Ultimate Guide to Centipede Grass

is centipedegrass good for lawns care

I’ve been working with plenty of different grass types out there, and one of them that has always piqued my interest is centipede grass. I’ve noticed that this grass is very unique, and to be quite honest, the name also piques my interest. This has actually led me to create my ultimate guide to centipede grass.

So with that being said, I hope you have an idea as to what I’ll be going over today. I’ll be breaking down all the myths, facts, and qualities of centipede grass for you. Oh and while the name may be intimidating, trust me on this one, centipede grass can actually be very easy to work with.

Also, I’ll be breaking this post up into several different sections for your convenience. I know that a lot of you will have different levels of knowledge about this type of grass, so I want to make sure that my ultimate guide to centipede grass doesn’t bore you.

So now that you know a little bit about what I’ll be showing you today, let’s get right down to the details.

Are you ready?

Centipede grass is a warm-season grass that grows very well in southeastern regions. It tends to have a bright green color, and when left alone, the stems can reach about 3 to 5 inches in height. If you live in the right climate, centipede grass can make a great lawn and is very easy to maintain.

Check out my full range of guides for different grass varieties.

What does centipede grass look like?

The first thing I need to go over is what centipede grass looks like. This is due to the fact that you’ll need to know what you’re working with, so I want to make sure that you can spot it. Let’s take a look, shall we?

What color is centipede grass?

The best way to determine which type of grass you’re working with is by taking a look at the color. Now, I know that most grass is green, but each type of grass actually has its own shade of green. As for centipede grass, you’ll notice that it posses a very bright green color.

This does depend on the soil, though, because if it does lack nutrients it can end up turning yellow.

What about the size, texture, and thickness?

I also want to spend some time breaking down the other physical traits of centipede grass. As I said before, most grass types are green, so sometimes it can actually help to take a look at some other physical qualities of centipede grass.

Here is a look at some of the other distinguishing qualities of centipede grass:

  • It will usually grow to around 3 to 5 inches if left alone (stems)
  • It will spread through stolons
  • It looks like a thick sod
  • It can become yellow with a lack of nutrients

So if you keep these traits in mind, you should have no problem determining whether or not you’re working with centipede grass.

Photo by Forest & Kim Starr

Check out my full article on pros and cons of centipede grass.

Is centipede grass a good lawn?

Now that you know about what it looks like, you might be curious about using it as a lawn. Therefore, in this section, I’ll be breaking down the facts about using centipede grass as a lawn. Let’s get right to the facts.

Does it make a good lawn?

To be blunt, this really comes down to the climate. One thing I will say, though, is that if you live in the southeastern United States, centipede grass will make for a fine lawn. This is due to the fact that it looks nice, and is very easy to manage.

Yes, centipede grass can definitely make a good lawn.

Types of centipede grass

I’ve worked with a lot of grass, as I’ve said already, which means that I’m well versed in every type of centipede grass. Yes, you heard that right, there are multiple different types of centipede grass. Luckily, when it comes down to it, most types of centipede grass will function the same way.

How many types of centipede grass are there?

I’ll be breaking this section down into a list in just a moment, but as a quick heads up, there are about 5 types of mainstream centipede grasses out there.

Here is a quick look at each of the types:

  • Oaklawn
  • Raleigh centipede grass
  • Tifblair
  • Tensesse Hardy
  • AU Centennial

Also, you should keep in mind that Centiseed is not a unique type of grass, but just a patented name brand seeding. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Check out my full range of guides for different grass varieties.

How long does it take centipede grass to grow?

When it comes to seeding any grass, you’ll want to consider how long it will take to grow. This is why I want to set some time aside to take a look at how long it can take for centipede grass to grow. Let’s take a look.

How long is the process of seeding to germination?

I’ve noticed that centipede grass can take a very long time to germinate. I’m not sure why, but even if the soil conditions are met, it can take up to a whole month for seeds to germinate. Now, with that being said, it can be quicker in some rare cases.

How long could germination take in conditions that aren’t ideal?

If one month sounds like a long time to wait for germination, well, you’re in for a wild surprise. This is due to the fact that centipede grass can take even longer to germinate if the conditions are not ideal. I’ve actually seen it take up to 2 or 3 months, so I would definitely recommend growing centipede grass in the right climate.

How long does it take centipede grass to turn into a nice sod?

Finally, you’ll probably want to consider the amount of time it will take for centipede grass to turn into a nice sod. This is especially true if you’ll be using it for a lawn, right? Unfortunately, to be quite blunt, it can take about 2 or 3 years for centipede grass to fully become a nice sod.

