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.

Fall St. Augustine Care

Fall St. Augustine Care

The blazing heat of summer has started to diminish…football’s back…and fall is in the air. It also means its time to get your St. Augustine grass ready for the winter season. The work you do now will pay dividends when your grass comes out of dormancy next spring.

Probably the single most important thing you do in the fall is to fertilize. Climates and soils are going to be different depending on where you are located so its always good to check with a local expert…but generically, we recommend a fertilizer with a 1-0-2 ratio…one part nitrogen, 0 parts phosphorus and 2 parts potassium.

The next three steps are kind of up to you. If you have had issues with fungus, insects or weeds you will want to take action. If not, you can forgo these steps.

The first is fungus issues. Two of the most common fungus problems that st. augustines face are grey leaf spot and large patch. Large patch appears as somewhat circular patterns of brown or dead grass while grey leaf spot shows up as grey lesions on the grass blade, which look like acid burns.
If you have had issues with grey leaf spot or large patch or any another fungus, you may want to put down a preventative fungicide to keep it from returning. If you have not had a fungus problem, you can pass on this step.

It’s always a good idea to treat for insects. They are only the size of the tip of a pen but Chinch bugs are a bigtime prime problem for St. Augustine grasses. …and they aren’t the only bugs that will chow down on your lawn. If you have had a problem with insects in the past or just want to be proactive, put down a broad-spectrum insecticide for prevention. If insects haven’t been a problem for you and you don’t suspect you currently have bug issues, you can hold off on a fall application.

As for weeds, its kind of up to you how you want to take them on. Summer weeds will start dying off with cooler temperatures and winter weeds will start springing up. If winter weeds are usually not an issue for you, don’t worry about it. However, if they are a yearly nuisance, treat with a pre-emergent herbicide now to stop them from appearing this fall and winter.

Remember with all lawn products be it fertilizer, insecticide or herbicide…read the label and follow the proper instructions.

Two final quick points on fall and winter mowing and watering…
First when it comes to mowing in the cooler months, leave your st. Augustine grass a little higher than normal to encourage deeper root growth for the winter. Basically adjust your mower settings to go up one notch.

For watering, as temperatures drop, grasses won’t need as much irrigation….so adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Too much watering can lead to fungus and disease outbreaks.

Follow these steps and get your grass set for the colder months and you will have a healthy lawn when grass comes out of its hibernation next spring.

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