BUY157_Maintenance

MARCH through MAY

Mowing

As soon as the grass greens up, mow the lawn to a 1” height of cut. Mow before the grass gets above 1-1/2″ tall, and do not remove more than 1/3 of the blades’ height at one time. Due to the potential fire hazard and possible injury to the lawn, do not burn off centipedegrass to remove excessive debris.

Fertilization

DO NOT apply nitrogen at this time. A yellow appearance to the grass may indicate an iron deficiency. To enhance the turf’s color, spray iron (ferrous) sulfate (2 ounces in water per 1,000 square feet of lawn area) or a chelated iron source as needed. Follow label directions.

Irrigation

Proper irrigation now may prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer. A dark, bluish-gray color, footprinting (when footprints on the lawn remain after 30 minutes) and wilted, folded or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water. Centipedegrass needs a weekly application of 1” to 1-1/4” of water per week. On sandy soils, it requires more frequent watering — for example, 1/2″ of water every third day.

Water the soil to a depth of 4” to 6”. Probe with a screwdriver to determine moisture depth. Depending on your irrigation system, it may be necessary to irrigate an area for three to five hours in order to apply 1” of water (it takes 620 gallons of water to apply 1” of water per 1,000 square feet).

Because clay soils and slopes absorb water slowly, irrigate these areas until runoff begins to occur, and then shut off the water. Wait one-half hour or until the water has been absorbed, and then continue irrigating in this start-and-stop process until the desired depth of moisture or amount of water is obtained.

Weed Control

By the time dogwoods are in full bloom, apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass and foxtail.

In May or at least three weeks after the centipedegrass has greened up, apply postemergence herbicides as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, etc. Centipedegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g. 2,4-D and MSMA), so follow the label directions, and use with caution.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs and armyworms, and control them if necessary. To determine if white grubs are present, apply a soapy flush solution. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Thatch Removal

In late May, power rake (vertical-mow) to remove thatch (layer of undecayed grass) if necessary. A 2” or 3” blade spacing set 1/4″ deep in one direction works best. Do not use a power rake with 1” blade spacing, since severe turf injury may result.

Renovation

In May, patch bare areas using sod. To ensure the establishment of the newly repaired lawn area, keep the sod continually moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times a day.

JUNE through AUGUST

Mowing

Follow the same mowing guidelines as for March through May. Mow the lawn at 1” before the grass gets above 1-1/2” tall.

Fertilization

In mid-June, fertilize with 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet (once a year) using a high-potassium fertilizer (e.g., 5-5-15, 6-6-12, 8-8-24). To determine the amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area, divide 50 by the FIRST number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 5-5-15 fertilizer, divide 50 by 5. The result is 10 pounds of product to be applied per 1,000 square feet in order to supply 1/2 pound of nitrogen.

In coastal locations, an additional fertilization in August may enhance performance. Fertilizers without phosphorus (e.g., 15-0-14, 8-0-24) are preferred if soils exhibit moderate-to-high levels of phosphorus.

A yellow appearance to the grass may indicate an iron deficiency. Spray iron (ferrous) sulfate (2 ounces in water per 1,000 square feet) or a chelated iron source to enhance color as needed. Follow label directions.

Irrigation

Water to prevent drought stress. About 1” of water per application each week is needed for growing centipedegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering (i.e., l/2” of water every third day).

Weed Control

Apply postemergence herbicides as needed for control of summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, such as knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, etc. Centipedegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D and MSMA), so follow label directions, and use with caution. Do not apply herbicides unless the grass and weeds are actively growing and the lawn is not suffering from drought stress. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs and armyworms, and control them if necessary. August is the best time to control grubs because this is when they are small and close to the soil surface. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

SEPTEMBER through NOVEMBER

Mowing

Mow the lawn at 1” before grass gets above 1-1/2” tall. Raise the mowing height to 1-1/2” inches several weeks before the first expected frost.

Fertilization

Four to six weeks before the first expected frost, fertilize with 1 pound of potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60) or 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50).

DO NOT lime centipedegrass unless recommended by a soil test.

Irrigation

Water to prevent drought stress. About 1” of water per application each week is sufficient for growing centipedegrass. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering (i.e., 1/2″ of water every third day). Water following the onset of dormancy (browning of foliage) if needed to prevent excessive dehydration.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs and armyworms; control if necessary. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

DECEMBER through FEBRUARY

Mowing

Dormant centipedegrass does not need to be mowed. Remove lawn debris (rocks, sticks and leaves). Due to the potential fire hazard and possible injury to the lawn, do not burn off centipedegrass to remove excessive debris.

Fertilization

DO NOT fertilize centipedegrass at this time. Every three years, submit soil samples for analysis to determine nutrient requirements. Be sure to specify centipedegrass. Apply lime or sulfur if suggested (based on soil test) to raise or reduce soil pH respectively. DO NOT lime centipedegrass unless recommended by a soil test.

Irrigation

Water to prevent excessive dehydration.

Weed Control

Apply postemergence broadleaf herbicides as necessary to control chickweed, henbit, etc. Centipedegrass is sensitive to certain herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D and MSMA), so follow the label directions for reducing rates, and use with caution. Selected herbicides (e.g., atrazine or simazine) can be applied in November or December to control annual bluegrass (Poa annua) and several winter annual broadleaf weeds. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.