Attempting to grow a healthy, lush lawn can be a time consuming and expensive endeavor. You must first choose the type of grass you are going to grow, and then you must decide if you are going to grow it from seed, sod, or plugs. Fortunately, you can make this process quicker, as well as a whole lot less expensive. By choosing to grow St. Augustine grass seed, and learning to grow your own grass plugs, you can have a beautiful yard at a fraction of the price and a fraction of the time.
What Is St. Augustine Grass?
St. Augustine grass which is also known as Charleston grass, or Buffalo Turf, is a course, thick, wide bladed grass. This grass is the perfect grass for your yard due to the fact that it grows rapidly by sending runners, or above ground stolons from one point to another. It is also a very thick grass that will crowd out other types of grasses, as well as weeds, and can be grown in a wide variety of soil types.
St. Augustine grass is recommended for U.S.D.A. plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, as it does well in full sun and in shade, and is drought tolerant up to a certain level. It is also pest and disease resistant.
Unfortunately, just like any other grass seed it has a few limitations. Some of these are:
- It does not do well in areas that experience temperatures below 10 degree Fahrenheit.
- This grass does not tolerate a lot of traffic and is best used in low traffic areas.
- Because it grows so fast, it does require frequent mowing.
- Due to the way it grows and its thickness, it does require dethatching.
Even with these limitations, it is still one of the best grasses for lawns that fall within those hardness zones.
How Do You Create Your Own Grass Plugs?
One of the most economical ways to fill in bare areas, or start a new type of grass that you hope will eventually take over your yard is to create grass plugs. By growing grass plugs, you reduce the number of factors that may keep your seeds from growing when they are sown directly into your yard.
Home grown plugs give the grass a better chance of becoming acclimated to your climate, as well as to your soil. Growing them this way will make your grass hardier and give it a better chance of being overall successful.
Supplies You Will Need
- Growing trays divided into cells (cells that are at least two inches deep will give your grass more room to form a better developed root system)
- Potting soil
- St Augustine grass seed
- Trowel or other type of hand tool
Fill your trays with approximately 1 - 2 inches of potting soil.
Sow your seeds into your trays, making sure the seeds are spread out evenly across the cell. Sow 10-15 seeds per cell.
Cover the seeds with approximately 1/2 inch of soil and water your trays until they are damp, but make sure that there is no standing water.
Place your trays in a sunny area, keep them watered, and wait for your grass to grow.
If you grow your trays indoors, once your grass is a couple of inches high, you will need to harden your plants off prior to placing them in the ground.
To harden them, simply start setting your trays outside for several hours per day in a sheltered location. Protect your fragile seedlings from strong sunlight, hard winds, rain, and cool temperatures during this time. Make sure you continue to water them during this time, and do not allow them to wilt.
After 7-10 days of hardening, you are ready to use your grass to plant, or plug your yard.