Centipede grass is a slow-growing, coarse-textured, warm-season turf that is adapted for use in low maintenance situations. It is often referred to as “lazy man’s grass” due to its infrequent mowing and fertilization requirements. It also has a light-green color and spreads by stolons. It does not tolerate traffic, compaction, high pH, excessive thatch, drought, or heavy shade. Centipede grass can often be confused with St. Augustinegrass. However, centipedegrass has alternating leaves at the nodes whereas St. Augustinegrass has opposite leaves at the nodes. Centipede grass also has a more pointed, slenderer leaf blade than St. Augustinegrass. Both leaf blades are V-shaped in cross section, but that of St. Augustinegrass has a more obviously boat-shaped tip.
Centipede grass has shallow roots and tends to turn brown sooner than other types of grass during prolonged periods of drought and extreme heat. Centipede grass should only be watered when you see wilting, rolling leaves or when the grass turns grayish-green. Then apply about an inch of water, which is enough to soak the soil 6 to 8 inches deep (where most turfgrass roots grow).
Centipede grass lawns require very little nitrogen. In fact, too much fertilizer can harm them. Centipede grass should be fed once in mid-spring and again in mid-summer with a lawn food that releases its nutrients slowly over a 6 to 8 week period of time
Centipede grass isn’t bothered too much by insects. If it is attacked, grub worms will probably be the most damaging. It can also be bothered by the spittlebug and mole cricket. Nematodes are another major pest. Nematodes are microscopic worm like organisms that live in the root zone.
On the diseases, Brown Patch is the most common on Centipede grass. Brown patch occurs in the hot, humid, wet periods of summer. It begins as a 1 foot wide patch and can enlarge to several feet. The lesions that appear on the grass become tan in appearance as the grass tissue dries out. Webby mycelium often appears on the grass on damp mornings. Do not fertilize when this disease is present. Fungicides must be applied in the early stages of disease development for best results.