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How best to seed Tifblair Centipede lawn?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by freedomdepartment, May 20, 2010.

  1. freedomdepartment

    freedomdepartment LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Hi all - I'm a homeowner fixing to plant a new lawn, of Tifblair Centipede (fell in love with it when I went down to the NC State University Turfgrass Research Station down on Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh and walked around on it for a while), and would like to know to do it best.

    I am located just south of Centerville, NC - in the northeastern part of the state near the fall line from the piedmont onto the coastal plain, USDA hardiness zone 7B, about 44-46 inches of rain per year. Soil type is sandy loam, very acidic, and considered much more fertile than the red clay soil in surrounding towns. Generally level with some very slight sloping. Good drainage. No shade.

    I am going to be using the Pennington seed they sell at Lowe's, which is Certified Tifblair Centipede, 99.9% weed-free, Penn-Coated, and with BIO-170 mulch mixed in.

    I've heard that the biggest mistake I can make is to overfertilize. So should I not lime the soil, not put compost or peat moss down, and not use starter fertilizer?

    Also- in the past several summers, we've been having record droughts combined with record heat waves...i.e. no rain for weeks at a time, plus temperatures in the 90s and above. Will Tifblair Centipede survive this? I don't have an irrigation system, and will not be putting one in...so this needs to survive on nature alone or not at all.

    Also, can I use a dethatcher on this grass, or will that tear it up?

  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,248

    Let's start with the end paragraph and work back. Without irrigation or being able to water the germinating seed--game over. Centipede is one grass that loves water. It will not germinate until the nights get to be somewhere around 70 which is June/July. If you plant it, and I'm sure you will, do not use any fertilizer, mix the seed (Purple) with a good course sand and that bag will only cover about 500sq.ft. If you use a drop spreader, they seem to put down more of an even coverage. I've planted it and it does germinate well; looks good but needs water; else, it will fry and die. DO NOT LIME SOIL! Centipede likes about 5.5-6.0pH. Have you tested your soil for acidity. Cover the seed with a little sphagnum peat moss which has natural acidity. And you, won't have to worry about removing anything like straw. When the seed sprouts in about two weeks of heat, keep it watered for at least two weeks before slacking off to about 1.5"/week in sandy soils. With some clay in there you may be able to get away with 1" of water. Just watch the grass--if it begins to close, water it if you can or learn to play "Taps" on the bugle.

    Oh yea--no dethatcher for a while...centipede spreads by stolons (runners floating on top of the ground). You want those left and not pulled up by a machine. I gave a card to a guy on a lawn tractor pulling one of those rakes that had about 3' of St. Augustine stolons bundled inside it. Big guy, made him mad, I think he was drunk anyway.


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