Watering St Augustine Grass

Watering St Augustine grass is an essential part of keeping it healthy, attractive and growing vigorously throughout the season. This warm season, perennial grass loves water, but too much water can be a problem. This St Augustine grass guide gives you the details you need for successfully watering your lawn from early spring to the end of fall.

Tools for Successful Lawn Watering
These tools will help assure successful watering. First, you need a reliable rain gauge. St Augustine needs, on average, 1” of water per week. A rain gauge will tell you how much rain is falling so you’ll know when you need to irrigate and how much water you need to add.

Next, buy a quality sprinkler. Plan to spend $10-$30 on one that will deliver uniform watering throughout its coverage area. You may also need a new hose, or maybe just a new rubber washer, so that the sprinkler will fit tight without leaking. A leaky sprinkler will add too much water to some locations and slow the process of getting the rest of the lawn watered. If you use metered water, it will also waste money!

A small hand trowel or narrow, flat spade will allow you to check the moisture depth in the soil without damaging the turf. Finally, 8-10 plastic cups will help you learn how quickly your sprinkler can add 1” of water to your lawn. Place a small stone in the bottom of each cup and spread the cups over the coverage area of the sprinkler. Water for one hour. Then, remove the stones and measure the water in each cup. If the average depth is ½”, that means it will take 2 hours to add 1” of water. Do the math and determine how long it takes your sprinkler to deliver 1” of water.

St Augustine Grass Needs One Inch of Water Per Week
That’s the ideal amount. If the weather is especially hot and dry, give the lawn an extra ¼” to ½”. If the weather is cool and humid, water slightly less frequently and see how the lawn does. You definitely want to avoid giving the St Augustine grass too much water. Soil that is too wet will deprive the grass of oxygen and nitrogen. It may also create an environment conducive to rot and disease. Use your trowel or spade to check moisture in the soil. It should be slightly moist down to about 4”. If the soil is soggy, water less.

Your Lawn Will Tell You When it Needs a Drink
St Augustine grass, like most types, will show signs of needing water. The blades will begin to wilt. If you choose to water by sight, wait until one-third to one-half of the blades are looking slightly stressed before you water. This will ensure the lawn gets the water it needs without creating potential problems associated with over-watering St Augustine grass.

This all may sound academic at this point. After one full season with a St Augustine grass, you’ll know it well enough to understand when it needs watering and how much water you should give it.

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