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Applying fert to Centipede right now?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by PHS, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    A customer of mine who I maintain shrub beds for stopped me today and told me that the Scott's guy was out today and fertilized her Centipede lawn and asked me what I thought about it (if it was too early). I asked if she had an invoice to see if she wasn't just confused about the treatment. Sure enough on the invoice, some Poly-S fertilizer + iron. I'm not in the practice of bad-mouthing other companies to people so I just said I wasn't sure why and that I wait until April to start ferting based on university recommendations and left it at that.

    Usually lawns here don't start greening up until March so it seems pretty early to me. Any comments?

    It would be nice to be doing some more invoicing this month but I don't believe in wasting customers money if it's not a sound practice.
  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,253

    PHS: Centipede only requires 1lb/N/1000sq ft/year. It thrives best in "Poor Soil" Almost all university programs call for .5lb about two weeks AFTER green up and then again about Aug 15th plus a little iron. Of course, if the lawn is heavily iirrigated another light application could be done about June. St. Augustine loves Nitrogen like sailors love rum. St. Augustine turf requires it about every 6 weeks even way into the cooler months like November/December.
  3. tbju0000

    tbju0000 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1


    My interest in lawn care started when my own Centipede lawn died (3 times) here in North Florida. Only the 1st time was my fault! Really!

    How to kill centipede:

    1) Overseed heavily with winter rye. You must learn to love brown dormant centipede from Dec/Jan to Apr/May.

    2) Drive roofing trucks across the lawn. Believe the contractors when they say "centipede is like St. Augustine - It'll grow right into the sand we put in the ruts".

    3) Overfertilize. After re-sodding 10,000 sq ft after 1 and 2 above; and turning the lawn health over to a "professional", he insisted on fertilizing 4x per year. Each time he applied N, the grass would grow rapidly x a few weeks, then turn yellow and die back. After which he would say, "must need more N". He was fired.

    After hearing from Univ of FL that centipede grows best with NO fertilizer, we asked a different "professional" not to fertilize at all, just do weed control. First told us "there is no such thing as only weed control - everything comes with at least 8% Nitrogen". Next told us "as long as it is organic, it will be safe" - and recommended chicken manure! Is there anything hotter than chicken manure!? He was fired.

    Now after 3 years of ZERO fertilizer despite the heavy clay soil (and some sand in old ruts...), the lawn is beautiful. It looks better every year.

    The only thing requiring upkeep (beyond mowing) now:

    A) Grub control. The grass doesn't care, but the armadillos will destroy the lawn otherwise. Will be trying Dylox Dimethyl Phosphate this spring.

    B) Weed control - Granular atrazine has NOT worked well at all. I like granular due to ease of application; but since it doesn't work too well, I guess it's time to try the spray products. Also will be trying Vantage for the areas where the weed bermudagrass has out-competed the centipede.

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