Whitehall Centipede – Maintenance Guide
Don’t make the mistake of mowing your centipede lawn too short. Keep your lawn between 1.5–2.5 inches in height with a rotary mower that has a sharpened blade. Mowing below 1.5 inches will stress your centipede, which may not recover. Never remove more than ⅓ of the leaf blade.
Don’t overwater. In the active growing season, centipede needs about 1 inch of water a week from natural rainfall or irrigation. If you apply any granular fertilizer or control product, you will need to water it in. This is a sufficient amount of water for the week. Overwatering may promote disease outbreak. Conduct an irrigation audit to evaluate how much water is being delivered to different areas of your lawn.
For optimal results, feed your lawn during the spring season.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will prevent summer annual weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass from plaguing your lawn and garden. If you notice any current weeds, control them with a post-emergent herbicide. Centipede is sensitive to herbicides with 2,4-D, dicamba, MCPP and MSMA. Use a post-emergent herbicide with Atrazine as its active ingredient.
Apply a broad-spectrum insecticide to prevent spring insects from appearing or to control any current spring insects like spittlebugs or white grubs. White grubs may be active at this time. If you see any white grubs, apply a systemic insecticide.
Apply a systemic fungicide at a preventive rate to keep disease from taking hold of your lawn. You may begin to see disease outbreaks as your centipede begins to green up. Apply a systemic fungicide for treatment. Do not apply fertilizer until you’ve applied a systemic fungicide at a curative rate and your grass has recovered.
Centipede should be kept at a mowing height of 1.5–2.5 inches. When mowing, never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. If you remove more than that, you will stress the grass and it may go brown for a short time. If you are returning from vacation, you may have to mow multiple times to get the grass back to the desired height. Wait about three to five days between each mowing. Again, don’t mow below 1.5 inches.
Do not overwater the grass. Centipede only needs about one inch of water weekly. Water for longer periods of time, less frequently, and in the early morning hours. Take rainfall into consideration.
For optimal results, feed your lawn monthly during the summer season by applying fertilizer once every three months.
It is not recommended that you apply an herbicide at this time because when temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the herbicide will damage the grass. Common weeds to look out for include knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, crabgrass, goosegrass, dallisgrass, nutsedge and sandbur.
Check for and control any white grubs. Apply Merit to prevent grub worms and apply GrubEx or Dylox 6.2 to treat grub worms. If you use a granular variety, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption. Calculate that watering into your weekly watering amount. August is the best time to control grubs because they are small and feeding near the soil surface. Other insects to look out for include mole crickets, chinch bugs, spittlebugs and nematodes.
Check for brown patch, dollar spot and fairy ring. Treat with a broad-spectrum fungicide like Heritage if needed. If you use a granular variety, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption. Calculate that watering into your weekly watering amount.
During the fall, mowing will occur less often—keeping your centipede grass slightly higher that the regular 1.5–2.5 inches height will encourage deeper root growth for winter.
Water less as temperatures drop—too much water will lead to disease. Water to prevent drought stress while grass is actively growing and after the beginning stages of dormancy to prevent dehydration.
For optimal results, feed your lawn monthly during the fall season once every three months.
Apply pre-emergent herbicides to control winter annual and perennial weeds like chickweed, henbit, Poa annua, sedge, crabgrass or goosegrass. Apply post-emergent herbicides only when weeds are present. Since centipede is sensitive to certain herbicides (2,4-D and MSMA), follow label directions and use with caution.
Check for and control any white grubs. Treat with an insecticide if needed. If you use a granular variety, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption.
It is recommended you apply a fungicide at preventative rates as this will help the grass enter colder months in a healthier condition. If you have had a fungus before, you may need multiple applications in affected areas. Consider mapping those areas because fungicide treatment can be expensive. If you use a granular variety, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption.