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Lawns/Grass on Gulf coast Florida panhandle

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Question
Mr. Persuad,
I live on the beach near Indian Pass ( 2 nd tier), about 12 miles south of Port St Joe FL.  Our lawn was established 10 years ago and we purchased the home 5 years ago.  The grass (I think St Augustine, but could be centipede) has been deteriorating the past couple of years and the sleet and ice we experienced in January I believe may have delivered the knock- out punch.

We have far more weeds than grass and more than SEVERAL different weed varieties.

I  have very little hope that this grass will recover after treating weeds and I believe I'm in for a lawn do-over....I just don't know how extensive

My questions are:
1.  Could I purchase 3x3 plugs of a weed- dominant grass and expect (hope?) that it might thrive and eventually squelch the weeds?

2.  Or should I cut to the chase and Round-up the entire lawn and go with sod?

3.  I have been looking at the st Augustine Floritam and Captiva and Zoysia El Toro varieties...can you tell me which would be the best for my conditions (or suggest another)

Thank you for your help.
Rebecca

Answer
Roundup® and re-sodding is certainly the most foolproof way to go.
If you are prepared to do some work; and you have a fair amount of patience, plugging is a less expensive option.
Mow the area as closely as your lawn mower will permit. This is the only circumstance when it is permissible to scalp the lawn.
Rent a plugger that matches the size of grass plugs.
Start the first row as accurately as you can along the side walk or driveway. Space the plugs one foot apart and 6 inches from the straight edge.
The succeeding rows are spaced one foot apart and the plugs, one foot within each row; BUT stagger the start of every second row so that a checkerboard pattern will develop.
Put one teaspoonful of Milorganite® into each planting hole before plugging. Rake over the displaced earth to level out things.
I recommend St. Augustine 'Floratam', mainly because there is so much more information available about it and problems which you might encounter.  

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Ronald B Persaud

Expertise

Florida (Central and South) lawns maintenance and troubleshooting.

Experience

Work experience in Garden and Technical Sales (Ace Hardware and Lesco). L&O Spray Technican/Horticulturist/Tree permitting (Local Municipality). Commercial Landscape Maintenance (Condo complex and Shopping Mall)

Organizations
Past member Florida Landscape Maintenance Association (Pinellas County).

Publications
On the 'Gardenweb' under the pseudonym "Ronalawn82"

Education/Credentials
CPO certified (L&O) Florida. Hons. Graduate: Eastern Caribbean Farm Institute (now Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry), Trinidad WI.

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