How to Plant St Augustine Grass Plugs in 5 Quick Steps

Known for its exceptional heat tolerance, St. Augustine grass is a favorite in warm-weather areas. Learn how to plant St. Augustine grass plugs the right way with our expert techniques.

Sean Stratton | Updated March 5, 2023
planting st augustine plugs

Do you live in a warm state with extreme heat no grass will tolerate? Does your lawn look like a desert? There is still hope, your lawn can still look green and full of life. You need some tough, weather-tolerant St. Augustine grass.

This grass can tolerate humidity, heat, and even salt, which makes it not only suitable for warm states but subtropical and coastal areas.

How to Plant St Augustine Grass Plugs

Total Time: 60 minutes

  1. Measure the Area

    Measure the Area

    Measure the lawn or the area you want to plant the grass plugs in before purchasing them. Grass plugs come in trays. A tray of St. Augustine grass plugs can have 18 grass plugs that can cover roughly a 32 square ft area.

  2. Prepare the Soil

    Prepare the Soil

    Remove any weeds from the soil. Weeds will compete with your grass for nutrients. You can remove weeds and existing grass using all-vegetation herbicide and then wait two weeks.

    If the soil is hard, break it down using a tiller. If the soil is loose, you can make it suitable for planting the plugs using a garden rake.

    St. Augustine grass does better in a soil pH range between 6.0 and 7.5, which is slightly acidic to neutral. Get a soil test and adjust the pH if necessary.

    If the soil is too acidic, lime can be added to raise the pH level. If the soil is too alkaline, sulfur can be added to lower the pH level.

  3. Planning and Digging

    Planning and Digging

    Plan the desired pattern to plant the grass plugs. You can use a diagonal pattern method so that a diamond pattern forms with each group when you create a group of 4 holes.

    How far apart should you plant St Augustine plugs? Maintain 12 inches of spacing between the holes. If you put flags in the desired places, it will be easier to identify the spots and dig holes.

    Next, start digging the holes according to the plan. Make slightly larger holes than the plugs; this will make it easier to plant them. But the depth will be the same as the root ball of the plugs. For digging holes, a garden trowel is enough.

    You can rent or buy plugging tools. It will make ideal-sized holes for the plugs.

    After digging the holes, saturate the area by watering thoroughly but don’t completely fill the holes with water. Additionally, you can put starter fertilizer on the holes so that the St. Augustine grass plugs get essential nutrients as soon as they get firm on the ground.

  4. Plant the Plugs or Sod

    planting st augustine plugs

    Place the St. Augustine grass plugs inside the holes in the lawn’s soil. Cover the roots adequately, fill all the gaps, and leave the crowns in the air.

    Finish by watering the grass plugs again.

  5. Additional Care

    additional care

    Keep watering your newly planted grass plugs for 2 weeks. This will help the roots to be firm and stable in the soil. After that, you need to maintain one inch of water every week.

    If the area experiences heavy rain, you may need to improve drainage or create a rain garden to help manage excess water. Conversely, if there isn’t enough rainfall, water the grass plugs more frequently or install an irrigation system.

    Within a short time, you will notice the St. Augustine grass thriving on your lawn. After you see the grass spreading, you can mow your lawn, ensuring that you don’t cut them too short that they become lower than 2 inches.

When to Plant St. Augustine Grass

If you look at the list of warm-season grass, you will find St. Augustine grass to be one of the most common grasses in it. St. Augustine grass not only tolerates warm temperatures but thrives in the hot sunny season.

So, the best time to grow it would be summer and spring. Because in these seasons, the average temperature remains 80° to 100° Fahrenheit which is ideal for growing St. Augustine grass.

And if you were to ask for the best time for growing St. Augustine grass in the U.S., I would say: you can grow your grass from May all the way to July. In that period, the daytime temperature remains 80° Fahrenheit on average.

You need to plant St. Augustine grass sod or plugs when there is full sun. This may vary from place to place. So, the best thing to do is follow your region’s calendar and plant the plugs at a minimum of 90 days before the first expected fall frost.

By doing so, you are giving your grasses sufficient time to get prepared for the upcoming extreme weather. After successfully planting the grasses, you can start expecting a dense, lush green grass carpet on your lawn soon.

Next Read: Pick the Ideal Fertilizers for St. Augustine Grass

What Are St Augustine Grass Plugs?

Okay, we’ve discussed when to grow St. Augustine grass. Before discussing how you can grow St. Augustine grass, let’s talk a little bit more about the grass itself.  

If you want to establish a St. Augustine turf and you are tight on budget, you need to think again. It can be pretty pricey. Though sod is the most perfect option for establishing a new lawn from scratch, it’s very costly as well. So, the only option left in hand is grass plugs.

Grass plugs are turf plants that are grown in trays. Plugs are small, like 2 to 3 inches in general. But the size may vary. If you don’t want to spend some pretty penny on the grass and you are not in a hurry to have a green backyard, grass plugs are the best option for you.

After you plant the plugs, you will notice the grass is spreading. We’ve said earlier that it’s an excellent choice to start from scratch. And if your lawn has bare or bald spots, it’s still a great option to fix them.

When talking about St. Augustine grass plugs, a relevant question comes out, where to find grass plugs? You can look for St. Augustine grass plugs at your local garden stores. You may even find them at some big stores like Home Depot or Lowes.

How Fast Do St Augustine Plugs Spread?

St. Augustine grass plugs grow quite fast. You won’t need to wait for years to see your lawn turn lush green. Generally speaking, you will need to wait roughly 7 to 14 days to observe the grass plugs spreading. Once they start spreading, you will notice your lawn is getting greener day by day.

If you are asking how many days it will take to fill the bare spots in your garden, well, it will depend much on the distance of the plugs. The closer they are, the faster the bare spots will get filled up.

Common Diseases Affecting St. Augustin Grass Plugs

Common diseases affecting St. Augustine grass include brown patches, gray leaf spots, and take-all root rot.

  • Brown patch is a fungal disease that can form circular patches of brown grass.
  • Gray leaf spot is another fungal disease causing gray lesions on the grass blades.
  • Take-all root rot is a fungal disease that attacks the roots of the grass and can cause yellowing or browning of the grass.

Tips for preventing these diseases:

  • Mow the grass at the correct height
  • to avoid overwatering
  • Provide proper fertilization.
  • Monitor the grass for signs of disease and take action promptly if a problem is detected.

If a disease is identified, you can apply St. Augustine Grass fungicide.

Written by Sean Stratton

Sean Stratton

Hi, I'm Sean, the senior editor here at Fertilizer Pick. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina and have grown fruits, vegetables, and trees since childhood. While I no longer live on a farm today, I still enjoy spending time on my garden and sharing my knowledge with friends and fellow garden enthusiasts.