St. Augustine Grass Plugs: Planting Tips for Renovated Backyard Patios

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If you plan to convert part of your backyard patio into a garden, you may want to replace the concrete with grass. But choosing the best grass for your southern climate won't be easy if you don't know what's available to you.

St. Augustine grass is the perfect solution to your problem. The grass works well in locations with mild winters and warm to tropical summers. However, the grass can't withstand dry or overly damp soil conditions. Here are tips you can use to prepare your soil for St. Augustine grass plugs and how to maintain the right conditions for the grass to grow.

Remove Rocks and Tree Roots

After you remove the concrete from the location you plan to grow your garden, use a garden hoe, rake or tiller to remove any rocks and tree roots from the soil. Tree roots can grow beneath concrete over time and disrupt the growth of new plants and vegetables. Getting rid of the problem now saves you headaches and extra work later.

Once you complete the step above, leave the area alone for about two or three days. Sometimes, underground roots push through the soil to reach the surface when they search for sunlight and food. In addition, if it rains in the area, hidden roots will wash up toward the surface of the newly tilled soil, which makes it easier for you to remove them.

After you clean the garden, it's time to cultivate or mix its soil to keep it healthy. Cultivating the soil improves its ability to hold moisture and air during the planting. You need to use your garden hoe or rake to gently mix the top and bottom soil layers together. 

You should cultivate the garden for about 15 minutes before moving to the next step in your preparations.

Lay Down Topsoil With Fertilizer and Plant Your St. Augustine Plugs

Purchase several bags of topsoil from your local home and garden store. Although your landscape's topsoil is good for your garden, it may not contain all the nutrients your St. Augustine grass needs to flourish, such as extra nitrogen. You should purchase topsoil with quick-release fertilizer for the best results.

However, if you can't find quick-release topsoil with fertilizer, purchase the ingredients separately. Be sure to mix the two ingredients together in a large container before you apply them to the tilled garden. You want to cover the garden evenly before you add your St. Augustine grass.

You should begin the next stage of your grass seed planting right away to avoid problems. You don't want rain to saturate the soil, or the sun to dry it out. The plugs won't grow well in overly wet or dry conditions. In addition, the grass may develop problems from overwatering after it grows, such as fungi and weeds.

It's best to follow the planting instructions on the packaging for your grass. Some sources recommend placing your plugs in holes large enough to support and hold their roots for good growth. Other sources instruct you to place the plugs about 3 inches apart in the soil.

If you still don't know how to proceed, contact your St. Augustine grass supplier for clearer instructions and advice about how to plant your plugs.

To help your St. Augustine grass plugs grow healthy, place a dewatering system in the garden that removes excess rainwater from the soil. The system should direct the water to another area of the property, such as your trees or shrubs.

If you need additional tips or ideas on how to plant your plugs, visit resources such as