How To Get St Augustine Grass To Grow Back: Rescue Your Lawn

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Mattias

St augustine is one of the most desirable warm-season grasses, but it doesn’t look nearly as attractive when suffering. There are several scenarios under which your grass would need to be grown back. If your grass has been through harsh climatic conditions, environmental changes, or lack of proper care, it will go under stress and appear dull and lifeless. Furthermore, dormancy, weeds, insects, or other diseases can sometimes affect the grass.

Either way, keep reading this article to find out how to get st augustine grass to grow back.

How To Get St Augustine Grass To Grow Back

No one wants to see their lawn covered in bare spots and dead brown patches. Here’s how to get st augustine grass to grow back.

Water properly

If your lawn is dying because of drought stress i.e lack of water, then the chance of reviving it is much more probable. Even though St augustine performs well in drought conditions, it can’t survive without a minimal water supply. Since water plays a significant part in St. Augustine’s growth, long periods of drought, hot weather, and high temperatures can cause your grass to stop growing and turn brown.

St augustine normally needs about 1.5 inches of water per week, but dividing that into 2 watering sessions of 0.75 (¾) inches each is much more recommended. When your grass shows signs of slow growth and dullness, you should increase this quantity and give about 1.75-2 inches per week.

Drought stress can often cause grass blades to fold. If your grass is going through a similar problem, then you should increase your watering frequency to 3 times a week and let the water reach 6 inches deep into the soil. Grass should be watered deeply, and water direction should be focussed on the seemingly dead grass. If there is any chance of survival, roots will catch on to that water and absorb it. 

If you water adequately on a regular basis and ensure that roots are getting enough water then you’d be able to enjoy the best results and revive grass in 3-4 weeks.

Remember that water can only bring back the grass that has been dead for 1-3 weeks. If your grass has passed that threshold then it may never grow back.

Improve the soil conditions

The unavailability of proper soil conditions and poor soil quality are one of the main reasons for the grass’ slow growth and death. Every grass species requires a specific set of growing conditions, and the quality of soil is one of them. Much like most of the warm-season grasses, St augustine also wants a well-drained medium. Besides that, it specifically likes sandy soils whose soil pH is between 5.0 – 7.0. 

St augustine is a type of grass that needs an excess oxygen supply to grow properly, which is why it likes well-aerated soil. This grass doesn’t perform well in compacted soils, which is one reason why sandy soil is the best option. Depending on your grass’ conditions, you can also punch holes in the soil surface using core or spike aerators.

The best way to ensure soil suitability for st augustine grass is by conducting soil tests. They are easy to perform, and if you have trouble, then you can hire a professional to do it for you. Once the results are out, you can see whether the nitrogen, ph, and other factors are adequate.

If you want to get st augustine grass to grow back, then you’d need to examine the number of nutrients present in the soil. After doing so, you can incorporate organic matter and compost into the lawn to encourage a healthy root system. 

  • 5lbs of sulfur can be applied per 1000 square feet to decrease soil ph
  • Lime-based compounds can be sued to increase soil ph 

If the soil’s pH is correct, the surface is well aerated, and the grassroots have access to oxygen, it will be easier for the grass to grow back.


Thatch buildup is an underestimated yet dangerous reason that can damage your st augustine grass just as much as a water shortage or soil quality. In case you don’t know the term, thatch is a layer of dead plant tissue, decomposing stems, grass clippings, and excess material that forms on the top layer of soil. If you don’t dethatch your lawn when necessary, the layer can get thick and act as a barrier between your st augustine grass and primary nutrients.

When you will water the grass or apply fertilizers, the thatch layer will block most of it, and nutrients won’t even reach the grassroots. Not only that, but the absorption of direct sunlight will also be affected, and all these factors will collectively slow down the turf’s growth. If you don’t handle this situation correctly, the thatch layer can even lead to starvation and the grass’s ultimate death.

Furthermore, the thatch layer is dangerous because it is a breeding ground for threatening lawn diseases, fungi, and insects. Threatened species find a place to establish themselves and live there until the grass is severely affected. Hence, it can be concluded that a thatch layer attracts and encourages various threats that can lead to shallow roots, winter kill, slow growth, and grass death.

If you see a decomposing layer on the soil surface, you should dethatch the lawn using a rake or mower.

Plant again 

If your st augustine grass has been appearing dead for more than 4-5 weeks, then unfortunately, it can’t be brought back. Roots can only be revived if proper attention is given at the right time and necessary actions are taken. You can still try, but the probability of the odds being in your favor is very low.

Once the grass begins to die, you’ll start noticing dead spots on your st augustine lawn, and rather than having an unpleasant sight, it’s time to replant the grass. You don’t have to tear the entire lawn apart, but it is advised to cover up the bare areas as soon as possible.

