The Care of Centipede Lawns in Mid-Summer

With the first half of the year already behind us, the question that’s on most people’s mind is “How do I keep my centipede lawn looking good for the rest of the year?”

Centipede lawns are what most consider to be a “lazy man’s grass.” To keep it “healthy” is the most important thing that you want to do. To do so, you want to keep it simple. The first thing that you want to do is get a soil test sample. A “HEALTHY” lawn is the key word with any lawn especially centipede. Too much of anything is usually a bad thing when it comes to this variety of turf.

George Woerner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woerner Companies

Centipede being known as the “lazy man’s” grass means less is better. Your soil sample test results and recommendations will reveal the following about this type of turf:

One: Centipede likes a more acidic soil.

Two: Centipede likes less nitrogen than other grasses. This is where many lawn keepers make the mistake of putting too much nitrogen as part of a fertility program. This is a major reason why so many lawns die out in the winter even though they go into winter looking like the best lawn in your neighborhood. Bad Idea.

This is where I would start:
  • We suggest soil testing with a soil test kit.
  • Follow the instructions from the test results report.
  • Do not put your fertilizer out when the grass is wet.
  • Calculate how many pounds of fertilizer per thousand square feet you need from your results from the soil kit (or purchase a testing kit that calculates it for you).
  • Mid-summer your soil test will likely tell you to put some Iron out with your soil fertility recommendations.
  • Remember the mid-summer and fall application of fertilizer can be combined into to one application or break it up to two applications.
  • Many times if you are low on minor elements these minors play a major role in the health of your lawn. Make sure that your soil test kit provides results of the levels of minor elements in the test results. The minor elements help your lawn uptake the proper amount of nutrients to keep you lawn beautiful and healthy. It is also extremely important to reduce the effects of what we call winter kill.
centipede seed
Centipede seed

Most of the growth of your centipede lawn in the second half of the year should be mainly seed heads. They are easily mowed off with your weekly mowing. If you are getting heavy vegetative growth it is likely too much nitrogen from previous fertilization applications. That is typically not good. If you are getting a lot of vegetative growth in the mid-summer to late fall you need to remove the thatch that the excessive growth is making. Thatch is a major problem with centipede that adds to the winter kill in your lawn.

With proper care of centipede your lawn you should give you years of pleasure and very low cost of maintenance.