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Centipedegrass Problems

Centipedegrass Problems

Centipedegrass, also called the "lazy man's grass" is a favored variety of lawn grass in southern United States. It is easy to maintain, of course, but it does come with its own problems. What follows are things that bother your centipedegrass lawn.
Gardenerdy Staff
Centipedegrass found its way to America from south China in the early years of the 20th century. It has been topping the popularity charts in the southern states, ever since. The main reasons behind this were that centipedegrass thrived in warmer climates of the south and it didn't demand frequent mowing. A little care made this grass variety happy; smothering it with frequent attention is what caused the damage. Let us take a look at some centipedegrass problems.

Factors Causing Problems in Centipedegrass

Moisture: Your centipedegrass lawn loves the sunshine. Problems usually arise when the temperature drops in fall and spring. The roots of this grass run deep, making it easy to absorb moisture. If watered frequently, your grass can wilt and die. Make sure you take into account the fall in temperature and the moisture content in the soil during the colder months.

Pests and Insects: Common insects that feed on grass are not a prime cause of concern. You should watch out for certain bugs like nematodes, ground pearls, white grubs, mole crickets or army worms that are hard to spot and end up causing maximum damage. The key is to do an insect treatment in late summer.

Fungal Diseases: Common ailments affecting centipedegrass like brown patch, pythium blight, collar spot and spring dead spot are fungal in nature. Excess moisture causes these fungal diseases. Though hard to identify, a wilted, shriveled or discolored appearance are giveaways of diseased grass. Using fertilizers in the prescribed amount should undo the damage.

Incorrect Fertilizers: A very touchy area, as a zealous dose of fertilizers causes an overkill and being stingy is not recommended either. In fact, you need to do it just twice a year and sparingly. Do not commit the folly of profusely using nitrogen-based fertilizers to deepen the color of your lawn. You will only be exposing it to maintenance problems in the years to come.

Centipedegrass Decline

There are several causes of centipedegrass decline, with human negligence topping the list. To begin with, this grass is relatively easy to maintain, but ignoring it completely is not recommended either. You need to watch out for the following warning signs and prevent your centipedegrass from dying.

Brown Patch: It is a fungal disease that affects centipedegrass usually as the spring sets in. The affected part mostly appears discolored and has a circular pattern. The right use of fungicides should set this infection to rest.

Thatch Layer Formation: A thatch layer refers to the build up of dead plants at the base. The stolons from the centipedegrass take time to decompose because of their high lignin content, along with stems and roots that cause a thatch layer to form. This restricts the water percolation, favoring insects and pests, ultimately resulting in death.

Iron Chlorosis: It means that your grass is deficient in iron. If the pH level in the soil crosses 6.0, the iron levels decline, giving a straw-colored tinge to the grass. High levels of phosphorous in fertilizers also bring about a dip in iron levels. You may be tempted to make use of nitrogen to make it greener, but do refrain from doing so as it will contribute to thatch development.

Root Conditions: Roots of centipedegrass grow deep in the soil in search of moisture. Excessively dry or wet soil conditions hamper their natural growth, causing the grass to die. It is, therefore, imperative that your grass should be watered in moderation. Along with this, the presence of pests and insects, and poor nutrition can lead to weak root systems.

Mowing: Mistakes in determining the mowing height can injure centipedegrass. Ideally, mow this grass up to an inch or an inch and a half. You must allow it to grow for a couple of inches after this, before you think of mowing it again. Regular mowing will reduce the formation of thatch layers. Remember not to mow your grass during their growing season, which is at the end of winter.

Irrigation: Extremely dry weather is detrimental for centipedegrass survival. If your lawn is not watered well during a very dry spell, it can cause weeds to grow, which is obviously a bad sign. As mentioned before, this grass thrives in the sunshine, so do not plant it beneath trees with thick foliage. It is necessary to water your lawn just right, so as to avoid any disasters caused by extra dampness.

Any green area in your home requires special care and attention. Your centipedegrass lawn is no different. The best part about it is that it does not call for a lot of effort. All you need to do is to follow the tips on centipedegrass care precisely, and watch your lawn brighten up your outdoors.