Captiva St. Augustine Maintenance


Captiva St. Augustine was developed by Dr. Russell Nagata of the University of Florida. Captiva is resistant to a number of insects, including all chinch bugs found in the state of Florida and the Tropical Sod Webworm. Captiva St. Augustine thrives under a wide range of climatic and soil conditions in USDA Zones 8b to 11, which stretches from Florida northward to the Coastal Carolinas and westward along the Gulf Coast Region into Central Texas and continues into southwestern Arizona and coastal and central California. Captiva is an ideal choice for residential and commercial use. It has an outstanding dark green color. Captiva also has a slow leaf growth habit which dramatically cuts down the need for mowing. It requires 3-4 hours of direct sunlight per day. It holds fall and winter color longer than Bermuda, Centipede, or other St. Augustine cultivars. It will remain evergreen in some areas of the deep South. Captiva St. Augustine also has a massive root system, making it drought tolerant once established. Captiva St. Augustine recovers quickly from damage by wear or minor scalping as it sends out runners to repair open areas.

Click to Download the Homeowner’s Guide

Installation and Establishment

Installation and the care taken during the initial days that follow are the most critical factors in determining the long-term quality and performance of any turfgrass, including Captiva St. Augustine. Harvesting and transplantation are extremely stressful to turfgrass and precautionary measures should be taken to help reduce further cultural and environmental stresses. Captiva is a tough, hardy turfgrass that, once established, produces a beautiful lifetime lawn and landscape. Proper care, including pre-installation soil preparation and limiting time on the pallet to less than 24 hours, yields positive results (see Installation). Improper care, especially during the initial 24-hour period after harvest, can cause death of the turfgrass or damage that results in lengthy recovery and additional expense. This potential damage is magnified during hot, humid months. An installation procedure that is acceptable during cool weather may cause extensive damage during hot weather for any St. Augustine grass.

Newly Installed Captiva

Watering: Proper watering upon installation is essential to successful esablishment

  • Prior to installation, ensure irrigation systems are working properly and cover all areas to be planted
  • Water thoroughly upon installation, ensuring that both the Captiva is wet and the soil is moist to a depth of 3”, which is approximately 1” of water per day
  • In hot weather, water within a few hours of installation to mitigate severe damage or loss due to heat/dehydration stress
  • Shaded areas and heavy soils require less water than full-sun areas and sandy soils
  • Remember to avoid overwatering to the point of puddling or runoff
  • Watering is most effective when done in the early morning hours. Nighttime watering is not recommended
  • During winter and cooler months keep turf hydrated, not continually saturated
  • When proper rooting is evident, alter irrigation program accordingly. See the post establishment watering section for guidance.

Mowing: New installations are often uneven, and care should be taken not to scalp high areas. A common mistake is not to mow a newly installed lawn, which slows establishment and encourages the turf to become “leggy.”

  • Mow within 7-10 days of installation and bag clippings for the first few mowings. Mowing and bagging encourages root growth, removes debris from installation and encourages new top growth
  • See Post Establishment Mowing for more information

Insecticides: Newly installed turfgrass can be susceptible to insect damage, especially armyworms and webworms. New grass is more vulnerable than established turf due to the temporary loss of a deep root structure. Armyworms and webworms prefer new grass compared to established turf due to the “tenderness” of new growth.

  • For any insecticide application, always read and follow label directions carefully
  • Apply a broad-spectrum preventative insecticide to protect the turfgrass through the establishment particularly during the active cycle of the insects

Fungicides: During stressful times of the year, i.e. extremely wet and/or hot periods, a preventative fungicide should be applied at the time of installation.

  • For any fungicide application, always read and follow label directions carefully
  • Longer-residual products such as Heritage and Compass are preferred; however, a number of other products can be used during the establishment period, such as Subdue MAXX, Banner MAXX and ProStar

Fertility: Use a transplant-friendly regimen that will help reduce shock and minimize disease

  • Use a starter fertilizer that is low in Nitrogen and higher in Phosphorus and Potassium. Incorporate at 3” if possible.
  • Recommended fertilizers include balanced, time release products, such as 10-10-10.
  • While higher N products may cause faster greenup in some situations, use with care: the use of a high Nitrogen fertilizer on a new lawn can cause permanent damage

Post Establishment Maintenance

Mowing: Mowing is a critical and often underappreciated cultural practice:

  • Maintain Captiva at 2″-2 1/2″
  • Mow every 14 days during the active growing season
  • Mow as needed during all other periods
  • Never cut more than 1/3 of the total length of the blade at any one mowing
  • If a mowing is missed and clippings clump on top of the Captiva, bag or vacuum clippings to reduce shade-out

Insecticides: Avoid stress from insects by performing insecticidal applications as needed:

  • For any insecticide application, always read and follow label directions carefully
  • Early identification and treatment of insect stress minimizes inputs and injury
  • Make routine observations of the landscape, and be aware of seasonal pests like chinch bugs, webworms, armyworms, and grubs
  • Control armyworms and webworms with Sevin, Orthene, Diazinon, or Pyrethroid-based products
  • Control chinch bugs with Talstar
  • Control grubs with Bayer Advanced Lawn® Season-Long Grub Control Ready-to-Spread Granules annually in the late spring
  • Remember: Read labels for compliance

Herbicides: Proper mowing, irrigation and fertilization of Captiva will reduce weed problems. If a weed problem persists:

  • For any herbicide application, always read and follow directions carefully
  • Improper use of herbicides can severely damage or kill Captiva
  • Make routine observations of the landscape being aware of seasonal weeds
  • Identify the type of weed causing the problem before using any chemical controls
  • Consult with local experts for herbicide applications if you are unsure about a label or product

Fungicides: Although Captiva exhibits good disease resistance, fungal problems can occur during prolonged periods of adverse environmental conditions.

