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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

St. Augustinegrass — Stenotaphrum secundatum

Photo of St. Augustinegrass


St. Augustinegrass, along with bermudagrass and zoysiagrass, is a warm-season turfgrass. In areas where it is well adapted, it is water efficient and has few pest problems. St. Augustinegrass is used in the most moderate California climate zones, along the Southern California coast or in coastal valleys. It prefers full sun, but has a high tolerance for shade. It grows quickly during the summer months, but slows down during the spring and fall and enters a dormancy period in the late autumn and during the winter months. Because St. Augustinegrass is not wear tolerant, it is used for lawns and general purpose turf, but not for high traffic sports turf.

Identifying tips

A broad-bladed, medium-green grass. Leaves are folded in the bud, there are no auricles, the ligule is a fringe of hairs, and the leaf blades are wide with a boat-shaped tip. The leaf sheath is flattened and the collar narrows to form a short stalk or petiole for the leaf blade. St. Augustinegrass has a creeping growth habit and is propagated by stolons that form shoots at every node. It forms a dense prostrate turf that is virtually weed free.


Moderate maintenance. St. Augustinegrass requires a high amount of nitrogen per year. It has a high tolerance for shade and heat but a poor tolerance for cold temperatures. It is drought and salt tolerant. Thatch is a severe problem. If not regularly dethatched, St. Augustinegrass can be difficult to mow.

Illustration of collar region of St. Augustinegrass
Collar region of St. Augustinegrass
Illustration of overall plant of St. Augustinegrass
Overall plant structure of St. Augustinegrass

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