How, When, and Where to Plant St. Augustine Grass Plugs

When it comes to planting grass plugs, there are a lot of options. But for those who live in hot humid climates with a lot of moisture, St. Augustine grass is the perfect choice. So here’s how to plant St. Augustine grass plugs:

  1. Purchase High-Quality Plugs: Choose St. Augustine grass plugs from a reputable garden center or nursery, ensuring they are healthy and disease-free.
  2. Prepare the Planting Site: Remove existing weeds and grass from the area; then, till the soil to a depth of about 4-6 inches to promote good root development.
  3. Fertilize the Soil: Incorporate organic matter like compost or peat moss; this will enhance soil fertility and drainage.
  4. Plant the Plugs: Dig holes in a checkerboard pattern about 12-18 inches apart; place each plug into a hole, making sure the top of the plug is level with the surrounding soil.
  5. Water Immediately: Thoroughly water the newly planted plugs; they should remain moist but not waterlogged for the first few weeks.
  6. Establish a Regular Watering Schedule: Water the plugs deeply once or twice a week; this encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil, enhancing the drought tolerance of the lawn.
  7. Monitor Growth: Watch for signs of new growth and spreading; this indicates that the plugs are establishing themselves and starting to fill in the lawn.

If you’re looking to transform your yard with a lush, carpet-like grass, then St. Augustine is an excellent choice. This variety of grass is popular in warmer climates, thanks to its resistance to heat and its distinctive, deep green color.

But, unlike seeding or sodding, using grass plugs gives you the opportunity to grow a full lawn without breaking the bank. So if you’re considering a lawn makeover, sit back, relax, and let’s walk through the process of how to plant St. Augustine grass plugs.

With patience, a bit of hard work, and some garden basics, you’ll be on your way to a new, beautiful lawn that’s the envy of your neighbors!

 Plugs 120329 002

So here is . . . 

How to plant St. Augustine grass plugs step-by-step

1. Purchase High-Quality Plugs

When it comes to planting St. Augustine grass plugs, the quality of the plugs is of the utmost importance. It’s crucial to purchase your plugs from a reliable garden center or nursery.

Look for plugs that are green, vigorous, and show no signs of disease or pests. Healthy plugs have a better chance of establishing themselves quickly in your lawn and spreading evenly.

Remember, a small investment in high-quality plugs now can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by avoiding issues like disease spread or replanting.

2. Prepare the Planting Site

Before you get to planting, it’s important to properly prepare the area.

This includes removing any existing grass, weeds, or debris that might hinder the growth of your new plugs. Then, it’s time to loosen up the soil. Tilling the soil to a depth of about 4-6 inches will provide a conducive environment for the roots of the plugs to penetrate deeply and establish themselves securely.

Well-prepared soil will also allow for better air circulation, water penetration, and nutrient absorption for your new plugs.

3. Fertilize the Soil

Once your site is clean and the soil is tilled, it’s a good idea to add some organic matter to the soil.

You can use compost, peat moss, or a soil conditioner to enhance the fertility of your soil. This amendment improves soil texture, boosts nutrient content, and enhances the soil’s ability to retain water while still providing good drainage.

By amending the soil, you’re giving your St. Augustine grass plugs a nutritious environment in which to thrive.

4. Plant the Plugs

Now you’re ready to plant your St. Augustine grass plugs.

Start by digging holes in a checkerboard pattern about 12-18 inches apart. The wider the spacing, the longer it will take your lawn to fill in, but you’ll use fewer plugs. Place each plug into a hole, ensuring the top of the plug is level with the surrounding soil.

This positioning allows the grass to spread out evenly as it grows.

5. Water Immediately

After planting, give your new St. Augustine grass plugs a thorough watering.

The aim is to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged for the first couple of weeks. This initial watering encourages the roots to establish themselves in their new home and is critical to the plugs’ survival and growth.

6. Establish a Regular Watering Schedule

Once your St. Augustine grass plugs are in the ground and have been watered initially, it’s important to set up a regular watering schedule.

Generally, watering the plugs deeply once or twice a week is sufficient. This routine not only hydrates the grass but also encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil, enhancing the lawn’s drought tolerance.

7. Monitor Growth

After all the hard work of purchasing, preparing, planting, and watering, the final step is to keep a close eye on your new lawn.

