Centipedegrass is a slow-growing, coarse-textured, warm-season turf that is adapted for use in low maintenance situations. It is often referred to as "lazy man's grass" due to its infrequent mowing and fertilization requirements. It also has a light-green color and spreads by stolons. It does not tolerate traffic, compaction, high pH, excessive thatch, drought, or heavy shade. Centipedegrass can often be confused with St. Augustinegrass. However, centipedegrass has alternating leaves at the nodes whereas St. Augustinegrass has opposite leaves at the nodes. Centipedegrass also has a more pointed, slenderer leaf blade than St. Augustinegrass. Both leaf blades are V-shaped in cross section, but that of St. Augustinegrass has a more obviously boat-shaped tip.
DO NOT apply nitrogen at this time. Yellow appearance may be an indication of iron deficiency. Spray iron (ferrous) sulfate (2 ounces in water per 1,000 sq. ft.) or a chelated iron source to enhance color as needed. Follow label directions.
Check for white grubs and control if necessary.
Water to prevent drought stress. About 1 inch of water per application each week is needed for growing centipedegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering; i.e., ½ inch of water every third day. Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce pest and nonpest problems from occurring later in the summer.
Mow lawn at 1 inch at time of initial greenup. Mow before grass gets above 1 ½ inches tall. Do not burn off centipedegrass to remove excessive debris because of possible injury to the lawn and potential fire hazard.
Replant large bare areas in May using seed (¼ to ½ pound per 1,000 sq. ft.) or sprigs (¾ bushel per 1,000 sq. ft.). Mixing seed with 2 gallons of fine sand per 1,000 sq. ft. will aid in distribution. Germination is expected in 28 days but establishment is slow. Keep seedbed continually moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times a day to ensure good germination. Three years for complete establishment of a new lawn is not uncommon.
Power rake (vertical mow) to remove thatch (layer of undecayed grass) in late May if necessary. A 2- or 3-inch blade spacing set ¼-inch deep in one direction works best. Do not use a power rake with a 1-inch blade spacing as severe turf injury may result.
Apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass, and foxtail. Apply by the time that dogwoods are in full bloom. Apply postemergence herbicides in May as needed for control of summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, etc. Do not apply until 3 weeks after greenup. Centipedegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g. 2,4-D), so follow label directions and use with caution.
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seedhead a slender spike
leaves folded in the bud
short, membranous with fine hairs, hairs longer than purplish membrane, 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) long
warm season turf
boat shaped or sharp-pointed; flattened, short, sharply creased, hairs along edge at base
medium, 0.1 - 0.2 in
continuous; constricted by fused crease, hairs tufted at lower edge
split with overlapping margins; sheath has grayish tufts of hairs at throat
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