Identifying Floratam: A Guide To St. Augustine Grass

Looking to identify Floratam St. Augustine grass? You’ve come to the right place! This popular grass variety is known for its lush, vibrant appearance and resilience to heat and drought. Whether you’re a homeowner or a lawn care professional, being able to recognize Floratam St. Augustine grass is essential for maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn. In this article, we’ll walk you through the key characteristics and features that distinguish Floratam St. Augustine grass from other varieties, so you can confidently identify it in your own yard or when scouting for new turf options. Let’s dive in!

Identifying Floratam: A Guide to St. Augustine Grass

How to Identify Floratam St. Augustine Grass

Floratam St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for lawns in warm and humid regions due to its excellent heat tolerance and bright green color. If you’re wondering whether you have Floratam St. Augustine grass in your lawn or want to distinguish it from other grass varieties, this comprehensive guide will help you identify its unique characteristics.

Understanding Floratam St. Augustine Grass

Floratam St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Floratam’) is a hardy warm-season grass variety that thrives in tropical and subtropical regions. Developed by the University of Florida, it was specifically bred to resist certain pests and diseases and tolerate high temperatures.

Here are some key features to look for when identifying Floratam St. Augustine grass:

Leaf Blade Appearance

The leaf blades of Floratam St. Augustine grass are broad, flat, and medium to dark green in color. They have a unique boat-shaped tip, which sets them apart from other grass types. The texture is somewhat coarse, with slightly raised veins running along the surface.

Growth Habit

Floratam St. Augustine grass has a dense and spreading growth habit. Its blades grow in an upward direction, creating a lush turf that is dense enough to resist weed invasion. The plant forms runners or stolons, which are above-ground stems that root at the nodes, helping it spread quickly.


When properly maintained, Floratam St. Augustine grass can reach a height of about 3 to 4 inches. Regular mowing is essential to keep the grass at an optimal height and promote healthy growth.

Comparison with Other St. Augustine Grass Varieties

While Floratam St. Augustine grass shares some similarities with other St. Augustine grass varieties, it has distinct characteristics that differentiate it from them. Here’s a comparison of Floratam with two commonly found St. Augustine grass types:

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Floratam vs. Palmetto St. Augustine Grass

– Leaf Blade Appearance: Floratam has broader and longer leaves compared to Palmetto St. Augustine grass.
– Texture: Floratam has a coarser texture, while Palmetto grass has a softer and finer texture.
– Shade Tolerance: Floratam has a lower shade tolerance than Palmetto grass. It requires at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily to thrive.
– Cold Tolerance: Floratam grass has slightly better cold tolerance than Palmetto, making it suitable for regions with occasional light frost.

Floratam vs. Bitterblue St. Augustine Grass

– Leaf Blade Appearance: Floratam has wider leaf blades compared to Bitterblue St. Augustine grass.
– Coloration: Floratam has a vibrant dark green color, while Bitterblue tends to have a bluish tint.
– Drought Tolerance: Floratam has better drought tolerance than Bitterblue grass and can withstand dry spells better.
– Disease Resistance: Floratam has more resistance to certain diseases, such as brown patch, than Bitterblue grass.

Identifying Floratam St. Augustine Grass with Other Indicators

Apart from the physical characteristics, there are a few other ways to confirm if you have Floratam St. Augustine grass in your lawn:

Origin and Labeling

Check with your local nursery or gardening store to ensure that the grass you have or intend to purchase is Floratam St. Augustine grass. Look for proper labeling on the packaging or ask the supplier about the origin and type of grass.

Local Recommendations

Consult with local experts or extension offices to find out which grass varieties are suitable for your region. They can provide guidance on the best choices for your specific climate and soil conditions.

Soil Adaptation

Floratam St. Augustine grass thrives in well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.0 to 8.5. If you notice that your grass is performing exceptionally well under these conditions, it’s likely to be Floratam.

