What to Expect in the Fall from Your St Augustine Lawn


By Rick Orr 10/22/2021
Large Oak tree growing in the middle of a St Augustine lawn
Summer heat and rains have yielded to the cooler shorter days of fall

Fall Biology

Summer sun, heat, and rains are yielding to cooler mornings, shorter days and less rain. This is a transitional period for your lawn – transitioning from full-throttle metabolism of the summer to restful idling as the turf retools the metabolic engine for the colder winter months.

It is also the time for the final burst of growth of weedy summer annuals. Taking advantage of the slowed growth rate of the St Augustine, the weedy species try to gain a toehold on some real estate in the lawn.

Your Lawn is Not Dying

Expect your lawn to have more brown leaves than green. This causes the "browning effect' of your lawn in the fall. Some people describe it as "dying" or "brown" or "doesn't look as good as it did last month". This is a natural reaction to seeing more brown leaves than green leaves. Soon there will be more green leaves than brown again and the lawn will appear healthy and green.

Fall Fertilization and Insect Control Plan

The primary focus is on strengthening the turf. Summer growth rates have provided for excess in metabolites that need to be stored. Yet the excess sugars and slowed metabolism make the turf a target of insects and disease and recovery from attacks is reduced. My fall plan is to increase potassium – an organic fungicide – maintain micronutrients and nitrogen levels and continue with insect protection until the cooler months.

Weed Control

As the average daytime temperatures drop, weed control can be aggressive without fear of damaging the turf. The plant metabolism slows fall through spring and the impact of herbicides on the turf is reduced. This allows for aggressive applications of herbicides The strategy: Hammer the weeds all winter long so the lawn is as “clean” as possible in the spring.

Watering and Mowing

Normal mowing as high as the mower will go is the best for your lawn in the fall. Do not be tempted to lower the mowing height for any reason – this only damages your lawn when it is less likely to recover from stress.

Continue to water as often as law permits. The determining factor for watering is not the weather but the soil – our sandy soils in Pinellas can only hold enough moisture to sustain your lawn for 72 hours max! Therefore, be sure to give your lawn a drink of water at least every 72 hours.

Turf Tip: Reducing water does not “harden off” the lawn or “force roots deeper”. Reducing water stresses and weakens the turf, eventually destroying your lawn.


Rick Orr Owner-Operator APL Pest Control/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
APL Pest Control

Rick Orr is the creator of Iloveturf.com, Owner/Operator of APL Pest Control, and a graduate of VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology).  

Since 1980, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts, and large communities. Rick worked as a Golf Course Superintendent of Fripp Island Resort, agronomist for Seaside, FL, and the spray tech for Vinoy Golf Course. Rick has been certified as an arborist, landscape and irrigation contractor, and adjunct professor for Environmental Horticulture (SPC) in Pinellas County.  

Home Pest Control came naturally. Entomology (bug science) was part of agronomy studies. Nearly every indoor pest problem starts outdoors. Crossing over to home pest control from lawn spraying was a natural process – the technology, methods, and materials used for home pest control are modifications of the ones used for lawn spraying. 

The result of that work is one of the top-rated pest control companies in Pinellas County – APL Pest Control. APL Pest Control is a family-owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL. 

Free Price Quote for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Care CLICK HERE

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Speaking Engagements - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions, and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association, or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. To contact Rick you can find him on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram for booking information.