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weed and seed centipede

HOW TO SEED A TIFBLAIR CENTIPEDE LAWN

Watch the video above to help you visualize the written steps for seeding a TifBlair Centipede lawn.

Part 2: Seeding

Seeding is done at least two weeks after grass is sprayed to kill and after existing grass is dead. Hint: Seeding can be done in one day, depending on several factors (size of yard, number of helping hands, ease of removing old grass), but we suggest planning for splitting it into two days. For instance: remove grass and spread/till Soil3 on one day; the next day spread the seed, lightly mulch with Soil3, and roll to smooth.

  • Scrape up dead grass with a shovel or scalp the lawn by setting your mower to its lowest cutting height and mow, bagging and removing clippings and any surface debris.
  • Till or rake to loosen the soil and create a good seedbed.
    Best practice: spread Soil3 compost to add nutrients and beneficial bacteria to the soil to help seeds germinate (1 cubic yard of Soil3 will cover 1,000 sq.ft.)
  • Centipede thrives on an acid soil with a pH range of 5.0-6.0. Do not apply lime to Centipede without a soil test.
  • According to the results of your soil test, add fertilizer. Centipede does not require much fertility and therefore does not need much nitrogen in its soil. Apply 10 lb of Super-Sod’s “Starter & Centipede Formulation 5-10-30 Plus Iron” per 1,000 sq.ft. This is a low-nitrogen fertilizer option if your soil test indicates low levels of phosphorus and potassium. All grasses perform better where fertilizer is tilled into the soil.
  • Till your Soil3 compost, lime, and fertilizer to incorporate those elements into the soil and ensure healthy lawn establishment.
  • Rake to grade, level, and smooth the bare soil in the lawn planting area.
  • Remove debris, sticks, and stones to make a level surface.
  • Distribute seed: use a handheld seed spreader and set it to a very small calibration to best spread the small Centipede seed. Divide the seed in half and go over the area twice, distributing from north to south and then from east to west for uniformity. A handheld seed spreader is inexpensive and can be purchased a home supply stores in the garden section.
  • Lightly rake to ensure good seed/soil contact – no deeper than ¼ inch (adequate light speeds up the germination process). We do not suggest using wheat straw to cover your seed, as it may introduce foreign weed seeds into your seedbed.
    Best Practice: Instead of lightly raking, use Soil3 as a nutritious mulch. Spread a very thin layer of Soil3 on top of seedlings just to the point of lightly covering. Careful: not too much. (1 cubic yard of Soil3 will cover 4,000 sq.ft.)
  • Roll over the entire area to smooth, ensure proper soil contact, and eliminate air pockets (a drum roller can be rented at many hardware and equipment rental stores).
  • Water the seeds.

Watering After Seeding TifBlair Centipede

Water thoroughly and immediately after planting. Continue to water and keep the soil moist for at least two weeks. This may require watering 2-3 times daily, depending on the temperatures and your specific location.

After a few weeks, your seeds will germinate. Once germination occurs, you can gradually back off on your watering cycle. Even after your lawn is established, it will need at least of 1 inch of water each week. (How and When to Water Your Lawn)

Weeds

Begin mowing your lawn at a 1.5”-2” cutting height as soon as there is something to mow, including weeds. Mowing will reduce weed pressure.

Note: All sites have weed seeds present, and weeds that germinate alongside your TifBlair Centipede will need to be managed. Learn more about post-emergent weed control for TifBlair Centipede.

Results: These pictures were taken September 26, 2016 (2 months after seeding TifBlair on July 7, 2016).

Centipede Grass Pros and Cons

Centipede grass is a popular choice for lawns due to its ability to thrive in high temperatures and low maintenance requirements. Centipede is characterized by its tight growth pattern and affinity for well-drained or sandy soil. Also, is presents a lush, light green color. Centipede grass was first introduced to the United States from Asia in the early 1900s. The grass isn’t ideal for everyone, however, as it cannot stand a lot of shade and does not tolerate a lot of foot traffic.

Pros Cons
Sun Tolerance Prefers full sun
Heat Tolerance Handles high temps
Drought Tolerance Good at tolerating drought
Growth Rate Doesn’t need mowing as often Spreads slowly
Traffic Tolerance Performs poorly under high traffic
Color in Winter Browns in winter
Shade Tolerance Requires plenty of sun
Cold Tolerance Can suffer damage from very low temps

Centipede Grass – Pros

A major advantages of centipede is it’s need to receive six to seven hours of full sun. Centipede tolerates limited shade but prefers large quantities of light and heat.

