Dan Crumpton
Esther Crumpton

Palmetto St. Augustine

Maintenance Guidelines
Installation and Establishment

Installation and the care taken during the initial days that follow are the most critical factors in determining the long-term quality and performance of any turf grass, including Palmetto St. Augustine. Harvesting and transplantation are extremely stressful to turf grass and precautionary measures should be taken to help reduce further cultural and environmental stresses. Palmetto is a tough, hardy turf grass that, once established, produces a beautiful lifetime lawn and landscape. Proper care, including pre-installation soil preparation and limiting time on the pallet to less than 24 hours, yields positive results (see Installation). Improper care, especially during the initial 24-hour period after harvest, can cause death of the turf grass or damage that results in lengthy recovery and additional expense. This potential damage is magnified during hot, humid months. An installation procedure that is acceptable during cool weather may cause extensive damage during hot weather for any St. Augustine grass.

Post Establishment


Mowing is a critical and often under appreciated cultural practice.

- Maintain Palmetto at 2-2 1/2"

- Mow every 7-10 days during the active growing season

- Mow as needed during all other periods

- Never cut more than 1/3 of the total length of the blade at any one mowing

- If a mowing is missed and clippings clump on top of the Palmetto, bag or vacuum clippings to reduce shade-out


Avoid stress from insects by performing insecticide applications as needed

- For any insecticide application, always read and follow label directions carefully

- Early identification and treatment of insect stress minimizes inputs and injury

- Make routine observations of the landscape, and be aware of seasonal pests like chinch bugs, webworms, armyworms, and grubs

- Control armyworms and webworms with Sevin, Orthene, Diazinon, or Permethrin-based products

- Control chinch bugs with Talstar

- Control grubs with Bayer Advanced Lawn® Season-Long Grub Control Ready-to-Spread Granules annually in the late spring


Proper mowing, irrigation and fertilization of Palmetto will reduce weed problems. If a weed problem persists:

- For any herbicide application, always read and follow directions carefully

- Improper use of herbicides can severely damage or kill Palmetto

- Make routine observations of the landscape being aware of seasonal weeds

- Identify the type of weed causing the problem before using any chemical controls

- Consult with local experts and see Problem Solving for herbicide applications


Although Palmetto exhibits good disease resistance, fungal problems can occur during prolonged periods of adverse environmental conditions

- For any fungicide application, always read and follow label directions carefully

- Early identification and treatment of disease stress minimizes inputs and injury

- Make routine observations of the landscape being aware of unusual symptoms

- Consider a broad-spectrum fungicide application if predictable seasonal problems are noted

- Ask your Palmetto grower to apply fungicide 1-2 weeks prior to harvest during times of high, disease-inducing stress

- Consult with local experts and see Problem Solving for fungicide recommendations


Once established, Palmetto requires water on an as-needed basis. Over watering encourages excessive growth, disease, root rot, and poor aeration of soils. Most lawns are over watered, not under watered, which wastes resources, creates a shallow rooted “water dependent lawn,” and potentially damages the turf.

- Watering requirements are greatly dependent on soil type, season, geography and other factors

- Ensure irrigation systems are working properly and covering all areas covered by Palmetto

- Make routine observations of the landscape and learn the signs (i.e. wilting) that indicate when irrigation is required.

- Shaded areas and heavy soils require less water than full-sun areas and sandy soils

- Encourage deep root growth by watering until the soil is moist to a depth of 3", shallow watering encourages shallow roots

- Infrequent deep watering maximizes drought resistance and tolerance

- During drought conditions, irrigation needs are generally 1" of water per week

- See our Watering Tips for more information on proper irrigation


Proper fertility practices will encourage healthy, disease and insect free Palmetto:

- Perform a soil test to understand your soil type(s) and condition and best determine your specific fertility needs

- Generally Palmetto requires 3-fertilizer applications/year: spring, summer and fall

- Make routine observations and fertilize according to what the landscape indicates

- Understand what and how much fertilizer you are applying

- Avoid disease and insect inducing growth flushes by reducing Nitrogen rates

- Improve color and limit growth surges, especially in summer, by utilizing Iron sources

- Higher Nitrogen rates should only be applied in the spring, for injury recovery, or for planned “peaking” of Palmetto

- Apply balanced, slow-release fertilizers with lower rates of Nitrogen in the summer and fall