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What is Centipede Grass?

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Centipede grass is a coarse, low-growing grass that is ideal for warm climates. Due to its low maintenance and ability to tolerate droughts, it is one of the most popular types of lawn grass available. The scientific name for the grass species is Eremochloa ophiuroides. Continue reading to learn about the benefits and maintenance needs of centipede grass.

Benefits of Centipede Grass

Centipede grass gets its name from its characteristic low, upright stems. These are said to resemble the appearance of a centipede. Though other grass strains are softer to the touch, centipede grass is perhaps the most hearty and easy to maintain species when it comes to lawn care. The grass is slow to grow, which can reduce the amount of mowing necessary. Low ground growth also makes centipede grass a hearty grass that can survive in a wide range of temperatures. Due to its superior resistance to drought, centipede grass is very popular in the Southwest region of the United States. It can also tolerate mild cold.

The density and health of centipede grass also helps choke out invasions from weeds. Though not as visually appealing as some grasses, the medium to light green color can be very attractive.

Maintenance of Centipede Grass

Maintenance of centipede grass is fairly easy. A single yearly fertilization is typically plenty to spur sufficient growth and health. Iron sulfate or chelate supplements may also be necessary in soils with high pH or sand concentration. However, over-fertilization should be avoided, as this can damage the grass. Applying herbicides in early spring can help minimize crabgrass and other weeds.

In terms of mowing, centipede grass is healthiest at 1.5 to 2 inches in length. Mowing too short can deteriorate strength and result in patchy areas. Using a bag catcher when mowing is also recommended. This is because dead grass can lead to insufficient aeration. For this same reason, a good lawn raking is recommended at the beginning of spring.

Though resistant to drought, centipede grass should be properly watered in periods of low rainfall. When dealing with seedlings, the ground should be kept moist to promote proper growth. Seedling soil should be watered to a depth of four to eight inches to create a deep root system that maximizes the potential for long-term health.

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