Centipede grass grows slowly but aggressively. This results in a tight carpet-like pattern which produces a full, lush lawn that can be cared for relatively easily. Also, the thick growing grass leaves little room or resources for weeds to take root. Another advantage of centipede grass it that it does not require frequent cutting as the grass blades grow slower and closer to the ground.

Centipede is great at tolerating extended periods of drought and, in general, will bounce back quickly once the rains arrive. However, we recommend 1 to 1.25 inches of water per week for best results.

The grass generally thrives without much maintenance. While fertilization is recommended for best results, it is not required.

Centipede Grass – Cons

Centipede grass is not an ideal grass for high traffic areas. This is due to the slow-growing nature of the species. Bare spots will often form along with areas of high use. Fill holes and bare spots with sand to encourage grass runners to fill in these areas. The species also needs a constant and ample water supply.

While this type of grass enjoys heat and sunlight, it requires 1.00 to 1.25 inches of water per week. It requires more in sandy or loose soils. Without sufficient water, centipede’s bright green color will fade. This will place the grass in a dormant state, which stunts growth.

Additionally, centipede grass will not thrive in cold weather and can be permanently damaged in temperatures under 20 degrees. It is not recommended to grow centipede any further north than South Carolina.

Even if temperatures never dip to 20 degrees, extended cold temperatures can cause damage. When temperatures stay under 28 degrees for a long period of time, it can cause the grass to enter into a dormant status that can stunt future growth.

Another thing that centipede grass doesn’t like is extended periods of shade. It is not to be planted in areas that are shaded or do not receive ample sunlight.

Centipede grass will suffer from fungal growth if the soil does not properly drain properly. Proper drainage is an important element in maintaining a beautiful yard with Centipede grass.

Fertilizing Your Centipede Lawn

In general, centipede does not require much fertilization. In fact, it is not a very needy grass at all. Proper, routine fertilization, however, can take your centipede lawn to the next level.

You should almost always use a 15-0-15 fertilizer on centipede lawns. This means the fertilizer will contain 15% Nitrogen, 0% Phosphorus, and 15% Potassium.

Centipede Maintenance

As with any turfgrass, it’s important to develop an annual maintenance program based upon the specific turf’s individual needs. The beauty of Centipede grass is that these needs are minimal, but there are specific maintenance steps that are going to remain important.

January – April

Use a pre-emergent herbicide between February or March to control unwanted weeds. A second application of the same pre-emergent product is suggested between two to three months after the initial application. This will guarantee ample application during the dormant season.

Search your lawn for insect damage, specifically white grubs. If any insect damage is located, apply an insecticide at this time to prevent any further infestations in the upcoming warmer months.

If you need to overseed your centipedegrass, you’ll want to do it at the beginning of the growing season.

May – August

Monitor pH levels of your yard during the summer. Centipede grass thrives in soil with a pH of five to six. If your lawn falls outside of this range, consider adding lime or sulfur to your yard to achieve the desired level.

Please note that changing the pH level of an area may require a few years of element application; it is not an overnight process.

Apply a nitrogen-based fertilizer in the early summer to prepare your lawn for the growing season.

Fertilize established centipede grass with nitrogen-based fertilizers, not phosphorus. Apply a 15-0-15 fertilizer mix later in the summer. If your lawn begins to exhibit a yellow or brownish color in spring, it may have an iron deficiency and will need to be treated with a liquid iron product, or a pelletized iron product. Always follow the manufacturer’s suggested rate of application when applying supplements to your lawn.

A selective herbicide can be applied if various broadleaf weeds begin to grow throughout the season.

Centipede grass is sensitive to 2-4D herbicide, so use caution when applying any product that contains this chemical. If you have other grasses in your yard, sethoxydim is safe to apply to control certain grasses.

May and June are the optimal times to dethatch your lawn. Though thatch usually isn’t a big problem with centipede, it can cut off your root system from nutrients and rainwater if it develops.

Aeration is also an important part of Centipede grass maintenance program. This is a relatively simple process which entails puncturing holes into the earth to improve oxygen flow to the plant’s root system. This can be done with a commercial aerator or something as basic puncturing the soil using the prongs of a pitchfork, although, that is a time-consuming process.

September – December

Fertilizer does not need to be applied prior to the winter months. Add lime or sulfur if you are attempting to correct the PH balance of your soil.

Potash can be applied to centipede grass if the area is expecting to get colder than normal winter. A post-emergent herbicide can be applied to control weeds prior to the low growth season and can be accompanied by a broad-spectrum pesticide to eliminate any pests in their early development stages.