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How To Plant St Augustine Grass Plugs in 8 Easy Steps

Because of its heat and humidity tolerance, St. Augustine grass is among the most preferred lawn grasses in the Gulf states and Florida. Its blue-green blades make a dense turf that grows rapidly and easily and can withstand salt, making it a good choice for coastal yards.

This article will discuss how to plant St Augustine grass plugs.

It’s crucial to understand that grass plugs are utilized for one of two purposes: repairing damaged parts of your lawn or establishing a lawn when sod is unavailable or impractical.

If the seed isn’t a possibility, grass plugs are a wonderful alternative. Because there’s no such item as St. Augustine seed, therefore grass plugs are your next best option if you really want a St. Augustine lawn. 

How To Plant St Augustine Grass Plugs
Bubble on St. Augustine grass – via Flickr

A Lush Garden Guide on How To Plant St Augustine Grass Plugs

Planting plugs of established grass is an easy way to get a St. Augustine lawn started. The plugs are rooted sod pieces that eventually fill up the gaps between them, resulting in lush, gorgeous grass.

Plugs are perfect for small spaces or situations where the homeowner isn’t in a hurry to develop a lush lawn. St. Augustine grass plugs are clumps of grass and roots 2-3″ in diameter. Plugs are an excellent solution for thin or barren places in your grass because once planted, the plugs spread.

Early summer or late spring is the best time to put St. Augustine plugs. Temperatures in the southeast are far above 80°F at this time of year. Planting plugs are likely safe even if you get a late start in the summer.

When planting in the late summer, keep in mind when the first winter frost is expected. Before the first frost, St. Augustine plugs must be planted at least 90 days before the first frost. Here’s how to plant St Augustine grass plugs.

Step 1: Test the Soil Quality

If you’re plugging the entire lawn, you should first test your soil before using chemicals to destroy the old grass and installing plugs. The quality of your soil determines the total health of the grass. The greatest method to assure superior grass quality is to start from the ground up.

Not only will the nutrients and right soil pH give the new sod the best chance to thrive, but they will also help it grow faster. It will also expedite the growth of the plugs. After you’ve gotten your results, make any necessary soil amendments.

Step 2: Measure the Planting Area

Don’t forget to measure the area where grass plugs will be installed. This helps you calculate the precise number of grass plugs you’ll need.

You can determine the area that will acquire the grass plugs with a measuring tape. Take into account any places with sidewalks, driveways, plants, trees, or other landscaping.

Step 3: Prepare the soil

The groundwork is an essential part of any lawn project, so it’s important to begin preparing your soil before you plant grass plugs. Rake or till the ground so that it’s smooth and even. Remove any rocks, sticks, twigs, roots or other debris.

If you created bare spots in your soil when removing turf grass, or if you’re planting plugs into a new, yard-less area of your property, sprinkle a thin layer of compost over the soil. This will help keep weeds from sprouting and provide some nutrients for your future lawn grasses.

Step 4: Dig a hole

The depth to which you’ll plant your plugs is determined by the height of the grass variety you’re planting. The root systems are different for each type of St Augustine, so follow the recommendations to ensure optimal growth.

For example, common Bermuda grass has a broad root system that can go into shallower depths than Tall Tine or Hybrid varieties. On average, plant your plugs at a depth of two inches deep.

How To Plant St Augustine Grass Plugs 2
St Augustine Grass Plugs – via Wikimedia

Step 5: Fertilize the Holes

Now is the time to fertilize the holes you have just drilled. St. Augustine is one of the most nutrient-hungry lawn grasses, so you need to invest in high-quality fertilizer.

Use a slow-release type for best results. Before planting your plugs, spray them with water until they are moist all the way through. The ground should also be moist but not soaked or muddy. 

Step 6: Plant the grass plugs

Once you’ve dug your holes and the soil is prepared, place a plug in each with its crown just below the surface of the ground. Then, lightly pat down with your hands to ensure solid contact between the soil and root system.

If your lawn contains more than one type of grass variety, plant them at alternating heights–short in the front and tall toward the back, for instance. If you’re using a square or rectangular pattern when planting your plugs, try staggering your rows so that they intersect at the middle of each plant.

Step 7: Water Your Plugs

Once you’ve finished planting grass plugs into your freshly-dug holes, give them some water. The amount of water each plug receives depends on the soil type it’s planted in, so follow the recommendations of your local nursery or agricultural extension service.

If you’re using a sprinkler system for watering, give your plugs two hours every day until they become established. You can apply more than twice daily if you feel it is necessary.

Step 8: Maintain your St Augustine lawn

Once you’ve planted St Augustine grass plugs, it’s important to keep them watered and fertilized regularly. If you don’t water them enough –or at all–, they’ll die quickly.

Keeping your future St Augustine lawn alive and growing is the best way to ensure that it will cover your lawn quickly. If you take care of the plugs, they’ll pay off over time with a lush, green lawn. 

Care Tips

St. Augustine grass lawns that have just been planted need to be protected as they establish themselves. Pests and diseases can affect both the roots and the turf. Keep a close eye on your grass.

Avoid fertilizing your plugs for at least three months after planting them. This will give their root systems time to grow strong and develop good rooting habits before other plants compete with them for nutrients.

Grass should remain green year-round, so don’t worry if it appears suddenly dull in the wintertime. It just means that you’re seeing the natural, dormant state of the plants.

Avoid cutting your new plugs until they grow to a height of at least two inches. This typically takes around three months after planting, so be patient!

Cut the grass after the lawn starts to fill in and reach a mowable height (3-4 inches). When the leaves begin to curl and acquire a bluish-green color, water your lawn.

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Final Remarks

St Augustine grass is a low-maintenance grass that grows quickly. The only requirements are that the plugs must be planted appropriately and adequately watered and followed by simple lawn maintenance techniques.

Now that you know how to plant St Augustine grass plugs, you can get started creating a lawn that will give your property some curb appeal.

Whether you’re looking to add a new, lush space for kids to play or you want a space for your pets to run around, planting grass plugs is an inexpensive and easy way to add value to your home.