Pest and Disease Resistance

Floratam St. Augustine grass has natural resistance to certain pests and diseases, such as chinch bugs and brown patch. If you observe your grass being less affected by these common issues, it could be a strong indication of Floratam grass.

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Caring for Floratam St. Augustine Grass

Once correctly identified, Floratam St. Augustine grass requires proper care to maintain its health and beauty. Here are some essential tips for its maintenance:


Water the grass deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering sessions. This promotes deeper root growth and helps the grass better tolerate drought conditions. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall.


Regular mowing is crucial to maintain an optimal height and density. Set your mower at a height of 3 to 4 inches and avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing session.


Floratam St. Augustine grass benefits from regular fertilization. Apply a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizer according to the specific recommendations of your local extension office. Avoid over-fertilization, as it may lead to thatch buildup or nutrient runoff.

Weed Control

Maintaining a dense turf through proper watering and mowing practices helps minimize weed invasion. If necessary, use appropriate herbicides or weed control methods recommended for St. Augustine grass. Always follow the instructions and safety guidelines provided by the product manufacturer.

Annual Maintenance

Consider dethatching and aerating your lawn annually to keep it healthy and facilitate nutrient absorption. Conduct a soil test every few years to assess the nutrient levels and pH balance, enabling you to adjust your fertilization program accordingly.

By understanding the distinct characteristics and features of Floratam St. Augustine grass, you can confidently identify it in your lawn. Remember to follow the recommended maintenance practices to ensure its health and longevity. Enjoy the vibrant green carpet of Floratam in your backyard and relish its beauty throughout the year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the characteristics of Floratam St. Augustine grass?

Floratam St. Augustine grass is known for its specific characteristics that differentiate it from other varieties. It has a dark green color, coarse texture, and a thick growth pattern. The grass leaves are wide, with a rounded tip, and its blades tend to grow upright. Floratam is also highly resistant to chinch bugs, which are a common pest for St. Augustine grass in Florida.

How can I identify Floratam St. Augustine grass in my lawn?

To identify Floratam St. Augustine grass in your lawn, you can observe its distinct characteristics. Look for the dark green color, coarse texture, and the thick growth pattern. The grass leaves will be wider compared to other grasses, with rounded tips. Additionally, the blades of Floratam St. Augustine grass tend to grow upright, giving it a unique appearance.

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Are there any specific maintenance requirements for Floratam St. Augustine grass?

Yes, Floratam St. Augustine grass has specific maintenance requirements to ensure its health and vitality. It requires regular mowing at a height of 3.5 to 4 inches, which helps promote a strong root system. It is also important to provide sufficient water, aiming for a consistent application of 1 inch of water per week. Additionally, periodic fertilization and weed control are necessary to keep the grass healthy.

Can Floratam St. Augustine grass thrive in all climates?

While Floratam St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for lawns in Florida and other warm climates, it may not thrive in all regions. It is best suited for areas with a subtropical or tropical climate, as it requires full sun exposure and is sensitive to colder temperatures. If you live in a cooler climate, it is advisable to choose a different grass variety that is more suitable for your region.

Is Floratam St. Augustine grass suitable for high-traffic areas?

Yes, Floratam St. Augustine grass can tolerate moderate to heavy foot traffic, making it suitable for lawns with high-traffic areas. However, it is important to provide proper maintenance, such as regular mowing and adequate irrigation, to ensure the grass remains healthy and recovers from any wear and tear caused by foot traffic.

Final Thoughts

Floratam St. Augustine grass can be identified by its unique characteristics. Its wide-bladed leaves, dark green color, and ability to thrive in warm climates are key indicators. Additionally, Floratam grass has a coarse texture and a dense growth pattern, making it resilient against pests and weeds. By understanding these distinguishing features, you can easily identify Floratam St. Augustine grass in your lawn or garden. So next time you want to recognize Floratam St. Augustine grass, simply look for its wide blades, dark green color, and coarse texture.