How to Make Centipede Grass Spread?

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Centipede is a warm-season grass famous for its incredibly high tolerance and lesser need for constant maintenance. Gardeners and lawn owners in the coastal plain areas are very fond of this grass because of its gentle feel and long-lasting nature. 

Apart from being easy to maintain, it is also easy to plant as it does most of its spreading itself. However, it is a very particular grass, grows in only specific regions and requires a proper soil analysis to ascertain its compatibility to your soil.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Centipede Grass

Here are some of its significant strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths

It also requires fertilisers only twice a year, and because this grass is slow-growing, it doesn’t need to be mowed often.

  • Soft and gentle: The centipede grass has a very soft texture and is ideal for your kids. Your kids can play on it without getting injured.
  • Heat-tolerant: The centipede grass is a warm-season grass that can withstand a high amount of heat and grows better in hotter regions. It grows well during the summer as long as there is a little amount of rainfall or irrigation.
  • Light shade tolerance: The centipede grass can grow comfortably in areas with light shade. Unlike most warm-season grasses, it’s growth is not severely affected by shade.

Weaknesses

  • Only grows in soil with low pH: Centipede grass is opposed to soils with high pH. Its ideal soil pH is between 4.5-6.0. Anything above that affects the growth of the centipede grass.
  • Cannot withstand heavy foot traffic: Your lawn can be damaged if a particular area gets heavy foot traffic. The centipede grass is tender and cannot accommodate constant depression by the foot. You’ll need to make a passage with stones.
  • Has shallow roots: Unlike most warm-season grasses, the centipede grass has shallow roots, and this affects it during droughts. Extra care needs to be taken during periods of droughts to manage it properly.
  • Does not do well in colder climates: This is a warm-season grass which has a low tolerance for cold. Its growth is harshly affected during colder periods and it is advisable to plant between late spring and early summer.
  • Not flood-resistant: Because of its shallow root system and its growth pattern, it is opposed to flooding. The centipede grass does not do well in areas with a high rate of flooding. Drain tiles may have to be installed as its thick growth may reduce the amount of water that can soak into the ground.

How To Grow Centipede Grass?

How To Grow Centipede Grass

Centipede grass needs adequate care for it to spread evenly. Following this planting steps will help your centipede grass to grow and spread properly.

  • Take a soil sample: The first step when you want to plant centipede grass is to test your soil. Centipede grass is particular and only grows in certain conditions. You do not want to waste resources by planting this grass only to find out it is not compatible with your soil. The pH level, potassium and phosphorus index will have to be checked and corrected if needed.
  • Soil preparation: Centipede grass does not do well in compacted soils. The soil will have to be loosened and aerated to improve drainage.

There are three ways you can grow your centipede grass, from centipede grass seed, sod or plugs.

From centipede grass seeds

This is the cheapest and yet the most labour intensive method of growing centipede grass. It also takes the longest time to be established. 

This method involves planting seeds. First, you have to till the soil and remove any weed from the area. Level the field using a rake.

Now you have to spread the seed and cover with a thin layer of compost manure. Usually, 1 pound of centipede grass seed covers a 3000 Square feet area. Water the area for at least three weeks after planting.

From sod

This method involves the use of centipede grass sod. It is the fastest and has the least amount of labour required. Unsurprisingly, it is also the most expensive method among the three. 

First, the soil is tilled, and organic fertiliser is applied. Centipede grass sod stripes are then carefully aligned on the ground, making sure their edges touch each other, but they’re also staggered. 

Make use of the clips to hold them down. Roll down the sod and water for at least three weeks.

From plugs

Planting using plugs requires a medium amount of labour and takes a lesser amount of time than the seed method but more amount of time than the sodding process. It is also in the middle in terms of the amount of money required.

Clear the area you want to use. Till the ground and remove weed and then make use of organic fertiliser to prepare the soil.

Now making use of a plug drill bit, insert your grass plugs into your lawn one foot away from each other for maximum growth. Then water the area for at least three weeks.

How To Make Centipede Grass Spread?

Make Centipede Grass Spread

How to make centipede grass spread is one question on most lawn owners’ lips. Centipede grass requires proper care for it to grow and spread evenly. 

This warm-season grass grows by spreading over the lawn using its stems known as runners. Despite its reputation as a low maintenance grass, centipede grass still requires some maintenance practices to adequately cover your lawn. Here are some tasks to undergo to improve your centipede grass spread rate.

Proper fertilization 

Centipede grass requires a high amount of nitrogen to grow properly. Though low maintenance, you still need to apply fertilizers properly before planting. 

Now, to know the right fertilizers and their amounts to apply, you first need to take a soil test. Soil pH, phosphorus and potassium levels need to be checked. 

Mowing

The centipede grass is a slow-growing grass, so can be mowed less frequently. Nevertheless, mowing this grass needs special care.

Never let your centipede grass to overgrow before mowing. Height of 2 inches is okay to mow. It is advisable to keep the grass at the height of 1-1.5 inches. Be sure to use a sharp blade to mow.

Watering

The centipede grass is a warm-season grass so does not require much watering. You, however, need to water it at least twice a day after planting for the first three weeks. Watering will help it build the necessary roots.

Watering at least once a week is needed during droughts or when the leaves are looking dehydrated.

Thatching

Thatch is a regular sight under centipede grass. This thatch is formed from the debris of stems and leaves from the grass and is sometimes caused by over fertilization and letting it overgrow before mowing.

This thatch can cover the topsoil and prevents fertilizers from reaching the soil. It also clogs the earth and makes it difficult for water to run down into the ground.

Apply organic matter to your soil to prevent and break down thatch. You can also make use of dethatching rakes and machines.

Conclusion

Centipede grass is a slow-growing grass that takes years to spread. However, after covering you get to enjoy this beautiful grass in your lawn for years with little maintenance.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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