Watch for signs of new growth and spreading – these are positive indications that your St. St. Augustine grass plugs are successfully establishing themselves and beginning to fill in your lawn. Also, be alert for any signs of pests or diseases, as catching these early can make treatment much more effective.

With careful monitoring, you can ensure your new St. Augustine lawn grows in healthy and lush.

 Grass plugs have grown in nicely

Where do you buy St. Augustine grass plugs?

When it comes to purchasing St. Augustine grass plugs, you’ve got a few good options to choose from.

First up are local garden centers and nurseries. They usually offer a variety of lawn grasses, and most of the time, St. Augustine grass is among them. An advantage of purchasing from a local store is that you can inspect the plugs before buying to ensure they’re healthy and disease-free.

Next, consider checking out home improvement stores, such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. These stores often have a garden section that carries lawn grasses. The added benefit here is you can also pick up any other lawn supplies you might need.

For a larger selection or for specific varieties of St. Augustine grass, you might want to look at online retailers. Websites like Amazon and specialty online nurseries offer a vast range of grasses. The benefit of online shopping is the convenience and the ability to compare different sellers and prices.

Finally, check with local sod farms. They often carry different types of grasses and may sell St. Augustine grass plugs, especially if you’re in a region where this grass type is prevalent.

When purchasing, remember to look for plugs that are dense, green, and healthy-looking. Be cautious of any that have signs of disease or pests. With healthy plugs as your starting point, you’re on the right path to a lush, vibrant St. Augustine lawn.

When is the best time to plant St. Augustine grass plugs?

This grass is a warm-season turf, and grows best in high temperatures, making late spring or early summer the ideal time to plant St. Augustine grass. This period provides ample time for the grass to establish before cooler weather hits.

Warm soil during this growing season boosts root growth, helping the plugs establish quicker. As the grass’s growth is at its peak in the warm season, your lawn will become lush and full sooner.

However, it’s crucial to remember that the warmer temperatures mean the soil can dry out faster. St. Augustine grass plugs need consistent moisture to thrive, so be prepared to water them frequently in the initial weeks following planting.

Avoid planting grass in fall or winter.

Lower temperatures and reduced daylight can slow down root development, and the grass might struggle to survive the winter. This can result in a sparse and patchy lawn by spring, which is far from ideal.

In summary, capitalize on late spring or early summer to plant your St. Augustine grass plugs. It’s the golden window that will lead to the best results for your new lawn.

How to maintain a new St. Augustine lawn

Maintaining a new St. Augustine lawn involves a few essential steps.

First, consistent watering is critical. Initially, water once or twice daily for the first week or two. After the grass establishes, reduce to watering deeply once or twice a week. This practice encourages deep root growth, leading to a drought-tolerant lawn.

Proper mowing is also important. St. Augustine grass prefers a higher mow height, typically between 2.5 to 4 inches. Regular mowing encourages thicker growth, so aim to mow every 7-14 days, depending on the grass’s growth rate.

Fertilizing your lawn provides the nutrients necessary for healthy growth. Apply a balanced lawn fertilizer once in early spring and again in late summer. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this can cause excessive growth and potentially increase susceptibility to diseases.

Keeping your lawn free of weeds is another key aspect. Pre-emergent herbicides in spring can prevent weed growth. If weeds do appear, post-emergent herbicides or manual removal can help control them.

Pest control is another consideration. Chinch bugs and grubs are common pests for St. Augustine grass. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage and apply appropriate treatments as needed.

Finally, monitor your lawn’s health. Brown patches, bare spots, or discolored grass can indicate issues like disease or pest problems. Early identification and treatment are crucial to maintaining a healthy lawn.

By following these maintenance steps, your St. Augustine lawn will grow thick and lush, providing you with a beautiful and resilient turf to enjoy.

Final thoughts

Congratulations! You’ve just taken a significant step towards achieving a vibrant, carpet-like St. Augustine lawn.

Remember, the key to a successful lawn isn’t just in the planting, but also in the consistent care afterward. Water your plugs regularly, provide the necessary nutrients, and don’t forget to mow as needed. With time, those grass plugs will spread, creating a thick, lush carpet of green that’s hard to beat. Above all, remember to enjoy the process.

The satisfaction of creating a stunning lawn from scratch is unmatched. So, go ahead, and enjoy your new lawn and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. After all, you’ve earned it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I test my soil before planting grass plugs?

Yes, testing your soil before planting grass plugs is a smart move.

