How To Make Centipede Grass Spread?

Centipede grass is a warm-season grass that has a coarse texture and is bright green in color. They typically grow and spread via stolons. Stolons are stems that grow in a horizontal direction just beneath the soil surface. Along the length of the stolon, there is a node every few inches where new grass sprouts on the top with its roots right below it.

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Why is Centipede grass a good choice?Why is Centipede grass a bad choice?
Reasonable drought-resistant characteristicsComplete growing process takes 3 years
Adapts to soil low in nutrients and fertilizersOver-fertilizing can kill the grass in no time
Slow growth cycle – thus rare mowing sessionsSlow growing could be a drawback for some 
Requires comparatively lower nitrogen than other grassesExpensive seeds ($40 a pound) – makes it a costly option for big gardens
Grows well-enough even in mild shadeCooler weathers make it harder for the grass to nurture itself

Is it easy to grow Centipede grass?

There is a common reference made to Centipede grass being like teenagers. They prefer to be left alone and regulate their development cycle themselves. Whether there is a drought, too much heat, lesser nitrogen, or malnourished soil, Centipede grass is naturally equipped to take care of its maintenance.

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However, be sure to avoid fuelling Centipede grass with too much fertilizer, alkaline soil, or large patches of shade. Also, excessive foot traffic during its budding phase can reduce the pace of the growth period.

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How Can I Spread Centipede Grass Across My Lawn?

Spreading Centipede grass across your lawn requires following the right process of watering and fertilization. Soil pH, mowing frequency, and thatching are another few factors that must be done in the correct manner. Keep reading to know more:

Soil pH

To start with, make sure your garden is set up with low pH soil. Somewhere in the range of 4.5 to 6. pH levels higher than 6 will deprive the grass of iron and begin to turn the leaf petals yellow.

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If you grow other fruits and vegetables that have a high pH requirement, then you may be in a dilemma. Not to worry, as you can reside to the application of iron supplements and substances that lower soil pH. Although this would mean that you are sacrificing the low-maintenance benefits of Centipede grass.

Gardeners opt to shower their soil with sulfur to regain desired levels of alkalinity. 

Irrigation Style

As Centipede grass consist of shallow roots you should water the garden well in case droughts are predicted. This evades the possibility of the mildest of negative effects on this grass type. A wise way to check on how well-watered the grass is would be to check whether the grass pops back up once you walk over it. 

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This is not the type of grass that is watered every day for even distribution throughout the lawn. On the contrary, frequent watering will call for grass diseases and thatching situations. Any traits of curly or dark-colored grass are indications that the watering cycle you have chosen is not effective.

Sandy soils have a lower ability to store water, thus watering 2 to 3 times a week would be a good option. Whereas clay soil can be watered 1 to 2 times a week. If you want the grass to spread quickly then give up shallow watering plans. Make sure you water to a depth of at least 3 to 5 inches so that the roots have the means to soak nutrients from surrounding soil.

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Also, ensure the planting area is tilled and leveled with a rake before planting the seeds. This can go a long way in covering every nook and corner of your garden with grass.

Irregular Mowing

For quicker Centipede grass spread, it should not be mowed frequently, unless and until it has grown above a height of 2 inches. This grass type has a knack to deteriorate much faster when overgrowth happens. The main reason behind this is because the shallow roots fail to accommodate the nutritional needs of big grass shards.

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Even worse, incorrect mowing can lead to thatch formation and this prevents the grass from spreading evenly across the lawn. If the mower blades aren’t sharp enough, it can ruin the pattern of your grass rather than performing even slicing. Check out the Troy-Bilt 540cc Briggs & Stratton Intek mower for a mower that suits this grass type.

Thatching

Try and create an environment that calls for minimal thatching. Thatch constitutes of detached stems, destroyed roots, and other lawn waste. Most gardeners will make way for thatch due to insufficient knowledge of precise watering and fertilization processes. 

