It’s getting to that time of year when the lawn you dreamt of mowing is coming in yellow and patchy, making your lawn an eyesore compared to all of your neighbor’s yards. Instead of the pleasant hum of the lawnmower on a lush lawn this summer, you dread hearing the sound of the dirt patches hitting the bottom of your mower and kicking up dust.
Don’t panic quite yet! There is still hope for your lawn! Keep on reading to learn how St. Augustine grass runners are going to transform your lawn!
Before we jump right in, there are a few things we should chat about first. St Augustine grass runners can be pricey, but if you are willing to pay a little extra, you will thank yourself later! St. Augustine is one of the best warm-season grasses for many reasons, some of which we will chat about!
St Augustine grass is often used in warm, tropical areas because it can withstand extremely hot temperatures without losing the green color and high salt tolerance. The grass blades are typically broad and flat, making them look extra lush! It also ensures that you have a smooth, even turf.
Now, if this is already sounding like the ideal grass, it also tolerates shade well. It is soft enough that it makes laying on the freshly mowed lawn under the shade of a tree actually enjoyable. Another perk is that it is a pretty resilient grass, so you don’t have to worry as much about keeping yelling at the kids to quit walking all over your freshly planted lawn!
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into the step-by-step business. I know you came here to find out.
Step 1: Prepare Your Lawn
Before transplanting your St. Augustine grass, make sure your lawn is prepared. You will need to ensure the soil is healthy by adding organic matter and slow-acting fertilizers. If you are having any type of drainage issues, get this figured out, which might be as simple as re-grading the soil.
I’m sure you were hoping I would bring up the weeds… But you are going to have to make sure you have uprooted all of them! After you break your back, pulling these weeds up, grab your rake and run it over the area to help level out the yard and get rid of sticks or other debris that will get in the way of grass growth.
Step 2: Pull Up The St. Augustine Grass Runners
Okay, find your St. Augustine grass runners and cut them out of the ground. Keep in mind while you are cutting that the tiny roots and crown remain intact. Experts say the best length to cut is approximately 4 to 6 inches.
The fancy term for this step is called ‘sprigging.’ Perhaps you got your runners by sweet-talking your neighbor, or maybe you just had to break down and buy them, but regardless, make sure you immediately replant the runners! Too much time spent out of the soil will result in the roots drying out and deteriorating, defeating the purpose of planting them.
Step 3: Time To Dig A Furrow
Time to grab your spade and possibly your kids or neighbor kids to help with this part! Dig your furrows 1 inch or 2 inches deep and avoid turning over the soil as you would typically do when you dig with a hoe. Spacing does matter, so make sure each of the furrows should be 4-12 inches apart.
Step 4: Let’s Get Planting
Now that your hands have officially gotten dirty from digging, it’s time to plant the sprigs. Place the cut-out of each sprig into the ground making sure the roots are properly buried, and the foliage is above ground. Make sure you’re only putting one individual sprig in each spot!
Step 5: Pack The Soil In
Alright, make sure you have smoothed the furrows by stepping on the soil surface. This is not the time to try to beat your vertical high jump; make sure you are being gentle with your steps! By packing in the furrows, it ensures the ground is level, and the roots are properly covered.
Another option is to cover up the furrows with straw mulch. This helps retain the moisture in your soil.
Step 6: Maintenance
Unfortunately, you are not off the hook completely with your grass quite yet. We still have to talk about how you are going to keep it lush and growing. Fortunately, it’s nothing too strenuous!
Let’s break it down: Water your lawn! Adequately, not just a splash every now and then. Make sure you water immediately after planting the runners.
Make sure you are watering daily for the first 2 weeks. After this, you can start watering your plants twice every week. It typically takes runners 2 weeks to root, which is why they need the hydration!
Once it becomes time to start moving your St. Augustine Runners, there are a few things to watch out for. Don’t mow your lawn too short, which is easily remedied by raising the mower deck to about 3-4 inches. When you do, it prevents the grass from growing upward, and the stolons are exposed, causing your lawn to look a little rough.
Also, watch your soil. If the soil becomes too compact, the new runners are going to have a tough time ‘pegging’ into the soil. Thank goodness it is an easy fix; just water a bit more!
The last thing to watch for is thatch build-up. If the layer of thatch is too thick, the runners won’t be able to root themselves. Depending on just how thick your thatch layer is, depending on whether you need to do a bit of dethatching.
Can I Transplant St. Augustine Runners?
Yes, you sure can! Transplantation of St. Augustine runners is made possible through a process called sprigging. Essentially, the runners are cut with the crown and roots intact and then planted into the location of your choice.
How Long Does It Take For St. Augustine Runners To Spread?
As we briefly mentioned above, it takes about 2 weeks for the roots to properly anchor into the ground. After that, they will slowly start to spread all over your lawn. Don’t hold your breath while you watch it grow, though; it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry.
If you have used Bermuda grass spreads in the past, you will notice that Bermuda will spread and grow faster. Don’t be alarmed! It takes St. Augustine runners a second to spread and grow.
To get technical on you, the reason that the Bermuda grass type grows faster is that it contains both stolon and rhizomes. St. Augustine grass only has the stolon. To simplify this, rhizomes are below the dirt runners, and stolons are above-ground runners.
Compared to buying a bunch of grass seed and planting it over your lawn while fighting to keep both humans and animals off it, the St. Augustine grass runners are going to take a lot longer. It will also take longer than grass sods or grass plugs that you might pick up from your local lawn and garden stor