Seeing your neighbor’s centipede grass spread makes you want to wonder when yours will sprout. Even though this grass type requires occasional maintenance, there are a few things one should acknowledge.
Centipede grass thrives during warm seasons. Each grass blade is rough in texture. The spreads have an attractive light green shade when fully grown. Besides, their slow growth indicates that you do not have to mow the lawn too often.
However, the question remains – how to make centipede grass spread that hates high phosphate-based soil? Do you have to go through numerous chores to attain that lush turf?
It is not that difficult once you get the hang of a few techniques; I can tell you that much. Why do you not check it out yourself and see how simple things turn out?
How to Spread Centipede Grass
A tiny piece of information on the centipede grass – the stems that help spread the grass across the yard are known as runners. These runners act as the foundation between grass blades and the roots.
Right when the grass begins to spread all around during June or July, you will notice some material buildup of about half-inch layer. These materials are called thatch. When thatching happens, you must remove them – commonly recognized as de-thatching.
Being low maintenance grass among many kinds, this is the only issue you will have to watch out for. In general, centipede grass does not produce much thatch, but it can go overboard due to excessive watering and fertilizing.
You ought never to delay de-thatching as it can damage the grass. This is something you should remember, thatches attracts the grassroots. And if the roots do not reach the soil, you know what that means.
Allowing the lawn to thatch can block the passageways for insecticides or fertilizers to reach the soil. In the end, over-thatching causes the destruction of centipede grass before the runners could even spread further.
While raking on small lawns does the job, it is better to operate with a machine for large turfs. I advise you to contact a professional in regards to this sort of maintenance.
Furthermore, you can dress the top layer with organic matter to reduce thatch growth. Once again, I recommend a garden care service for this option.
There are machines for aerating the lawn, which I believe is better left to the skilled/experienced gardeners. Still, you will find some manual tools that you can utilize with a bit of practice.
Now, what does aeration mean here? As the runners spread and continue to form new sprouts, very little space is left on the ground for water to reach the soil depth.
The situation gets worse when thatching occurs, including external debris. Eventually, you will notice a green centipede with thatches that slowly reduces air circulation into the ground.
What you believe is healthy growth will finally die without water/fertilizer reaching the grassroots. This is why core aeration is necessary once in a while.
Whether you do it manually or with a machine is up to you. Aerating the lawn keeps it vigorous and also prevents over-thatching.
You have to correct the soil structure before determining which centipede grass fertilizer to apply. The first step is by testing the soil – it must not contain less than 5.5 or 6.0 pH level.
Some locations or regions have naturally low pH levels. The gardener better should fix this issue before seeding centipede grass. If your turf contains a higher amount of alkaline, you can apply sulfur.
It takes some time in the event of massive lawn adjustments, but the wait will be worth a lifetime. Then comes the process of fertilizing, which is only once a year procedure.
Apply fertilizer after the grass blades have been newly developed as in the early stages. Do not just buy a random package, though. Check the N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio number.
Centipede grass generally prefers a high intake of N and a moderate level of K. The P element is better left at zero unless necessary. Try not to overdo it; centipede grass does not require a heavy application like fruit trees.
Always try to keep the pH level into the factor when calculating the three elements of a fertilizer; this will help you maintain the balance without seeking professional help.
This type of grass loves sandy soil that does not retain water too long. Therefore, you will not have to maintain the area much in the warm season. A little tidying up with mowing and fertilizing, and you are set for the whole summer.
Of course, you can never forget watering the lawn, especially after germination. My method of proper irrigation system is by following a timeline.
It is best to get this chore over with early in the morning. Summer rainfall is another healthy feature in keeping the centipede grass nurtured. However, not all areas receive such natural drizzle.
So you must water the turf to prevent dehydration. Do not set the sprinkling system at noon, as that time of the day evaporates most water before absorption.
Keep an eye on dried or curled blades during the winter seasons. These are the sign of low water intake.
It does not mean the grass spread needs daily watering, either. In fact, irrigating the lawn after the soil has dried is more plausible. But do not leave it unattended for too long.
You cannot always watch over the lawn so, weeds will grow sooner or later. It is inevitable. Nevertheless, controlling it is entirely in your hands.
According to experts, the best way to get rid of the weeds is by applying herbicides to the particular grass. There is a precise timing for this application, though. What I find most beneficial is using it during the fertilizing season.
The early spring seems like the perfect period as new weeds tend to sprout at that time of the year. Destroy as many weeds as possible for the centipede grass to spread further across the yard.
You might ask what to mow when the centipede grass develops leisurely? This is where most inexperienced gardeners misunderstand.
Mow even when the spreading is happening slowly. It is the first rule of acquiring a healthy lawn. Do not let the grass overgrow more than two inches.
As lively as it might appear, grass blades any taller than that can lead to a decline in further spread/growth. Hence, the thin roots find it burdensome to send nutrients to the long spikes.
Also, make sure the mowing blades are always sharp. It will prevent the grass from tearing instead of clipping. Torn grass is difficult to pull through while clipped ones continue to flourish.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Centipede Grass
Everything comprises of pros and cons, including the centipede grass. It is wiser to accommodate these points before planning the spreading enhancement.
- Excellent in acidic, sandy soil
- Tolerant to warm climates
- Requires low maintenance
- Seeks light fertilizing once a year
- Ability to regrow after damage
- Thrives in the low shades
- It does not necessitate regular mowing
- It hates cold weather
- Stays dormant during winter
- Growth is slow
- It dislikes drought or too much foot traffic
- Alkaline soil is not preferable
Even when you look after the turf on your own, sometimes getting professional assistance might reassure you.
Be patient during the germination process; and the first couple of years of the progress. The initial years are always this tedious, so it is normal.
As long as you continue to preserve the precise pH level, the centipede grass will thrive afterward for the next 10 to 15 years!