While St. Augustine grass is soft and plush, it has long been known to be an extremely thirsty grass. Now a new strain, DALSA 0605, has been developed that gives hope to those in drought-stricken areas that love St. Augustine's positive qualities.
About DALSA 0605
The DALSA 0605 strain was developed by researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas. After nearly a decade of work, the strain was developed by crossing the Raleigh and Floratam strains of St. Augustine. Floratam gives the new strain its drought resistance while Raleigh provides better cold tolerance. In trials, the grass turned brown and dormant after eight weeks of drought, but as soon as it started to rain, it came back even stronger. It also withstood being covered by sheets of ice over the winter.
Deep Roots and Shade Tolerance
According to researchers, the secret to DALSA 0605's drought tolerance is it's ability to make deep roots. Most St. Augustine grasses, such as the popular Floratam, have shallow roots that require frequent irrigation to prevent it from drying out. This new strain also shows improved shade tolerance. The most popular shade-tolerant varieties, Bitter Blue, Seville, Palmetto and Sapphire, are all known to be water hogs.
Planting St. Augustine Grass
While some St. Augustine strains can be grown from seed, it is more easily established with plugs planted in early spring. Two-inch plugs are planted one foot apart and kept moist for several weeks until it begins to spread. If you want an instant lawn, it can also be laid as sod. Once it is established, it can tolerate less frequent watering.
Benefits of Drought Resistant St. Augustine Grass
With drought conditions becoming more prominent in the news, the most obvious benefit of drought-resistant St. Augustine grass seed, such as DALSA 0605, is water conservation. The ability for this new strain to rebound from dormancy quickly is a great money-saving advantage, since other less drought-resistant strains may die during long dry spells, requiring lawn replacement. With water restrictions becoming more and more stringent in states like California and Texas, a drought-resistant grass will have a better chance of survival with infrequent watering.
Joining other popular drought resistant grasses such as Zoysia and Buffalo Grass, DALSA 0605 St. Augustine provides a viable alternative for a softer, more plush lawn. Once established, it provides excellent drought tolerance and rebound qualities that not only save water but the cost of replacing a scorched and dead lawn. Contact your local turf specialist today to get more information about whether this new strain of drought-tolerant St. Augustine grass is right for you.