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Centipede Care and Maintenance

Centipede is one of the few turf grasses which perform well on acidic and infertile soils. Centipede grass has long been called the “Lazy Man’s Grass.” This is due to its slower-growing habit and lack of nutrients to grow. Many homeowners have complained of delayed spring green-up or even dead spots within their lawns. For the past four years, Clemson University has researched the effect of fertilization on centipede lawns. Although the research is ongoing, they have linked this phenomenon to over fertilization. Centipede grass grows best when no more than one to 2 pounds of nitrogen per growing season is applied to the lawn. The 20-0-25 EXPO will provide 1 pound of nitrogen in a form which will continue to feed the lawn for up to 10 weeks as well as slow release potassium to help the lawn become more drought tolerant.

Seasonal Maintenance for Centipede

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SPRING

April 1 - May 15

Take a soil sample; test for pH and fertility levels. Use any fungicide.

May 15 - May 21

20-0-25 EXPO 1 Percent Fe - Includes all the nitrogen the lawn needs.

May 21 - June 7

Aloft Insecticide - Prevents insects such as spittle bugs and grubs.

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SUMMER

July 1 - August 1

6-1-11 7 Percent Fe - Produces green color without flushing top growth late in the season.

August 15 - September 15

Headway, Heritage or Pillar; must rotate between these products.

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FALL

October 1 - October 21

0-0-7 0.38 Percent Prodiamine prevents winter weeds such as Poa annua.

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WINTER

February 21 - March 15

0-0-7 0.38 Percent Prodiamine prevents summer weeds such as crabgrass

Maintenance Tips for Centipede

Mowing

Centipede should be mowed at a height of 1 ½ to 3 inches. Always remember that the more stress a plant is under, the higher the lawn should be mowed. The frequency of mowing will also vary depending on the growth of the grass. Most centipede lawns should be mowed every seven to 10 days. During drought conditions, it would be best to mow the lawn once every two weeks. As with any other lawn, a consistent mowing interval will improve the quality of the lawn.

Watering

Centipede lawns require 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week during the growing season. Irrigation of the lawn should be performed in the early morning hours of the morning just before daylight. This practice will avoid any rapid evaporation of water before it reaches the lawn, yet allow the leaf tissue to dry quickly after the sun rises. Do not water your lawn every morning for short intervals. This process will only encourage shallow root growth. Instead, water your lawn for long periods two to three times a week.

Aeration

Aeration has two purposes. The first is to simply loosen the soil. The second is to prune the roots. Core aeration is the recommended method and should be performed every two years on a typical home lawn during the growing season. If your lawn receives heavy foot traffic, it would be advisable to aerate every year. Aeration should be performed during the growing season.

Soil Basics

A practical understanding of your soil is essential in managing your lawn. Soil pH is perhaps the most crucial element. Most turf grasses perform best when the soil pH falls between 6.3 and 7.0. We recommend that a soil test is performed annually to check the pH values as well as other nutrient levels within the soil profile. Any Carolina Fresh Farms Turf Center will be happy to send your soil samples to our soil testing laboratory. Our soil testing program is a free service. All you need to do is bring in 2 - 3 cups of soil into the Carolina Fresh Farms outlet and we'll be able to help.

Specialty Products

For spreader settings or any other fertilizer information, please call any of our retail outlet locations or go to lebsea.com. Sol-u-Cal is used to adjust soil pH. When applied at a rate of 12 pounds per 1,000 square feet, Sol-u-Cal will raise the pH as much as one point in as short as four to six weeks. Headway controls a wider range of diseases than any other currently registered product, including dollar spot, brown patch and all other major turf diseases. Pillar G is a combination of two effective ingredients used to control and prevent numerous turf diseases. Heritage is excellent long-term preventative control of most diseases in turf.

Fungus Alert

Over the past few years, many lawn professionals have observed large-patch disease in centipede lawns in both the late fall and early spring. This disease is similar to brown patch in fescue which is prevalent throughout the Carolinas. In order to protect the investment in your lawn, you will need an application of fungicide in the fall as well as the spring. There are many fungicides recommended for this fungus. It is suggested that you rotate between fungicides to avoid any resistance of the fungus to the chemicals applied for control. A fungicide should be applied once at the first of May and again in mid-August.

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