Many centipede grass devotees have been concerned about how to make centipede grass spread. The centipede grass grows slowly, despite its gorgeous apple green color, tough leaves, and cheap upkeep.
Centipede grass has been termed “lazy man’s grass” due to its fondness for infrequent mowing and watering and its capacity to thrive with minimal fertilizer. Being a quick spreader is not one of the centipede grass’s strong points, which can be annoying for many homeowners.
However, this is simply remediable. If you would like to know how to make centipede grass grow, you’ve come to the perfect place. I’ll demonstrate this through my experience with the centipede lawn.
How to make centipede grass spread
1. Remove thatch build-up
Thatch is one concern that limits your centipede’s ability to spread. Thatch is a dense mass of disconnected stems and rotting materials that choke the vitality out of your lawn. Because of its shallow roots, thatch has a greater impact on the centipede lawn.
Thatch is commonly caused by over-fertilization and allowing it to grow unchecked. Thatch is an enemy of growth because it clogs the root system of your centipede grass, blocking water and nutrients from entering. Thus, as a result, your goal should be to remove the thatch, foster new root growth, and encourage spreading.
When the centipede grass has a coating of more than one inch of thatch, you know you’re wading in deep waters and should take corrective action to save your lawn. A dethatching machine is recommended for large lawns, although a dethatching rake will be sufficient for a small lawn. Then, to avoid and decrease thatch, apply a top treatment made of a thin coating of organic materials.
2. Aerating the soil
Poor infiltration and drainage is another reason your centipede grass is not spreading. With time our lawn soil usually becomes packed due to the foot traffic and mowing.
The soil naturally is compressed due to the activities on your lawn. Unfortunately, this hurts your centipede grass by inhibiting water and oxygen from reaching its roots.
Don’t be fooled by the notion that centipede grass has shallow roots, so it doesn’t need aeration; it is important for it, just like other grasses. Aeration will solve this problem; it will allow air and water to reach the roots of your centipede grass.
Do this using an aerator; it will poke small holes in your lawn soil, creating a seepage for water and air to stimulate the roots to grow deeper. A large aerator machine can be challenging to operate; seek the help of a professional.
3. Proper Soil pH
If you want your centipede grass to develop quickly, you need also consider the pH of your soil. A pH level of 4 to 6 is ideal for your lawn; anything higher will impede the growth of your centipede grass.
Have a soil test to determine the pH levels; if they are too high, add sulfur to reduce it to an acceptable level for your centipede grass. Patience is required because this takes time to produce results.
Like all living things, water is essential to life, and centipede grass requires it. Centipede grass has shallow roots to adapt to locations that receive a lot of rain. Nonetheless, if residing in a dry environment, you must water your centipede grass regularly to establish strong roots.
On the other hand, Centipede grass does not require daily watering because it may invite diseases, so you must devise an effective watering schedule. Remember that you must guarantee the water penetrates four inches into the lawn soil when watering.
Centipede grass does not require fertilizers; its growth rate is sufficient without them, but if you want it to spread quickly, fertilizers must be used. When fertilizing, a soil test will help guide your fertilizer strategy.
However, an established centipede grass should not have excessive phosphorus fertilizer because this can cause a fall in iron levels, resulting in your centipede grass blades turning yellow and having a frail appearance.
When fertilizing, utilize a slow-release fertilizer with low phosphorus, moderate nitrogen, and high potassium levels. An N-P-K concentration of 15-0-15 will be quite useful to your centipede grass.
The surefire fertilizer is the best to promote root growth.
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The proper balance of nitrogen and potassium will make your centipede grass spread.
See also: Does the grass have to be dry to thatch?
6. The right mowing height
Centipede grass has an unusual tendency to decay quickly when it overgrows; this is strange, but it makes sense because its shallow roots fail to meet nutritional needs.
When it is at its peak growth, you should mow it frequently. However, if you do not mow your centipede grass when stressed, you may permanently damage it.
The ideal height should be one to two inches. Improper mowing will limit the proliferation of your centipede grass. Centipede grass will not tolerate a heavy lawnmower, and make sure your mower blade is sharp enough to cut the grass blades cleanly.
See also: Do mondo grass spread
7. Disease and Weed management
A disease and weed management regimen for your centipede grass is critical, especially in the fall. Weed removal will reduce competition for your grass, enhancing its growth and spread.
Centipede grass is susceptible to fungal diseases, which will limit its spread. Address this by avoiding allowing your tuft to become moist. Fungal-affected centipede grass has a brown hue and slow growth; if you notice this, apply a fungicidal treatment.
See also: Centipede grass diseases
A true lawn care hobbyist recognizes the ‘language’ of the lawn. I wasn’t a true lawn care aficionado because my centipede grass spread slowly and thinly, making me the laughingstock of the neighborhood until I studied and asked experts how to make centipede grass spread.
Despite its slow development, centipede grass is a fantastic grass that will remain green all year. Hopefully, the embarrassment I went through to get the centipede grass just right will help you acquire a thick centipede turf that spreads quickly.