The best way to get ahead with this task is by removing the dead grass plugs from the surface by pulling them out manually or using a rake. Afterward, you can plant new grass seeds or grass plugs in the area and wait for them to grow.

Speedy growth will be ensured if you ensure proper lawn care, water supply, and fertilizer application. 

Things That Kill St Augustine Grass

Now that we have covered the main subject let’s talk about the things that kill st augustine grass in the first place. Once you know about them, you can look out and prevent potential damage.

Drought stress

Drought stress is one of the most common reasons for dead St. augustine grass, and as mentioned above, it can only be solved if you take action within 1-3 weeks. 

Because St augustine goes into dormancy by itself in the winter season, this problem is most likely to occur during the summer months. You should remember that St augustine is an excellent choice for hot regions, and its drought resistance is usually pretty notable. However, when drought conditions have stretched for a long period, and this grass possibly can’t absorb any more moisture from the soil, it starts showing signs of drought stress.

The closest approximation is that St augustine can go 6 weeks without water, and it will start turning brown. If you don’t pay attention or water it regularly, even at this point, then it will gradually start to die.

The best solution to get out of this situation is pretty simple. You need to evaluate whether the grass is dying or if it’s in dormancy by pulling a plug out. If it comes out easily, then your grass is close to death and you need to water it deeply.

We recommend installing a proper irrigation system after this and ensuring a proper water supply for the best results.


Insects are one of the deadliest species that can attack your lawn, and they can be the primary reason behind dead grass. They are not only stubborn but constant and fast spreading as well, making them more threatening. 

St augustine lawns are mostly seen in Florida, and insects such as chinch bugs, mole crickets, and grub worms can attack there. Insects attack in different ways, but here’s a comprehensive overview.

Chinch bugs are small insects that travel in groups and suck the juice out of leaf blades. The grass appears to be dead because it doesn’t have its sap anymore, and the bugs feed on the roots as well. These are most likely to attack during early summer and late spring. The worst thing about this particular insect is that it lays eggs all over the field and returns repeatedly.

Mole crickets, on the other hand, are known for their ability to tunnel through the grass. They live close to the soil surface and eat your grass roots which hinder their ability to absorb nutrients from the soil.

White grubs affect your grass by damaging the roots so badly that they can’t transfer nutrients to the upper portion of the grass i.e, the leaf blades, anymore. Without the essential nutrients, the grass blades will start turning brown, show signs of drought stress, and die.

You should use insect killers or other chemical products to eliminate insects because their prolonged existence in your lawn will surely kill the grass.

Fungal diseases 

It is common for turfgrasses such as St augustine to get attacked by diseases, and it is also common for the grass to appear dead once they have hit. Different species can be triggered at different times, but most of them like to attack during peak growing seasons (late spring and early summer), and you need to look out for all of them.

If you are too late to notice their symptoms, they damage your grass severely, leading to slow growth and eventually killing it. If you eliminate them before they get out of hand, the grass won’t die, and you won’t need to grow it back.

Some of the most common diseases in st augustine grass are brown patch disease, fairy ring disease, grey leaf spot, and take-all root rot. These are all fungal diseases that are mostly attracted by poor lawn conditions and bad health.

The brown patch causes brown spots and dead patches to appear on your lawn; meanwhile, the gray leaf spot leads to tan oval-shaped spots on the leaf blades. Fairy ring disease is a fungus that grows outward, and take-all root rot damages the stolons of the grass. No matter the type of disease, they eventually slow the growth, kill the grass, and result in dead spots on your lawn.

If you want to reduce the risk of diseases, then pre-emergent herbicides/ post-emergent herbicides should be applied, and proper lawn care should be ensured.

How To Get St Augustine Grass To Grow Back Summary

The importance of time is the first thing you need to remember about reviving St augustine grass. Even though it is completely possible to get st augustine grass to grow back, you can’t do it after neglecting the brown dead spots for up to 4 weeks. Simply put, you can revive a St. augustine grass lawn if the roots aren’t dead from within.

This article discussed how to get st augustine grass to grow back. As mentioned above, there are several reasons why grass may stop growing. If you look into them and stop their occurrence, you can prevent your lawn from dying in the first place. However, suppose your grass is already dead or showing symptoms of stress/ lifelessness. In that case, you should go ahead and grow it by watering it properly, taking care of its maintenance needs, dethatching regularly, and planting it again.

Make sure to examine whether your grass is alive before laying new sod or tearing the old one out. Sometimes, the grass blades appear dead, but the roots are intact, so you can encourage its growth and enjoy a healthy lawn without planting the whole st augustine turf again. 

Did you find this article helpful? Share it with your friends and help them enjoy a healthy St. augustine lawn.

Leave a Comment