Centipede Characteristics

First introduced into the United States in the early 1900’s, centipede is originally from southern China.  It has adapted well to the state of South Carolina and is one of the few turf grasses that performs well on acidic and infertile soils.  Centipede needs less fertilization, and therefore less maintenance than other grasses.  For that reason, it is often referred to as the “lazy man’s grass.”   And, while it may be the perfect grass for some, it is not for everyone, it depends on your soil type, climate, etc.  Centipede is best suited for residential lawns throughout the Midland and Coastal regions of South Carolina.

TURF CHARACTERISTICS

Yellow-green in color, centipede is a warm season grass with medium-to-coarse textured blades and short stems growing upward.  It propagates by stolons.  (Stolons are above-ground stems that shoot off and produce new plants in the nearby ground.)  It is a low maintenance grass, in part because it grows more slowly than a lot of other grasses.  Centipede requires less nutrients and therefore will perform better in less fertile soils like the sandy acidic soils and some clay soils of the Midlands and Coastal regions of South Carolina.  It thrives in full sun and is very tolerant to heat up to 100° F.  In cold, winter months with temperatures below 55° F, centipede is dormant.

ADVANTAGES

  • Slow vertical growth, so it needs to be mowed less often.
  • Lower fertility requirements (one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year).
  • Will tolerate moderate shade if it receives at least four hours of full sun daily.
  • Good drought recovery.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Does not tolerate heavy traffic or sloped terrain due to shallow root system.
  • Does not tolerate long periods of cold well.  (Unpredictable winter and early spring temperatures and several hard freezes may lead to slow spring green up or winterkill.)
  • Susceptible to diseases like large patch.
  • Although considered a drought tolerant grass, if not watered properly, centipede can suffer damage during high heat or drought periods.
  • Some consider its color a disadvantage.  (Its natural color is “Granny Smith” crab apple green.  Overfertilizing to obtain an unnatural dark green color reduces its cold tolerance and more than likely will increase long-term maintenance problems.)
Caring for Centipede

Wear Resistance

How resistant is the grass to normal usage?
POOR

Wear Recovery

How quickly will the grass repair itself?
GOOD

Drought Tolerance

How much drought will the grass tolerate before wilting?
POOR

Drought Recovery

How quickly will the grass recover once it experiences drought?
GOOD

Heat Tolerance

How much heat can the grass endure?
EXCELLENT

Cold Tolerance

How much cold can the grass endure?
POOR

Shade Tolerance

How much shade can the grass endure?
POOR

Disease/Insect Resistant

How resistant is the grass to insects and disease?
GOOD

*Chart is based on the comparison of varieties we produce and sell at Carolina Fresh Farms. Individual climate and soil type will affect the performance of each variety. Please call any one of our six retail outlets located throughout South Carolina for more information.