What shall I do to make centipede grow? Please help

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by tsh1773, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. tsh1773

    tsh1773 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    My expertise is in mowing, edging, trimming, etc but not renovating a lawn. I have a customer with 3300 sq ft that needs grass. She insists on centipede. The area is in total sun. The problem is she had 2 huge oaks cut down and the stumps ground up before she hired me and now she wants grass where the trees were. I moved almost all of the mulch from the stump grinding out of the area and put a thin layer of top soil down. Then I rented a seeder from Home Depot (she could not afford to sod the area, I tried) and layed down 3 lbs of seed. Some of it came up, some didnt and alot of it washed down the yard due to heavy downpours of rain. She wants me to "fix it". That seed is $28 per lb so this time I need to do it right. Should I just till the area and install more topsoil and peat moss or what. Any advice would be appreciated. TIA.
     
  2. T Edwards

    T Edwards LawnSite Member
    Posts: 230

    Forget the seed........it has a low germination rate and will take years to fill in. 3300 sq ft will require 7 pallets of sod. Your customer won't want to hear this but that's how it is.
     
  3. gpenny

    gpenny LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    Centipede seed is hard to germinate, but good results can be had with a little care. Don't just broadcast the seed and forget about it. I use a spike aerator to break up the surface. After seeding, use a dragmat to cover the seed. The most critical point is to keep the seed moist for at least 14 days. Centipede is a slow germinator and cannot tolerate any drying during a two week period. I have had good results with this method.
     
  4. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 850


    Agree. Buy seed and trying to start it just is not good business. For Centipede, it's sod or nothing. You should expect to pay about $95 to $110 a pallet (500 sqft) delivered.
     
  5. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 654

    I seeded my 1/2 acre lot with centipede about 5 years ago. I had to add 1/2 inch layer of dirt down and put the seed out. These seeds have to be atleast 1/8 inch under the surface of the dirt to germinate and it has to be atleast 8o degrees. The first year I saw very little growth....2nd year it started coming in pretty good ....3rd year almost filled in.....4th year looked like sod. I watered and fertilized regularly....it takes a long time to fill in...thats why a pallet is so expensive. The only advice I have for you is possibly talk her in to a few pallets of sod and checker board across the yard in the bare spots....good luck my friend
     
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Are you buying coated or uncoated seed. With the coated seed you are buying mostly clay and it will take twice as much to do the job. Also unlike most other grasses, Centepede doesnot like a lot of Phosphorous. Centepede is slow germinating and is usually mixed with bermuda. The bermuda acts as a nurse crop untill the Centepede gets established. The centepede will eventually overtake the bermuda as long as the soil fertility levels are kept favorable for the Centepede. Keeping N/P levels low will encourage the centepede. Higher K levels are also helpful. In other words dont feed the Bermuda. Here are a few links that will help
    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
     
  7. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,564


    ditto. i will not even consider messing with seed.
     

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