Eremochloa ophiuroides, or centipedegrass, is a seasonal lawn grass type which grows mainly in the warm season. It forms a thick sod, grows uniformly, is light to medium green in color, and has a coarse texture with short, upright stems. The moderate growth length of this grass is about 3 to 5 inches and is spread by stolons, which grow very rapidly. There are many warm season grasses of which this is the only grass that probably has the lowest maintenance time and cost. Many times, you see lawns growing in huge backyards, road side landscapes, public gardens, and on the lake sides. Since these areas are very spaced out and large in size, centipedegrass is preferred as it grows faster and needs very less amount of care. The seed of this grass is a native to southern China, and when it was introduced to the United States, it became one of the most widely used grasses in south eastern states.
How to Care for It
This is a warm season, sun-loving grass which does not need too much maintenance, which is why it is often referred to as the "lazy man's grass". Even though there is very low maintenance involved in growing it, it does need some care regarding watering and mowing. This grass is best suited for areas with less traffic, like playgrounds, golf courses, and sports fields.
Once you start the germination of the seeds, watering becomes necessary. It helps the soil to be moist, and thus, there is enough water for the grass to grow on. You should water to a depth of minimum 4 to 8 inches each time, as this encourages the new grass to develop a strong and deep root system. Once the roots are established, water is needed to keep the lawn lush green and healthy. Watering also depends on the weather conditions--in the summer it needs 1 to 2 inches water per week.
Herbicides and Fertilizers
There is a requirement to apply herbicides in the early spring season, but you should only use it if it is needed, as the entire lawn could dry off otherwise. If you wish to use a particular herbicide, make sure you read the instructions and make all the recommended adjustments for the grass. Fertilizers should be used only once every growing season--spring. Even when you use a little fertilizer, the grass can dry off, as the type of fertilizer used also counts. It should be low in nitrogen and should contain no phosphorous. Make sure you watch for fungal and brown patches in the lawn as this grass is prone to nematodes. If fungal patches are growing, test the soil for infections and make sure to use the right antifungal soil treatment. Also, keep testing the pH of the soil from time to time.
Mowing is a vital factor in the care, as you cannot let the grass overgrow. It needs major mowing in the growing season when there is rapid growth due to the seasonal effects. You should mow the lawn at least 1 inch high from the ground surface, and allow it to grow to about 2 inches in summer. Another mowing tip for this grass is to make sure that the lawn does not grow in the rainy season or during droughts, as this can stimulate rapid growth and make it look very uneven.
With these grass care tips, it is very simple to grow a lawn. The only thing to keep in mind is that maintenance is an important part of any garden care and thus the more you maintain it, the better it will look.