Centipedegrass (Eremochloaophiuroides) is well-known for its extremely low-maintenance requirement and excellent heat tolerance worldwide. It is the favorite of the lawn owners who are interested in little servicing. As compared to the other grasses, centipedegrass needs far less input and attention in its growing zone.
But the crucial thing is the specific soil and climate requirements of centipedegrass that restrict its usage in the United States, mainly in the Southeast. If you live in that land, this low maintenance grass may be the top choice of yours.
Basics of Centipedegrass
Centipedegrass is native to Southeast Asia and China; however, it has been in the United States since 1916. Centipedegrass is a warm-season grass, which means its most fruitful growth period comes during hot weather that is from late spring through the warm summer.
Compared to all the warm-season grasses, centipedegrass is most sensitive to chilly weather, but when cultivated in mild climates, this everlasting grass can resist winters year after year. The use of centipede as lawn grass is mainly limited by soil and climate requirements.
In the acidic, sandy soils of the Southeast, warm winters favor the needs of centipedegrass. In the North of this area, it does not survive due to intensely cold winters. Moreover, American Southwest’s soils are too alkaline for the favorable growth of centipedegrass.
The excellent tolerance to the heat of the centipedegrass does not relate to drought tolerance. Its root system is relatively shallow as compared to the other grasses of the warm season. This means extra watering and vigilance are needed during the period of low rainfall. The recovery of centipede from stress is rapid when the normal conditions return.
Centipede at a Glance
- Sensitive to alkaline soil.
- Heat-tolerant, Warm-season grass.
- Moderate shade tolerance.
- Suitable for Southeast lawns.
- The relatively shallow root system.
- Low nutrients and maintenance requirements.
Despite the manufacturing of several centipedegrass selections, no one was found to be of permanent use in turf. The only available source of common centipedegrass had produced from the seed of early introductions. In 1965, Oklahoma State University released OaklawnCentipedegrass as an enhanced type with superior cold and drought tolerance.
In 1983, Auburn University released AU Centennial Centipedegrass as a semi-dwarf diversity. As compared to other varieties, it has shorter internodes and forms a denser, lower growing sod. Shorter seed heads are also beneficial to boost the appearance of AU Centennial Centipedegrass.
Centipedegrass is well-known in South Carolina and as far west as Texas.
You can establish centipedegrass from sprig, sod, or seed. The success with seeded plantings depends upon the excellent seedbed preparation. The soil must be rototilled or disked, crushed with a rake or rotovator, firmed, and leveled with a roller. The seed must be broadcast by hand or with a seeder.
A one-third pound of the seed must be evenly mixed with a gallon of first-class sand and uniformly apportioned over 1,000 square feet of lawn region to encourage the uniform distribution of seed. The site must be hardened with a roller and watered a bit after planting. The seedbed should not be wet; instead, it must be moist for fourteen to twenty-one days after planting.
Until the soil is not moisture adequately, you should not plant the site. And at the time of planting, apply a good-quality fertilizer at a rate of one pound of nitrogen/1,000 sq. ft. Properly managed seeded plantings will give a perfect cover in about three months.
Moreover, you can plant the centipedegrass sods, plugs, or sprigs in rows by 1-foot spacing or 1 foot apart. For the first two weeks after planting, the sprigs need the same amount of care and attention as seeds. On the other hand, the sod requires less attention; however, you must water it regularly for the first few weeks after plantation. As compared to seeds, sprigs and sod plugs need much more attention.
Centipedegrass is mentioned as The Lazy Man’s Grass because of its low maintenance requirement. Once established, it makes a dense, thick mat that gives a natural weed fence. Compared to other turfs, centipedegrass needs less fertilization as well.
Combined with the decent drought tolerance and slow growth rate of centipedegrass, it is a low-maintenance turf selection. But do not misinterpret it with “maintenance-free.”
Centipede Lawn Care
Like other warm-season grass, program month-by-month tasks for your centipedegrass lawns.Overseeding thin lawns and seeding new yards are ideally done in spring, along with proper conditions and preparation.
To encourage germination and improve spreadability, Pennington Centipedegrass Seed and Mulch is used that includes a natural mulch product and retain moisture. With TifBlair (a variety with cold tolerance), Pennington Centipedegrass Seed and Mulch combines these benefits.
To maintain a recommended grass height (one and a half to two inches), you will need to mow Centipede lawns. Always read labels before applying any lawn product on centipedegrass since it is sensitive to some of the ingredients used in most Weed & Feed products. Search for the products tagged for Southern grasses and lawns like Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed & Feed 34-0-4.
The need for fertilizer reduces as the centipedegrass establishes. Go along with your soil test guidance and feed according to it. Over-fertilization is not favorable for your lawn and grasses as it can lead to related-diseases and several other problems. Water the centipedegrass as per its need to keep it from becoming stressed.
Water thoroughly and deeply to encourage deeper roots. Shallow watering stimulates stress-susceptible, shallow roots.Centipedegrass may be the ideal choice for a nice-looking low-maintenance lawn if your lawn develops in the acidic soil of the United States.
Nematode (microscopic worms) damage is a substantial natural threat to centipedegrass besides cold. They feed on the roots. The turf affected by Nematodes appear thin and weak as well as suffer from a phenomenon, “Centipede decline.”
The exact cause of this condition is still unknown, but a few cultural practices have proved to be beneficial in boosting resistance to centipede decline:
- Set up the grass on well-drained soil. The pH of it must be between 5.0 and 6.0.
- Select a place with full sun and make Aerate centipedegrass an annual practice.
- Avoid heavy nitrogen applications and maintain the height of the grass between 1 to 1.5 inches.
In times of drought, supply one liter of water per week for the best results. If you decide to take care of your lawn by yourself, always follow the mentioned directions for every lawn care product.
Make sure that the tag provides explicit information about the product being safe for use on centipedegrass. The products that are not suitable for use on centipedegrass may destroy or damage your centipedegrass lawn.
Centipedegrass is an ideal choice for the lawn as it requires less work and low maintenance. But like all the other warm-season grasses, it does not survive cold temperatures. So, the climate and soil conditions are the two crucial points to be taken care of when planting centipedegrass. It is not only beautiful but requires less labor, making it the favorite choice among lawn owners.
To manage the centipede lawn throughout the year, farmers follow the centipedegrass lawn maintenance calendar.