It allows you to determine the soil pH level and the nutrient content of your soil type. This knowledge can guide you in making necessary amendments to create an optimal growing environment for your St. Augustine grass.

If your soil is too acidic, for instance, you might need to add lime.

If it’s deficient in specific nutrients, you can select a fertilizer that fills those gaps. It’s all about creating a welcoming environment for your new grass plugs, and a soil test is a key step.

How do you test your soil for pH and nutrients?

Testing your soil’s pH and nutrient content is straightforward.

You can purchase a soil test kit from a garden center, but I love this top-rated one from Amazon. After collecting soil samples from several spots around your lawn, you’ll mix them with a testing solution or place them on a testing strip, depending on the kit’s instructions.

Then, you simply compare the color produced with a provided chart to determine the pH and nutrient levels. For a more detailed analysis, consider sending a soil sample to a professional lab or your local cooperative extension service.

They can provide a comprehensive report and specific amendment recommendations.

How long does it take for St. Augustine grass plugs to spread?

On average, St. Augustine grass plugs take about 7 to 8 months to fully spread under ideal conditions.

Faster spread can occur in warm weather, in full sun, with regular watering, feeding, and mowing. However, growth might slow down in cooler temperatures, drought, or poor soil conditions.

Excessive shade or foot traffic can also hinder the spreading process. Regular care and favorable conditions can help ensure optimal growth and quicker lawn coverage.

How many St Augustine plugs do I need?

The number of St. Augustine plugs you need depends on the spacing you choose.

For quicker coverage, plant plugs 9-12 inches apart, which requires about 1-2 plugs per square foot. If you’re willing to wait longer for full coverage, you can plant them 15 inches apart, requiring roughly 1 plug per square foot.

For a 500 square-foot area, you would need between 500 to 1000 plugs depending on your chosen spacing.

How far apart do you plant St. Augustine grass plugs?

St. Augustine grass plugs should ideally be planted 12-18 inches apart from each other.

Planting them closer, around 12 inches apart, can yield a full lawn faster but requires more plugs. On the other hand, planting them further apart, at about 18 inches, requires fewer plugs but might take longer for full coverage.

The choice depends on your budget, available plugs, and how quickly you want a fully established lawn.

Are grass plugs cheaper than sod?

A tray of about 18 St. Augustine grass plugs might cost you around $25-$30. If you’re planting these plugs 15 inches apart, you would need about 1 plug per square foot, meaning a tray can cover roughly 18 square feet.

On the other hand, a pallet of St. Augustine sod, which covers around 450 square feet, might cost you in the ballpark of $200-$250.

So, if we do the math, to cover a 450-square-foot area, you would need approximately 25 trays of plugs, costing you between $625-$750. Comparatively, the sod would be a more cost-effective choice for large areas, but it requires more labor for installation.

However, if you’re working with a smaller area, or you’re not in a hurry for the lawn to fill in, plugs can be a more economical choice. For instance, for a 100-square-foot area, you would need roughly 5 trays of plugs, which would cost you around $125-$150, while the same area with sod would still require a whole pallet.

These prices can vary based on factors like the specific variety of grass, your location, and the current market demand, so it’s always a good idea to check local prices.

How often should you water St. Augustine grass plugs?

For the first 7-10 days after planting, water St. Augustine grass plugs daily to keep the soil consistently moist.

After this initial period, reduce watering to 2-3 times a week, still keeping the soil moist but not overly saturated. Once established, usually after a couple of months, St. Augustine grass generally requires watering once a week, with deeper, infrequent watering promoting a robust root system.

During hotter months, you might need to water more often to prevent the grass from drying out. Always check the soil’s moisture level to avoid overwatering.

Where are the best areas of the country to plant St. Augustine grass?

St. Augustine grass thrives in warm, coastal regions with mild winter temperatures.

It’s a favorite in the southern United States, particularly in Florida, South Carolina, the Gulf Coast, and Southern Texas. This grass type appreciates the heat and has a decent tolerance for salt, making it a suitable choice for lawns in coastal areas.

However, it’s worth noting that St. Augustine grass doesn’t cope well with prolonged periods of cold and could struggle in areas with frequent frosts or snow in the winter months.

As such, it’s less suitable for northern climates or regions with harsh winters.


Grass by Brian Hart and Plugs 120329 002 by Dwight Sipler is licensed under CC2.0

Middle Class Dad is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click to Amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase. This is no way increases the cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts