Centipede Grass is one of the most favored and grows in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9. When fully grown, it can reach heights of 3 to 5 inches, making for a great lawn.
However, often is the case, it doesn’t get as thick as gardeners want, and you begin to lose the soft spring feeling a thick blanket of sod offers.
In this guide, you can find out the best ways to care for the number one of the warm season grasses to get a nice thick lawn your yard deserves.
How Do You Encourage Centipedes to Spread?
You need to begin with what does centipede grass look like before you start your lawn care. It is the most popular of warm-season grasses and is a thick sod that likes to grow in acidic soils.
It spreads primarily with stolon’s (runners). It offers a coarse texture that can grow up to 5 inches with its short upright seed head stems.
It is very similar to St Augustine grass, and in the same way, the runners sprout new grass blades that anchor roots to the ground and thus it will spread and thicken. (Find the Best Fertilizer For St Augustine Grass)
Here’s a couple of things you can do to help your grass thicken:
Mowing — Centipede grass grows slowly, yet it requires mowing. Keep your grass to a level of 1 to 1.5 inches. If it grows taller, it can suffer deterioration. Lawnmower blades need to be sharp, or they tear rather than cut.
Weeding — Weeding is needed if your lawn hasn’t received appropriate lawn care in a while
Apply herbicide in the early spring to stop new weed growth. Apply again as required to control weeds. You can find herbicides, especially for centipede grass.
Watering — Many coastal plains areas get enough rain in the spring and summertime to keep the grass healthy, so waterless. Yet watering may be required during dry winter months. If you see dehydration signs such as grass blades curling or changing color, then water.
Thatching — Centipede grass produces a lot of thatch so that dethatching centipede grass can be vital. You can get excessive thatch when you over-fertilize or water too much, and if the grass is too tall. (Find the Best Liquid Lawn Fertilizer Concentrate)
To prevent and reduce thatch, you can apply a thin layer of organic matter to break down the thatch.
Can You Over Water Centipede Grass?
Although the grass is low maintenance, you need to know about certain things.
It thrives best in soils of pH between 5.0 and 6.0. Soil also needs to be well-drained, or the roots and the health of the grass can be compromised. It is best to take a soil test every 2 or 3 years and make sure not to over-water. (Read Rear Tine Tiller Reviews)
Too much irrigation produces weak root systems unable to cope with water stress. Centipede likes around one inch of water per week for most soil types; although it is sandy, it may need more.
Should You Put Lime on Centipede Grass?
Always fertilize your grass and add lime or sulfur, depending on the results of your soil test. Coastal plains have soil pH above what centipede grass prefers.
For high pH, sulfur can lower it with 5 pounds of pelleted sulfur for every 1000 square feet of turf.
Established centipede grass shouldn’t have any phosphorus fertilizer unless it is deficient in nutrients and isn’t green.
Centipede lawns can have 1 to 2 pounds maximum of actual nitrogen for every 1000 square feet per year. (Learn How to Reseed Lawn)
What is the Best Fertilizer for Centipede Grass?
Lawn care can be vital for this warm season grass because of grass decline. It is this reason gardeners aim for thick lawns.
Such issues can be caused by lack of nutrition and lack of water. To help manage this, keep the grass mowed to 1 to 1 1/2 inches, irrigate during drought conditions and control the soil fertility.
Over-fertilizing is a common problem. The best fertilization schedule will be 1/3 of a pound per 1,000 square feet and three times per year. You can also add 1/4 pound per 1,000 square up to 4 times a year. (Read Does Bermuda Grass Spread)
Nitrogen fertilizer should be added in June, and potassium fertilizers in August as part of your maintenance requirements for grass growth.
Centipede grass doesn’t like heavy foot traffic, and although it can cope with partial shade, it doesn’t pick too much shade as it leads to problems.
One of the best ways to make a Centipede grass lawn thicker and healthy is overseeding centipede grass and plant Bermuda grass seed in the early fall after mowing.
You can also aerate your lawn so the grass seed and nutrients can get into the soil for good root growth come the late spring.
Read more: Best Organic Fertilizer For Lawn