A popular turf grass in Texas, St. Augustine grows best when temperatures range from 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. A native of the West Indies and Texas coastal areas, St. Augustine has the best shade tolerance of the warm season grasses. St. Augustine grass has wide blades and rapid growth, while less invasive to flower beds. However, it tolerates heavy foot traffic less well than other warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda.
St. Augustine grass does best in areas of Texas from Dallas southward. Areas in the high plains or along the Red River often have winter temperatures cold enough to kill St. Augustine in bad winters. Plant St. Augustine when daytime temperatures are 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. For the Texas areas of San Antonio, Houston and south, plant St. Augustine as early as April and throughout the summer. Dallas Ft Worth area residents should wait until late April or May to plant St. Augustine.
St. Augustine is planted from sod or plugs, rather than seeds. Cover the entire area with sod and water frequently until the grass establishes. Watering briefly, several times per day for two to three weeks, provides enough moisture for the St. Augustine roots to begin growing. Once the sod adheres firmly to the soil, you can reduce watering to an as-needed schedule.
Texas A&M University and the University of Florida released the Floratam variety of St. Augustine in 1972. Considered an excellent St. Augustine types for South and South Central Texas, Floratam has the best drought tolerance of the St. Augustine varieties. Further north in the DFW area, Palmetto and Raleigh varieties have shown greater cold tolerance than Floratam. The Common variety of St. Augustine provides good cold tolerance. However, Common St. Augustine is susceptible to chinch bug damage and the viral infection, St. Augustine Decline.