Centipedegrass is native to China and southeast Asia. It was first introduced
into the United States circa 1916 from seed collected by Frank N. Meyer
in South China. Centipede grass has since become widely grown in the
southeastern United States from South Carolina to Florida and westward
along the Gulf Coast states and Texas.
Centipede grass' popularity as a lawn grass stems from its adaptation
to reduced fertility conditions and its low maintenance requirements.
Where Centipedegrass is adapted and properly managed, it has few serious
pest problems. Centipede grass is particularly well adapted to the sandy, acid
soils of southeastern United States. Its westward movement is somewhat
limited by severe iron deficiencies that develop in the alkaline soils
of the arid regions. Centipede's northward movement is restricted
by low temperatures. Centipede grass is slightly more cold tolerant than
St. Augustine grass, but extended periods of 5°F or less will likely
kill Centipede grass.
Centipede grass is moderately shade tolerant, but grows best in full
sunlight. It is not as salt tolerant as St. Augustine grass or Bermuda grass.
Centipede thrives on moderately acid soils, pH 5 — 6. Above pH 7.0 iron
becomes a limiting factor and supplemental applications of iron may be
Centipede grass does not enter a true dormant state during winter months
and is severely injured by intermittent cold and warm periods during
fluctuating spring temperatures. Hard freezes kill the leaves and young
stolons of Centipede grasses. Centipede grass usually recovers as soon as temperatures
become favorable. Recurring cycles of cold and warm during the winter
months depletes its energy reserves and make's it susceptible to extreme
winterkill. Thus, its adaptation is limited to areas with mild winter
Centipede grass can be found throughout the West Indies, South America
and along some areas of the west coast of Africa. It can be successfully
grown in any of the areas where St. Augustine grass is adapted.
Winterization: Centipede grass does not need a late fall application
of fertilizer, often referred to as a "winterization feeding."
Centipede lawns may be over seeded in the fall with a cool-season grass
to create a temporary green lawn over the winter. Annual rye is a good
Cold tolerance: fair (damage possible below 15)
Shade tolerance: fair/good
Rate of establishment: slow
Mowing height: medium
First mowing, do not mow Centipede grass close before the growing season
Aeration: may be aerated any time during the growing season,
except during drought conditions. Avoid aeration during the green-up
phase in early spring.