For a warm-season grass, centipede grass can take a very long time to grow. For the best results, I would definitely make sure the soil is in the right condition.

When to plant centipede grass?

If you’ll be planting centipede grass, something you should consider is the best time to actually lay the seed down. There are a couple of answers for this, so let’s take a look at some good opportunities to plant some centipede grass.

If planting in the spring

Centipede grass is a warm season grass, which means that it thrives in warmer temperatures. So with that being said, if you need to plant it during the spring, make sure you wait till the late spring months like May. Also, always make sure that you wait until after the final frosting period.

Check out my ultimate spring lawn care guide.

What about planting centipede grass in the summer?

If you’ll be planting centipede grass in the summer, you’ll have a bit more freedom. This is due to the fact that temperatures should be more permitting, so be sure to use your best judgment based on your area. As for my recommendation, I would plant centipede grass in the early or mid-summer months.

Why? Because planting centipede grass too close to the winter can cause it to take much longer to germinate.

Why is it called centipede grass?

why is it called centipede grass?

Check out my article on centipede v st augustine grass.

Lots of grass types have unique names, but centipede grass definitely has an interesting name. So for all of you that are as curious as I was, I want to take a look at why this is the case. So let’s take a look at how centipede grass earned its name.

It all comes down to the stems

The stems of centipede grass grow in such a way that actually resembles a centipede. Now, obviously it still looks like grass, but you’ll know what I mean when you actually see the stems. Also, the stems tend to creep up, which is another reason as to why centipede grass is named the way it is.

So… does it attract centipedes?

I’m sure that some of you may have thought that this grass actually attracted centipedes. I mean, I get that, the name suggests it.

The good news is that centipede grass doesn’t actually attract centipedes, so don’t panic, it’s just the stems look like centipedes.

If you thought there was some crazy answer to this, well, I hope this answer has brought you some relief.

What type of grass is centipede?

One thing I also want to disclose, and I’ve hinted at this already, is that centipede grass is a warm season grass. I know I’ve touched on this, but in this section, I want to set some time aside to talk about what that actually means. You ready?

What is a warm season grass?

As I just mentioned, centipede grass is a warm season grass. This means that centipede grass will hold up to warmer climates much better than colder climates. Now, with that being said, if it happens to get too cold centipede grass can actually lie dormant.

The main takeaway from this should be that centipede grass is best suited for warmer climates. More specifically, the southern parts of the US.

Check out my ultimate guide to warm season grasses.

How tall should centipede grass be cut?

If you’re going to be using centipede grass as a lawn, or really for any application, one thing you’ll need to know is how much mowing it can handle. Therefore, in this section, I’ll be showing you some of the heights I would recommend mowing centipede grass to.

What is the average height?

The average height really depends on your climate, but in most cases, there is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow. Now, with that being said, I would recommend cutting centipede grass down to about 1.5 inches at the most. Also, if you want to play it safe, 2 inches is definitely a safe mow height.

Check out my full article on some of the best mowers for your lawn.

What about fresh centipede grass?

Fresh centipede grass tends to grow at a slower pace. This means that you need to baby it a bit more. Therefore, in this case, I would recommend mowing it down to 3 inches. This will give the stems enough height to continue growing.

When it comes to mowing, just make sure that you leave at least an inch or two of the stem. If you don’t, this could actually harm centipede grass

How often should you cut centipede grass?

Now that I’ve shown you the good mowing heights for centipede grass, I want to shift gears a little bit. That’s why, in this section, I want to take a look at how often you should mow centipede grass.

So what’s a good rule to follow?

For most types of centipede grass, I would definitely recommend mowing it once a week at the most. This is due to the fact that it can take a lot of time to establish itself. While this may be the case for a fully grown centipede grass lawn, if it’s still growing, I would recommend mowing once every other week.

I’ve noticed that people tend to get a bit mow-happy, but with centipede grass, you really don’t need to go all out. It won’t grow very fast anyway, so once a week or once every other week could actually do the trick.

Does centipede grass go dormant?

When it comes to working with the different types of grass, one thing that everyone wants to know is if a type of grass will go dormant. That’s why, in this section, I’ll be trying to break this down for you.

Does it enter a dormant state?

The tricky thing about centipede grass is that it doesn’t actually enter a truly dormant state. This means that if it’s exposed to cold temperatures for too long, it can actually end up taking quite a bit of damage.

