Mow Less with CitraBlue St. Augustine
One of the interesting traits of CitraBlueTM St. Augustine is a reduced mowing frequency, especially when compared with that of Florida’s most common grass, Floratam St. Augustine. Trials and tests are currently being run at the University of Florida’s Plant Science and Research Station in Citra, Florida.
As referenced in a previous Turf Talk article on CitraBlue’s Weed Resistance, in comparison to other St. Augustines, CitraBlue has a very unique, thicker lateral growth that most other St. Augustine grasses in the industry don’t feature. This thicker lateral growth characteristic keeps it from needing to be mowed nearly as much in comparison to Floratam since it tends to grow more laterally instead of increasing in height. It can also be grown with a lot less fertilizer, which is great for the homeowner and the environment. As far as just how high it should be maintained, breeder Dr. Kevin Kenworthy says optimally anywhere from 2.5–3.5 inches in height.
“We are looking at CitraBlue under a couple of different mowing heights and it is performing well compared to Floratam and can be mowed at a shorter height,” said Dr. Kenworthy. “But it will also do well at the mowing heights that you would typically mow for Floratam. Also, the leaf elongation rate of CitraBlue is significantly slower compared to Floratam. One or two mowings can easily be skipped with no concern of scalping CitraBlue.”
To illustrate his point, Dr. Kenworthy sent these photos after returning from a week away from home. He has both Floratam and CitraBlue in his yard for comparison and is standing on the split. On the right side of the photo is CitraBlue and on the left is Floratam. The difference is considerable.
CitraBlue™ ‘FSA1602’ St. Augustine grass was developed by the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program under a sponsored Research Service Agreement with the Turfgrass Producers of Florida, Inc. (TPF). CitraBlue St. Augustine is exclusively licensed to TPF by Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc., a direct support organization of the University of Florida. CitraBlue is marketed by Sod Solutions, Inc. and is now available throughout Florida.