Question: What are the advantages and drawbacks of St. Augustine?
Answer: Although it grows best in full sun, St. Augustine tolerates shade (as little as 4 to 6 hours of direct summer sunlight each day) better than any of our other warm-season grasses. It’s quick to cover, crowding out all of our other turfgrasses, even bermuda, if it’s given average or better care. It holds its crisp, green look all summer and into the fall, however, it can be damaged by temperatures of 10 degrees or lower, depending on prior hardening. You is somewhat sensitive to some weedkillers, and it has more problems with diseases and insects than bermuda. It can only be started from sod or plugs, so it will be more expensive to plant than any grass that could be seeded. You may occasionally see St. Augustine seed on the market, but that would not be a good option. The variety Floratam is most popular in South Texas, but it’s not winter-hardy very far north of Houston and San Antonio. Varieties such as Raleigh and Palmetto are better suited in the northern portions of St. Augustine’s area of adaptation.