  • For any fungicide application, always read and follow label directions carefully
  • Early identification and treatment of disease stress minimizes inputs and injury
  • Make routine observations of the landscape being aware of unusual symptoms
  • Consider a broad-spectrum fungicide application if predictable seasonal problems are noted
  • Consult with local experts for fungicide recommendations if you are unsure about a product

Irrigation: Once established, Captiva requires water on an as-needed basis. Overwatering encourages excessive growth, disease, root rot, and poor aeration of soils. Most lawns are overwatered, not underwatered, which wastes resources, creates a shallow rooted “water dependent lawn,” and potentially damages the turf.

  • Watering requirements are greatly dependent on soil type, season, geography and other factors
  • Ensure irrigation systems are working properly and covering all areas covered by Captiva
  • Make routine observations of the landscape and learn the signs (i.e. wilting) that indicate when irrigation is required
  • Shaded areas and heavy soils require less water than full-sun areas and sandy soils
  • Encourage deep root growth by watering until the soil is moist to a depth of 3″; shallow watering encourages shallow roots
  • Infrequent deep watering maximizes drought resistance and tolerance
  • During drought conditions, irrigation needs are generally 1″ of water per week
  • See our Watering Tips for more information on proper irrigation

Fertility: Proper fertility practices will encourage healthy, disease and insect free Captiva:

  • Perform a soil test to understand your soil type(s) and condition and best determine your specific fertility needs
  • Generally Captiva requires 3-4 fertilizer applications/year: spring (one early, one late), summer and fall
  • Make routine observations and fertilize according to what the landscape indicates
  • Understand what and how much fertilizer you are applying
  • Avoid disease and insect inducing growth flushes by reducing nitrogen rates
  • Improve color and limit growth surges, especially in summer, by utilizing iron sources
  • Higher nitrogen rates should only be applied in the spring, for injury recovery, or for planned “peaking” of Captiva
  • Apply balanced, slow-release fertilizers with lower rates of nitrogen in the summer and fall

Captiva BMP PDF Download

Read detailed description of BMPs

To ensure optimum quality and performance of Captiva, users must implement proper care and maintenance. This care and maintenance has been formalized above in the Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Captiva St. Augustine. These BMPs are written as a guide and should be modified as local climate, soil, and environmental conditions dictate. It is important to note that no “magic fertilizer” or “super chemical” will solve all problems or make any turfgrass perfect.

Summer St. Augustine Care

Summer St. Augustine Care

Summer is in the air!  Time to get your St. Augustine lawn in shape for the warm summer months.

Follow These Steps

Its summertime…time to really enjoy your St. Augustine lawn. Hopefully your lawn is in great shape because you have done the prep work in the fall and spring and now is the time you get to relax a little bit.


In the summer, there are really three main things you need to do to keep the lawn looking great. Those three things involve fertilization, irrigation and mowing.


If you fertilized your St. Augustine grass in the spring, you won’t need another application until late summer or early fall…probably a September or October time frame. If you didn’t fertilize in the spring, now would be the time to put down an application. Use a fertilizer with a 1 to 1 ratio of nitrogen to potassium….like a 15-0-15….the first number is nitrogen and the last is potassium. The middle number is phosphorus. In many cases, that middle number can be a zero.


But we want to stress that these are broad based, generic numbers that will work for St. Augustine grass from coast to coast. Many different climates and soils fall in that wide geographic range. A lawn professional in your area may have a better recommendation for your area.


People tend to let the water flow during the summer months because they believe the grass is thirsty because its hot outside. While that will sometimes be the case, don’t overwater. Too much water can lead to an outbreak of fungus in your lawn. As a general rule of thumb, St. Augustines need about one inch of water per week either from rainfall or irrigation. Water for longer periods of time and less frequently….usually once or twice per week.


If you aren’t overwatering but have had a ton of rainfall…watch out for grey leaf spot. This disease dripped acid on the leaves of the plant. Get a hold of it quickly by applying systemic fungicides.


Summer is the time when the grass is going to grow faster than any other time if year. But when mowing, make sure that you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade of the grass each time. Removing more than a third of the blade can stress the grass and damage the roots to an extent that the grass will turn brown and could actually die. If you miss some mowings because of vacation or heavy rains, you may have to mow multiple time to get the grass back down to normal height. Its best to wait about 3 to 5 days after the first mowing before you cut again.


As far as weeds go, if you put down pre-emergent in the spring, they shouldn’t be a problem. If not, you can put down post-emergent herbicides to get rid of them.


As for insects, only one St. Augustine variety I know of at the moment has resistance to chinch bugs. That is Captiva St. Augustine.


If you don’t have that, watch out for them. They can severely damage a St. Augustine lawn. Three-fourths of all chinch bug infestations occur summer through early fall. Chinch bugs are small…but if you get down on your hands and knees, you can see them. If you are trying to diagnose an area of your lawn not doing well, that should be the first thing you look for signs of. If you get chinch bugs, put down any product that contains bifenthrin or car-buh-reel (carbaryl) to get rid of them. As with any lawn products…always read the label and follow proper instructions.

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