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The shallow roots of Centipede grass will fail to differentiate between the soil and thatch if thatch has collected on the top layer. Due to this, developing roots will bud out of the thatch. Now the catch is that thatch tends to dry out much sooner than soil. The fact that roots have developed through this dry thatch makes it almost impossible for water and fertilizers to seep into the soil.

For the amateur gardeners who cannot identify thatch, you will notice that water has collected on top of the soil and is taking abnormally long to seep inside. These situations could leave you with the problem of tackling weeds.

Two solutions for gardeners who find thatch to be an inevitable problem are as follows:

  • Organic Matter: Showering a generous amount of organic matter on top of the soil surface will lead to much-needed micro-organisms to feed on the thatch.

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  • Core Aerators: This piece of equipment will expose the soil such that water can delve deeper to a depth of approximately 3 inches. As long as you do it right, you will observe the soil has chunked itself and your roots have an easily accessible route to water and extra nutrients.

Accurate Fertilizer Constituents

Go for a fertilizer that has an N-P-K concentration of 15-0-15. It would be healthier and beneficial for Centipede grass spread if you could use a slow-release fertilizer. Remember, the speed of Centipede grass spread is good enough even without fertilizers. This suggestion is just to give you a sure-shot route, in case you are looking for a foolproof system. 

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Speaking of nitrogen requirements, a maximum of 2 lbs per 1000 sq. ft should do the job. The enzymes within Centipede grass seed are the reason you do not need to shower your garden with excess nitrogen, like for other grass types. 

The little nitrogen that you are providing increases chlorophyll amounts and encourages healthy grass petal formation. Above all, as this is a warm-season grass, stored nitrogen is usually utilized in the winter months to replenish itself from the change in environment.

how to make centipede grass spread

 

How Long Does It Take For Centipede Grass to Spread?

Be patient for the Centipede grass to spread. It takes up to 3 years for full growth to occur. Any kind of forceful means of catalyzing the growth cycle could leave all your prior efforts in the drain. The first year is usually dull and you will notice extremely mild shards forming out of patches. As you continue, the second year will portray more growth. 

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Guess what?

The 3rd year is generally when you will be rewarded for all your efforts. The grass begins to spread healthily and quickly throughout your lawn.

Bonus tip: Perform seeding in the warm months of April to July. Earlier the better. Increase the frequency of watering for 2 to 3 weeks till the seeds germinate. 

Tips and Tricks to Control Centipede Grass Spread:

  • If you have the tools and gardening expertise then lay extra importance on the stolons. Ensuring these stolons are in prime condition will increase the pace of Centipede grass spread across your lawn. 

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  • If some patches are turning brown then harness the power of stolons. Firstly, ensure that the stolons are intact and have developed in that region. Secondly, you can add mild amounts of soil above the region and perform frequent watering for the first week. You will notice sprouting grass within another week.
  • The stolons can easily extend into your neighbor’s lawn, your patio, around your crops, etc. These may be areas where you do not want the grass to spread. Slice the stolon (also known as the runner), and the spread would be controlled. 

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  • Brown patches can develop in regions that have a weather transition from low to high humidity. If occurrences of low humidity are rare in your region of residence then consider applying a fungicide known as Daconil. If you are a fan of organic materials, then use Actinovate. The sooner you apply it, the better results. 
  • Avoid allowing your mower from shedding excess smoke on this grass type. Despite the ability to give birth to a dense lawn, the recovery process is ridiculously slow. 

Verdict

The bottom line is that Centipede grass should be grown by gardeners who prefer long-term projects. If you plan to shift homes or travel for months at a time then this grass type may not suit your needs.

Although these grass-free yard ideas could always be a lovely option.

I hope, you like the above article. Also, read some of the related articles.

Brice The Botanist
 

Growing up in Ventura, California famous for it's rich gardens. Brice has spent most of his life trying to help make the world greener. Studying Botany at CSRA, he's made it a lifelong passion to greenify every home.

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