Homeowners who live in Southern and Central California live in a difficult region for grass to grow. The temperature is hot during the day and cools off at night. They also have periodical droughts that can affect a lawn. The St. Augustine variety of grass is a popular choice for residents to use on their lawns in this area because of its ability to grow in several conditions.
St. Augustine grass was originally a tropical grass that was native to sandy beaches, swamps, and lagoons before being moved inland by man. It can grow from the Carolina to Florida in the east to the Gulf Coast of Texas and Southern and Central California in the west. The growth of the grass is limited by winter time temperatures.
The blades of the St. Augustine grass are coarse and will survive when being cut down to three-quarter inch thick. However, the grass is typically grown to three or four inches of thickness where the blades of grass are at their fullest. This type of grass does not produce seeds, so it is planted as sod.
Bermuda grass is the closest relative to St. Augustine based on where it can grow. The St. Augustine can survive the cold and shade better than the Bermuda grass. Another advantage of the St. Augustine is that it needs little maintenance and can survive droughts with only minimal irrigation. Because St. Augustine grass was originally grown near beaches, it can thrive in a wide range of pH levels.
St. Augustine grass does not have a lot of predators that target its leaves. The chinch bug is considered its number one pest. The bug pierces trough the grass and sucks out the liquid in the blade. The saliva of the chinch bug is acidic to the grass. The cinch bug can be destroyed using standard incest repellant.
When choosing a drought tolerant grass for a lawn, the St. Augustine species is easy to care for and can thrive in humid, dry regions in Central and Southern California.