Sod Sales & Sod Installation in Charleston SC
Sod Sales & Sod Installation in Charleston SC

Palmetto St. Augustine

Palmetto St. Augustine, a sod discovered and developed on a sod farm in central Florida, thrives across the southern United States, from Florida northward to coastal Virginia and westward to California, under a wide range of climatic and soil conditions, making it an ideal choice for residential and commercial use.

Palmetto has an outstanding emerald green color that is truly eye catching. It performs well in full sun yet thrives in shaded areas where other sod fail. Palmetto St. Augustine requires 3-4 hours of direct sunlight per day. It is cold hardy to near 0° F, classifying it as one of the most cold hardy St. Augustine varieties available.

It is also frost tolerant and 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. Palmetto St. Augustine also has a massive root system, making it drought tolerant once established.

Sod Sales & Sod Installation in Charleston SC

Palmetto St. Augustine recovers quickly from damage by wear or minor scalping as it sends out runners to repair open areas. Palmetto has proven itself a superior St. Augustine for over nine years, and is now the largest volume warm season proprietary sod sold in the United States.

Palmetto has become the St. Augustine of preference in many areas of the country, described by many landscapers as the best overall St. Augustine. Palmetto, like all other St. Augustines, has routine installation and maintenance needs that must be properly addressed. The following information is not limited to Palmetto, but is applicable to most sod in the St. Augustine family.


Genetic purity and preservation of the Palmetto St. Augustine variety is of primary importance to Sod Busters. Only turfgrass producers licensed by Sod Busters are authorized to grow Palmetto for sale. All licensed Palmetto production is monitored by Sod Busters through ongoing quality control and quality assurance programs. Sod Busters has developed the most comprehensive St. Augustine quality control system in the country.

To ensure optimum quality and performance of Palmetto, users must implement proper care and maintenance. This care and maintenance has been formalized below in the Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Palmetto 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. Through consistent application of the BMPs and on-going evaluation, education, and modification of these practices, however, users will greatly enhance the quality and performance of Palmetto St. Augustine. The described maintenance information also applies to many semi-dwarf St. Augustine grasses. It is recommended that users identify the specific variety of St. Augustine being used, and that information be gathered pertaining to BMPs for that cultivar.

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 Palmetto St. Augustine. Harvesting and transplantation are extremely stressful to turfgrass and precautionary measures should be taken to help reduce further cultural and environmental stresses. Palmetto 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. 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.

Proper watering upon installation is essential to successful establishment:

  • Prior to installation, ensure irrigation systems are working properly and cover all areas to be planted
  • Water thoroughly upon installation, ensuring that both the Palmetto is wet and the soil is moist to a depth of 3″. Wetting the soil to approximately 1″ prior to installation is suggested
  • In hot weather, water within a few hours of installation to mitigate severe damage or loss due to heat/dehydration stress
  • To promote root establishment, water as needed to keep the new turf from dehydrating
  • 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 waterings are not recommended
  • During winter and cooler months keep turf hydrated, not continually saturated
  • When proper rooting is evident, alter irrigation program accordingly (see Post Establishment Irrigation, below)

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, below, for more information

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

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

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
  • Recommended fertilizers include Bethel Farms SOD GRO™ products (visit to locate a source). SOD GRO™ SOD STARTER Enhanced with MicroNutrients is specifically designed to help newly installed turf become established more quickly, thus reducing shock
  • The use of a high Nitrogen fertilizer on a new lawn can cause permanent damage

Post Establishment

Mowing is a critical and often underappreciated cultural practice:

  • Maintain Palmetto at 2-2 1/2″
  • Mow every 7-10 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 Palmetto, bag or vacuum clippings to reduce shade-out
  • 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 Permethrin-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

Proper mowing, irrigation and fertilization of Palmetto 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 Palmetto.
  • Make routine observations of the landscape being aware of seasonal weeds
  • Identify the type of weed causing the problem before using any chemical controls

Although Palmetto 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
  • Ask your Palmetto grower to apply fungicide 1-2 weeks prior to harvest during times of high, disease-inducing stress

Once established, Palmetto 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 Palmetto
  • 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

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

  • Perform a soil test to understand your soil type(s) and condition and best determine your specific fertility needs
  • Generally Palmetto requires 3-fertilizer applications/year: spring, 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 Palmetto
  • Apply balanced, slow-release fertilizers with lower rates of Nitrogen in the summer and fall
  • Recommended fertilizers include Bethel Farms SOD GRO™ products (visit to locate a source)


Uses: Home, Commercial
Color: Dark Green
Blade Width: 8-9 mm
Fall Color Retention: Excellent
Spring Greenup: Excellent
Soils: Sand, Sandy Loam, Clay, Muck
Growth: Rapid Horizontal Growth from Stolons
Wear: Fair
Injury Recovery: Excellent
Insects: Selective Resistance

Diseases: Selective Resistence
Heat: Excellent
Cold: Very Good (7b-11)
Shade: Very Good
Drought: Good
Salt: Excellent
Mower: Standard Rotary
Height: 1.5-2.5″
Weed Control: Good


  • Contrary to popular belief, although St. Augustine is shade tolerant, it will not grow in a fully shaded area. It requires at least 3 to 4 hours per day to maintain a lush appearance.
  • Always apply a fungicide as a preventative during the growing season (May through October) to prevent disease.
  • Always water St. Augustine in the morning, not the evening, as to allow the moisture to evaporate and therefore prevent disease.