What temperature does centipede grass go dormant?

Now that you know centipede grass will go into a dormant-like state, I want to set some time aside to help you understand when that occurs. You can look at this from a seasonal stance or even a temperature stance. Now, with that being said, I’ll use a temperature measurement -this way you can gauge it out based on your climate.

What temperature will cause centipede grass to enter this state?

Centipede grass will enter a dormant like state once soil temperatures begin to drop under 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, once this occurs, keep in mind that your centipede grass will sustain quite a bit of damage. When the spring comes around, and if the grass is still alive, I would definitely recommend some overseeding.

Does centipede grass need a lot of water?

Check out the answer to the question of will watering your lawn in the sunshine burn it?

If you’ll be using centipede grass as a lawn, you’ll need to know what type of maintenance it requires, right? Therefore, I’m going to dedicate this section to the water requirements of centipede grass. Let’s take a look.

water centipede lawn grass with sprinkler

How much water does it need?

Centipede grass is actually more resistant than you may think. To be quite honest with you, centipede grass can actually survive for quite a while without water. While this may be the case, it will lose its color if you don’t apply at least 1.5 inches of water each week.

So does centipede grass need a lot of water? The short answer is no, but you should definitely stay on top of it.

Check out my article on how to water your grass with a sprinkler system.

How do you thicken centipede grass?

I know that centipede grass takes a long time to grow in thick, but once it does, you’ll definitely love the result. Now, sometimes things don’t go your way, so I want to use this section to help you nail the thickness of centipede grass. Let’s jump right in.

Make sure the soil and climate is alright

The first thing you’ll need to do, and this applies to damaged patches or patches you just seeded, is make sure that the soil is in good shape. This means that you’ll want to make sure your temperature is all good and that you have proper irrigation.

You can try overseeding certain areas

If you notice that a patch of centipede grass has thinned out a bit, you can also try overseeding the affected area. This can help promote thickness and can encourage some more growth.

Also, keep in mind that centipede grass does spread well on its own, which means that waiting may be a viable option as well.

Check out my full article on how to make your lawn green and thick.

Best time to overseed centipede grass?

Overseeding is something that can be quite beneficial to your lawn. This is due to the fact that it can increase the thickness of grass, but it can also help centipede grass make its way out of dormancy. So let’s take a look at some good times to do some overseeding.

So when is the best time?

The best time for overseeding, and this actually applies to most types of grass, is during the late summer or early autumn months. This is due to the fact that temperatures during these months will be perfect for the process of germination. So if you want to do some overseeding, I would definitely recommend waiting until the later summer months.

What causes centipede grass to turn yellow?

As I’ve mentioned a few times throughout this post, centipede grass has a lot of unique traits. Unfortunately, one of those traits is actually centipede grass turning yellow. So in this section, I’ll be explaining how and why this may happen.

What is the cause?

The best way to provide you with some of the factors that can cause this, I have a quick list of some potential issues you can run into.

So let’s take a look:

  • Too much nitrogen
  • Too much phosphorus
  • Iron levels that are too low
  • PH levels being too low
  • PH levels being too high

So when it comes down to it, you need to make sure that your soil has the nutrients it needs.

Check out my article on how to naturally make your lawn green.

How to get centipede grass to spread?

Centipede grass spreads through the use of aggressive stolons. This means that it will do most of its spreading underground, and it can be quite aggressive. While this may be the case, I know that some of you might want to speed this process up, so I’ll show you a way to get that done.

You can overseed

If you need your centipede grass to spread and need it to spread quickly, you can always try a bit of overseeding. This can cause a patch to thicken and can help promote the spread of centipede grass through additional stolons.

Make sure the conditions are right

Centipede grass is actually quite aggressive and will use stolons to spread on its own. If this is done right, you won’t really have to worry about working too hard to get it to spread. Unfortunately, if the climate is not suitable, you might need to rethink your strategy.

To be quite honest with you all, I would definitely suggest letting centipede grass spread on its own. It has the stolons to do it, and I know it takes time, but it will happen eventually.


I know that I’ve gone over quite a bit about centipede grass, but I just want to make sure that you know what you’re dealing with. I know that having a lawn can be harder than it seems, so I hope that my ultimate guide to centipede grass has cleared up any questions you may have had.

Now, with that being said, I know that I chewed your ear off quite a bit today. Therefore, if you ever feel a bit lost, please feel free to come back to this post as a guide.

Now that you know the facts, do you think that centipede grass will work for you?


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