Centipede
Lawn Maintenance Calender

This calendar of suggested management practices is designed to assist you in the seasonal care of your lawn.
Location, terrain, soil type and condition, age of the lawn, previous lawn care, and other factors affect turf
performance. For these reasons, tile following management practices and dates should be adjusted to suit your
particular home lawn conditions.

March through May
Mowing

Mow lawn at 1 inch at time of initial greenup. Mow before grass gets above 1 1/2 inches tall. Do not burn off
centipedegrass to remove excessive debris because of possible injury to the lawn and potential fire hazard.

Fertilization
DO NOT apply nitrogen at this time. Yellow appearance may be an indication of iron deficiency. Spray iron
(ferrous) sulfate (2 ounces in water per 1,000 sq. ft.) or a chelated iron source to enhance color as needed.
Follow label directions.

Watering
Water to prevent drought stress. About 1 inch of water per application each week is needed for growing
centipedegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering; i.e., 1/2 inch of water every third day. Proper
irrigation may prevent or reduce pest and nonpest problems from occurring later in the summer.

Weed Control
Apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass, and foxtail. Apply by the time that dogwoods
are in full bloom. Apply postemergence herbicides in May as needed for control of summer annual and
perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, etc. Do not apply until 3 weeks after
greenup. Centipedegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g. 2,4-D), so follow label directions and use with
caution.

Insect Control
Check for white grubs and control if necessary. (See White Grubs in Turf, ENT/ORT-67, AG-366)

Thatch
Power rake (vertical mow) to remove thatch (layer of undecayed grass) in late May if necessary. A 2- or 3-inch
blade spacing set 1/4-inch deep in one direction works best. Do not use a power rake with a 1-inch blade
spacing as severe turf injury may result.

Renovation
Replant large bare areas in May using seed (1/4 to 1/2 pound per 1,000 sq. ft.) or sprigs (3/4 bushel per 1,000
sq. ft.). Mixing seed with 2 gallons of fine sand per 1,000 sq. ft. will aid in distribution. Germination is expected in
28 days but establishment is slow. Keep seedbed continually moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times
a day to ensure good germination. Three years for complete establishment of a new lawn is not uncommon.
(See North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Publication Carolina Lawns, AG-69.)

June through August
Mowing

Mow lawn at 1 inch. Mow before grass gets above 1 1/2 inches tall.

Fertilization
Fertilize with 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. (once a year) in mid-June using a high potassium fertilizer
(e.g., 5-5-15, 6-6-12, 8-8-24). An additional fertilization in August may enhance performance in coastal
locations. Fertilizers without phosphorus (e.g., 15-0-14, 8-0-24) are preferred if soils exhibit moderate-to-high
levels of phosphorus. Yellow appearance may indicate an iron deficiency. Spray iron (ferrous) sulfate (2
ounces in water per 1,000 sq. ft.) or a chelated iron source to enhance color as needed. Follow label directions.
To determine amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft., divide 50 by the
FIRST number on the fertilizer bag. Example: A 5-5-15 fertilizer. Dividing 50 by 5 = 10 pounds of product to be
applied per 1,000 sq. ft. for 1/2 pound of nitrogen.

Watering
Water to prevent drought stress. About 1 inch of water per application each week is needed for growing
centipedegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering; i.e., l/2 inch of water every third day.

Weed Control
Apply postemergence herbicides as needed for control of summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, such
as knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, etc. Centipedegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D, MSMA), so
follow label directions and use with caution. Do not apply herbicides unless grass and weeds are actively
growing and lawn is not suffering from drought stress.

Insect Control
Check for white grubs and control if necessary. (See North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Publication
White Grubs in Turf, ENT/ORT-67, AG-366.)

Disease Control
Have soil assayed if nematode damage is suspected. Contact your county Extension Center for assistance.
September through November

Mowing
Mow lawn at 1 inch. Mow before grass gets above 1 1/2 inches tall. Raise mowing height to 1 1/2 inches several
weeks before expected frost.

Fertilization
Fertilize with 1 pound of potash (K2O) per 1,000 sq. ft. 4 to 6 weeks before expected frost using 1.6 pounds of
muriate of potash (0-0-60) or 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50). DO NOT lime centipedegrass unless
recommended by soil test.
To determine amount of product required to apply 1 pound of potash per 1,000 sq. ft., divide 100 by the THIRD
number on the fertilizer bag. Example: A 6-6-12 fertilizer. Dividing 100 by 12 = 8.3 pounds of product to be
applied per 1,000 sq. ft. for 1 pound of potassium.

Watering

Water to prevent drought stress. About 1 inch of water per application each week is sufficient for growing
centipedegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering; i.e., 1/2 inch of water every third day. Water
following onset of dormancy (browning of foliage) if needed to prevent excessive dehydration.

Insect Control
Check for white grubs and control if necessary. (See North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Publication
White Grubs in Turf, ENT/ORT-67, AG-366.)

December through February
Mowing

Remove lawn debris (rocks, sticks, and leaves). Do not burn off centipedegrass to remove excessive debris
because of possible injury to the grass and potential fire hazard.

Fertilization
DO NOT fertilize centipedegrass at this time. Submit soil samples for analysis every 3 years to determine
nutrient requirements. Be sure to specify centipedegrass. (Contact your county Extension Center for details.)
Apply lime or sulfur if suggested (based on soil test) to raise or reduce soil pH respectively. DO NOT lime
centipedegrass unless recommended by soil test.

Watering
Water to prevent excessive dehydration.

Weed Control
Apply broadleaf herbicides as necessary for control of chickweed, henbit, etc. Centipedegrass is sensitive to
certain herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D), so follow label directions for reducing rates, and use with caution. Selected
herbicides (e.g., atrazine or simazine) can be applied in November or December for control of annual bluegrass
(Poa annua) and several winter annual broadleaf weeds.

More About Centipedegrass

Centipedegrass is a slow-growing, apple-green, coarse-leafed turfgrass that is adapted for use as a low
maintenance, general purpose turf. It requires little fertilizer (l/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. per year),
infrequent mowing, and grows well in full sun to moderate shade. It does not tolerate traffic, compaction,
high-phosphorus soils, high pH, low-potassium soils, excessive thatch, drought, or heavy shade.
Centipedegrass is susceptible to a number of pest-related problems. Symptoms include small circular dead
areas after several years of good performance. Areas do not green up in the spring or begin to die in late
spring or during drought stress. Grass at the edge of affected areas may yellow, wilt, and die. Possible causes
include nematodes, ground pearls (an insect), and fairy ring (a disease). Nematode damage appears as weak
areas invaded by weeds. If nematodes are suspected, submit a soil sample for analysis. (See Plant Pathology
Information Note 241, Problems on Centipedegrass, for details.) Ground pearls appear as circular dead areas
with only weeds growing in the center. (See Department of Entomology Insect Note No. 64, Ground Pearls.)
Fairy rings appear as circular green or dead areas that continue to enlarge for several years. (See Extension
Service publication Diseases of Warm-Season Grasses, AG-360.) Injury from certain broadleaf weed control
herbicides and mismanagement can also display these symptoms. Following proper lawn management
practices, as discussed in this publication, is the best means of preventing and controlling centipedegrass
problems. Continual loss of centipedegrass may indicate the need to choose another grass species. Contact
your county Extension Center for assistance if needed.
Maintenance programs provided by professional lawn care service companies may differ from
recommendations given here yet be equally effective.