Advise for seeding Centipede

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RAlmaroad, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,216

    I'm in the processing of moving to SC. The grass here in Tenn is easy compared to the turfgrass in SC. We're use to Fescue, Bluegrass, etc.
    Could someone advise me as to how and when to overseed the thin Centipede stand of grass in the yards. I've put in a great irrigation system,(4 stations) so watering is not a problem. When should I overseed? What type of seed to use? and what about fertlizer. Almost anything would help. Right now I combating years of neglect, weeds, moles, and pitbull trying to attack.
    Advise and suggestion welcome, appreciated and needed.
    Thanks,
    Roy
     
  2. gpenny

    gpenny LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    Centipede seed will not germinate until the soil temperature is around 75-80 F. In central S.C. this is usually in mid-May. The seed can be bought at Lowes or Walmart and is very small (like pepper). Mix the seed with white sand before broadcasting so you can get even coverage. For small areas just broadcast by hand. The trick to getting centipede to germinate is to keep it watered for at least two weeks! Do not let it dry out! The germinated seedliings remain almost unnoticable for about a month so don't be discouraged. I would not fertilized until the new grass is sufficiently far along so as not to burn. Centipede requires very little fertilization , Nitrogen is most important. Good luck!
     
  3. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,216

    Thanks, I put in a most wonderful irrigation system with 5 stations of watering. The water is free since I have a shallow well (I even install the wells with pumps). I can water every day but the day temps are so hot and am wondering if I should do a mid-day water of the freshly seeded lawns to keep them wet. A thing that I like to do is to cover the seed with spagnum peat moss to help retain moisture. Any suggestions on the watering or the cycles of watering. My sprinkler heads have a 45' throw. Roy
     
  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,216

    Oh yes, I would not trust the seed from Lowes anymore. I planted some this past May and it was Crabgrass or Johnsongrass--it was supposed to be Bermuda Grass. I'd rather pay Seedland and trust what they sell. Thanks Roy
     
  5. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    A couple of things to consider about Centepede. First it doesnt like high P fertilizers. If you are used to seeding fescues and bluegrasses, you might be tempted to use a high P starter fertilier, dont. A balanced ag grade fertilizer like 10/10/10 or 13/13/13 works just fine. Also, Centepede doesnt need or require large amounts of N. What Centepede does like is lots of K. Since it is wintertime and you wont be planting the seed for a few months, have a soil sample taken and list Centepede as the grass type. You can start getting the soil ready now by adding lime, if needed, so it has time to work its way down into the soil. As already said, Centepede is a very small and expensive seed. Be careful buying coated seed. The seed is coated with a clay which makes up half the listed weight, this means it takes twice as much seed to do the same job if you where using uncoated seed. Coated seed might look like a bargain until you have to buy twice as much to get the job done.

    Once planted, keep the seed moist, but not saturated, several light waterings a day is better than soaking the ground. Avoid runoff and standing water. Forget the deep watering techniques. Seed doesnt have roots and cant use the water deep in the ground. Once the seed has germinated change watering cycles from more frequent to less frequent with longer irrigation times until the grass is fully established, then irrigate deeply a couple of times a week. Once the grass matures, you can water deeply once a week to encourage deep root penetration. I have some good links saved on my other computer, which I aint close to right now. I will try and post them for you early in the week.
     
  6. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,216

    Thanks Mudstopper--look forward to the links. Roy
     
  7. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,216

    Hey Mudstopper: A 50 lb. bag of 6-12-12- has 3lbs of Nitrogen, 6lb. of Phosphate, and 6 lb. of Potash (K). Who makes something like 8-0-12?
    Or, what mix would you recommend. I have at times mixed my own, using lime as a filler, but I understand that Centipede is not too fond of lime and would rather have a slightly more acid dirt or here in SC--really sandy dirt.
     
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Here are the links about Centepede.

    http://www.ncagr.com/agronomi/sfn9.htm
    http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/turf/publications/centipede.html
    http://www.pikenursery.com/stories.php?loc=02-03-04
    http://www.clemson.edu/chester/local/kip/Articles/Fertilizing Centipede Grass Correctly.htm
    http://www.rlrouse.com/grass-seed.html
    http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Communications/news/March2003/NewsUse/Centipedegrass.asp

    The articles mention not using lime or P with the Centepede grass. I dont completely agree with this. If you are using lime just to adjust ph levels in the soil, then I feel the articles are correct about lime and Centeped grass, but if the soil is low in calcium, Centepede can benefit from the lime. Centepede spreads by stolons, but is also a big producer of seeds. P is very important in the development of those seeds. This doesnt mean that you should throw tons of lime or P on your soil, but soil testing is needed to determine if you have the minimum amounts of Ca and P. You can guess for years and never get your soil fertility to the correct levels, or you can save time and money by having a soil test done first and just applying what is needed. Also just because the articles claim Centepede grows best at a ph of 5.5 doesnt mean it wont grow at 6.5. You will find that if you get your base saturation levels of nutrients in a proper balance, ph wont be a factor in how well the Centepede thrives. the limiting factor will be in how you care for the lawn.
     

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