tolerance. When treating your lawn for fungus, avoid using nitrogen fertilizer, as it encourages fast growth. The main cause of thatch is dead grass but other plant materials, pine needles, and so on contribute to making the layer of thatch… 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. For best results, use a dethatcher with a 2- or 3-inch blade spacing set at a ¼-inch depth after the turf has fully greened-up. Covering many different lawn care topics relating to most aspects of lawn care practices for St Augustine grass lawns. See Can You Dethatch St. Augustine Grass… 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. Over-fertilization is one of the biggest culprits in thatch build up. in Landscape Design/Organic Produce Production from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. It will be a machine or attachment that uses tines to pull thatch up from the surface. It has resistance to chinch bugs. And on top of all of this, the water trapped inside the thatch will dramatically increase the risk of lawn diseases. St Augustine lawn is made of thick above-ground stems with large open space between stems and a tall stiff canopy above the stems. In the case of insects, the Southern chinch bug is the most economically important pest affecting St. … St. Augustine Grass St. Augustine grass is extremely popular in this country along the Gulf Coast, as well as in Hawaii. A power rake will cut into the grass and down into the soil to break up thick layers of thatch. There are two machines that you can rent for dethatching:  a dethatcher, and a power rake. St Augustine grass is one of several grasses that can create thatch. Apr 19, 2017 #1 I'm at a loss with my lawn, so please bare with me. Q: We need to buy a lawn mower soon. St. Augustine Grass is susceptible to a type of fungus aptly called brown patch fungus. Thatch Removal: If a thatch layer becomes a problem, use a dethatcher or vertical mower to remove it. Floratam St. Augustine grass was found to be better than Common for the following reasons: It has resistance to SAD virus. It is superior to Texas common St. Augustine grass in its tolerance to downy mildew, gray leaf spot diseases and brown patch fungus. You really can't kill St. Augustine grass in Florida. You may even be able to avoid renting a power dethatcher after a growing season of healthy upkeep. However, if not properly managed and controled, their thatch will also continue to thicken and increase its depth to unmanageable levels. This site is planted with the warm season grass Stenotaphrum secundatum, or St. Augustinegrass. Good morning,I have a customer who has st. Augustine grass. Begin fertilizing 3 weeks after the grass turns green and whe… Treating St. Augustine Grass Fungus. 4. The thatch layer in St Augustine grass is one in every of its greatest drawbacks. 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. It is this mat of stems and stiff canopy that is often – and wrongly – called thatch. It’s loved for its coarse blades and fast growth rate which helps prevent weeds from taking over. In fact, Saint Augustine thatch can easily reach heights of up to 10 or 15 inches after many years. Thatch is a layer of organic material, like stems and dead roots, that accumulates in a patch of grass. Annual aeration can help manage thatch, but because St. Augustine does not have rhizomes, the aerator must be set to remove fewer cores so that it can fill in before summer. Run the dethatcher across your lawn as you would a mower, and pick up the dislodged plant material. Note: this is not the same as a leaf rake: See Can You Dethatch A Lawn With A Leaf Rake? 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. St. Augustine is a sod-forming grass, but it doesn’t have rhizomes. Thatch is not an on-going enemy like we’ve all heard. It leads to shallow roots and winter kill. Use compost to topdress your lawn at the beginning and end of each growing season to improve texture. Mow St. Augustine to 2” so the thatch is easier to access. However, thatch will only break down in a healthy, properly-maintained lawn. 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. Of course, it’s possible to dethatch any lawn. To control thatch, follow these recommendations: Mow at recommended height and frequency. Eventually, in some lawns, the Saint Augustine thatch can become so thick that the roots of the new runners will no longer reach the soil, and will grow inside the old thatch instead. Delta Shade: As the name states, this grass has a good shade tolerance. If the thatch is under 1/2” thick, it is actually beneficial for your lawn. Remove some of the soil from the lawn around the thatch by using a … So, most professionals advise against dethatching to prevent needing to completely replace your lawn. Mow your lawn short (some dethatchers come as attachments to your mower, so you can do it in one step). It looks like a light brown layer. The reason this is such a touchy subject is that you should dethatch St. Augustine before you need to use a machine, which can destroy the grass. Irrigate your lawn deeply the day before dethatching to help break up tough layers. St. Augustine grass should only be watered once it is dry and showing signs of drought, typically every 5- 10 days. However, you should be prepared to do some damage control. She has an A.A.S. For St. Augustinegrass, consider dethatching when the thatch layer is greater than ½ inch. St. Augustine grass will go dormant during winter if soil temperatures go down to 55℉ (12℃) and lower. St. Augustine grass is a popular warm-season grass in the south that makes a great turf grass for your lawns. Like compost, a thatch layer will only decompose if it is moist, warm, and aerated. Some fast-growing grasses like St. Augustine grass and Kentucky bluegrass are more prone to thatch than other varieties, especially when grown in compacted or heavy clay soil. De-thatching Can Harm Creeping Grasses Left to its own devices, St. Augustine grass … Mar 06, 2015 Lawn Care. It has since been observed to be the most drought tolerant St. Augustine & brown patch tolerant. Dethatching Options. Mowing encourages your lawn to keep growing. A dethatcher is less aggressive, and is the best machine for St. Augustine. If thatch is a consistent problem, try bagging your lawn clippings every other time you mow, which will help keep thatch at a manageable thickness. Unlike corporate website companies, the authors on this website regularly use many of the tips and recommendations provided in their own garden and lawncare. Saint Augustine does not have underground runners, and if the top layer of living grass were to be removed, only the old dead thatch would be left in its place, and the lawn would be finished. We verti-cut as the first step, then removed all build-up with a blowe and Vacuum. 2016-05-11 . 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. The layer of dead plants that stay on top of the soil is called thatch. St. Augustinegrass is a desirable turfgrass because of its shade tolerance and relatively low input requirements, but it has poor cold tolerance. This is too low for regular mowing, but not so low that it can’t recover. So Let’s know all of the tips for getting rid of thatch in St Augustine grass. A slightly acidic pH will still be great for faster growth and spreading. If you must bag the clippings, consider composting them for use in the landscape. Soil pH problems can be another. 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. St. Augustine does not handle power-raking, but you can use a hand rake each spring to remove an unhealthy thatch layer. Thatch is a layer of dead and living turfgrass that develops between your lawn and the actual soil. St. Augustine grass is semi-drought tolerant, and does best when watering is done only as needed. usmc – posted 29 April 2009 05:19. A 1-inch layer of thatch can restrict the movement of air, fertilizer and water that is in the soil. Use a slow-release fertilizer that is equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium so your lawn can begin recovering. Zoysia grass was mowed at 2.25 inches. Using a de-thatcher when it is not needed can hurt the grass more than it helps. We removed it, leaving the vine-like roots exposed, all over the lawn. Thatch, a thick growth of decaying grass blades, needs removal if it has caused brown patches and is over 1/2-inch thick. If it comes up easily, you can rake it into piles and remove it. A soil test will tell you what your soil pH is. Dethatching Options, How To Clean Up After Dethatching: A Practical Guide. How do I know its time to dethach my St. Augustine grass? When excessive, thatch causes serious problems in Florida lawns. Legacy post . During dormancy, St. Augustine grass will cease growing almost completely and aboveground growth … The thatch in Saint Augustine lawns has always been a concern for owners of this grass type. 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. Irrigate after dethatching. Our goal is to increase this grass’ adaptability area by improving its cold tolerance. St Augustine dethatching solves will solve this issue. A little amount of thatch is okay but a lot of thatch is not good for St Augustine grass. If not properly controlled and managed throughout the life of the Saint Augustine lawn, it will continue to raise and grow higher as the years progress. Use dethatching rakes, core aeration, and healthy maintenance practices to keep thatch at a manageable height. Nutrient Management . Saint Augustine Grass. St. Augustine Thatch or What? Skip to content. 2. To try and revive your lawn, dethatch it to allow easy nutrient supply when feeding. As long as it does not get thicker than 1/2 of an inch, thatch actually contributes to a lawn health. 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 … Thatch is a very common of layer of decomposed plant material that shows up in turf grass such as Augustine grass. June 13, 2019. A power rake is the most aggressive dethatching machine, and it will probably destroy your St. Augustine lawn. 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). Over-fertilization is one of the biggest culprits in thatch build up. Lots of people with SA grass would happily trade their issues for your thatch… Floratam St. Augustine grass was released by the Florida and Texas Agricultural Experiment Stations in 1972 as a SAD virus and chinch bug resistant selection. Floratam is a vigorous, coarse textured St. Augustine grass … Using a rotary lawn mower, lower the mowing height so that … Soil pH problems can be another. The main concern after dethatching is root growth because healthy roots create healthy lawns. There are two settings for a power rake:  a wide setting for bunch grass, and a narrow setting for sod-forming grass. RELATED: St Augustine Grass Seed Doesn't Exist | Best Alternatives. If you take off a considerable amount of top growth and cut the remaining growth to 1”, your lawn will have little chance for survival. For top-dressing a St. … If you have seen my previous blog, you will recognize this site. St. Augustine is a sod-forming grass, but it doesn’t have rhizomes. Next Last. Work your way up to a 4” mowing height gradually, but continue to mow every 4-5 days after dethatching to keep encouraging new growth. It is vigorous, establishes a ground cover rapidly, and has superior color. Improve soil quality. The total annual rate depends upon desired quality, length of the growing season, recovery from traffic and a number of other factors. Although St. Augustine grass can be planted year-round in warmer regions of Florida, the best time to plant any warm-season grass is during its time of active growth for quickest establishment. St Augustine grass is one of several grasses that can create thatch. Thatch is an excellent … St. Augustinegrass is known to accumulate thatch, making it ideal for insect and disease problems. Brown patch fungus unsurprisingly causes large brown patched in the lawn. Thread starter phdibart; Start date Apr 19, 2017; 1; 2; 3; Next. For St. Augustine, this will be in mid to late spring. Don’t let your time spent dethatching go to waste by allowing broadleaf weeds to take over. Dethatching is generally paired with a very low mowing height, but St. Augustine struggles if it’s cut under 2.5”. Thatch is an almost impenetrable mat of tangled, intertwined grass and other material on the ground surface. Thanks for visiting, I hope some of these lawn care tips may be of use on your own home lawns. 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. Once your grass has grown enough to need to be mowed, it can handle dethatching. 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