St Augustine Runners

St Augustine Runners

PFL – posted 21 October 2003 07:26

My lawn here in Round Rock, TX is St Augustine and is about 3 years old. The first year after the sod was laid the lawn was great. The second year I noticed that there were a few ‘runners’ on top of the grass. They came out real easy when I pulled them. Each year there seems to be more and more of them. The mowere gets some of them but some remain and are somewhat of an eye sore. I cut the grass as high as my mower will allow. What can I do to prevent these runners from coming to the surface?

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 23 October 2003 09:02

The runners are supposed to be there in St Augustine. They’re called stolens and that is how St Augustine spreads. Try sharpening your mower. I’m thinking a dull blade is pulling it up.

PFL – posted 05 November 2003 10:09

My blade has been sharpened and the mower serviced (every year). I know that St Augustine spreads via runners (stolens). I had a beautiful St Augustine grass lawn in Houston. Here in Round Rock in the spring when the grass first starts to grow it is great. However along about July and August these runners grow up and out of the grass and don’t seem to attach to anything and they pull out very easy and look very healthy. Do you think a top dressing of the lawn would help?

rgjack – posted 07 November 2003 12:31

quote:Originally posted by PFL: July and August these runners grow up and out of the grass and don’t seem to attach to anything [/B]

The same thing happens to my St Augustine here in central Florida in areas where I’m letting the grass grow where no grass was before…these areas have a light layer of pine needles. If not kept moist the needles seem to restrain the grass from developing roots and the runners get longer with little or no anchorage. If July/August is your drier time of year consider your watering habits as a possible solution.

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 17 November 2003 09:55

How are you watering and fertilizing?

PFL – posted 22 November 2003 18:31

I water once every 5 days using a sprinkler system with all pop up heads. I water two cycles 10 min each station each sycle. Thes system shuts off if it rains to keep from over watering or wasting water.. I fertilize Fall, spring, and mid to late summer with 15-10-5 ratio. Usually an Ironite application late spring.Here in the Round Rock, TX area it is very rocky under the turf and the builder did not use very good soil before laying the grass.Do you think and top dressing of good top soil would help?

Jims’ Turf – posted 03 December 2003 20:50

PFL, whenever I come across this problem I treat with a heavy application of nitrogen and it stops in about 2-3 weeks with good watering. About 50lbs of 21-0-0 for every 8 to 10 thousand Sq. ft.

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 04 December 2003 11:44

Your watering program is not quite ideal. You might consider watering a lot longer than you are. I would go for 5 minute pulse with a 10 minute wait, followed by an hour of watering. Right now you’re just washing off the dust and dampening the top 1/4 inch. You need to get the water down a foot or two into the ground. During this time of year, once a month watering should be fine. During the hottest part of summer, once a week should do.

I don’t think there is any such thing as good topsoil. Unless the weed seeds have somehow been killed off, topsoil always seems to bring in more problems. My last load had bermuda and nutgrass in it. It sprouted but fortunately my canopy of trees keeps those two from growing.

You might try switching to organic fertilizer and stopping any insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides for a year. I’m thinking your existing topsoil is devoid of the microbes it needs to develop a good root system. Once the soil improves, the stolons should settle down??? That’s my theory. To get the microbes you need, compost is about the only way. The compost application rate is 1 cubic yard per 1,000 square feet. Any more and you risk smothering the grass.

I use ordinary corn meal and alfalfa meal/pellets for my organic fertilizer. The rate is 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. I get 50-pound bags at the feed store for $6.50.

Continue mulch mowing every week of the growing season at the highest setting.

Alex_in_FL (Lex) – posted 24 December 2003 09:57

I agree with Dchall_San_Antonio’s thoughts on watering. You may be forcing the stolens on top by not letting water soak deeply.

If you want to topdress your yard use plain sand. This avoids weeds. Alternatively sterilize the topsoil before you apply it.

You can grow a good lawn in sand if you have a slow release fertilizer and proper watering. Also the clippings will slowly convert the sand to good topsoil if you leave the clippings on the yard.

Good luck.

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