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Turf Management Series: Centipede

By Sean Burgess - seanb@landings.org
Public Works Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Known for its minimal upkeep, Centipede is a heat tolerant turf, best suited for the southeastern United States, and requires far less maintenance than its competitors. Centipede is the third feature in our Turf Management Series and is the predominant turf in Tidewater Square. Its unique characteristics, watering requirements, and maintenance needs are outlined below:

CENTIPEDE

Characteristics

  • Centipede is known for its excellent heat tolerance and extremely low maintenance needs. It is a light-to-medium green in peak growing season and requires minimal fertility for it to thrive.

Advantages

  • Requires much less maintenance than other grasses used in the Southeast region
  • Excels in sandy low PH Soils with minimal fertility
  • Has excellent heat tolerance when watered properly during the summer months
  • Low risk for insect and disease issues compared to St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia turfs (when maintained properly)

Disadvantages

  • Centipede is a very slow growing turf. When damage or injury occurs to Centipede, the turf takes an extended period to recover.
  • Low shade tolerance resulting in thin and weak areas when over shaded
  • Centipede turf is not a lush green color like other species.
  • If over fertilized, Centipede may exhibit depleted root systems and could become more susceptible to insect infestations.
  • Low tolerance to drought conditions due to the shallow root system
  • Nematodes and Chinch bugs are the most common insects that will attack Centipede Grass. If your centipede lawn begins to turn yellow from insect damage in certain areas, your turf will require immediate treatment. In late summer to fall, it is necessary to provide preemptive insect control, as this slow-growing turf will not have adequate time to recover before the end of the growing season.

Irrigation

  • Centipede grass likes heavy and infrequent watering.
  • If you notice grayish-green spots in your centipede lawn, it typically is a sign of drought stress, and you need to water heavily to get moisture in the top six-to-eight inches of your soil.