Centipede decline is a name used to describe a number of common problems observed on Centipedegrass. There is no one single or individual cause for Centipede decline which can occur after several years of good turf. Centipede turf will begin to look poor either early on in the spring or during times of drought stress during the summer. Around the edge of where the Centipede is still green the die back will look chlorotic or yellowish in appearance and may eventually die. In the cooler wet spring and fall Brown Patch may occur resulting in circular patches 2 to 6 feet in diameter. Nematodes may also infect the Centipede resulting in only weeds growing in the area affected. Fairy Rings are another possibility as well as Ground Pearls. Localized dry spots causing drought stress in the summer will also lead to problems. However the single most important factor in Centipede decline is nutrition or over fertilization.
|*Figure 1- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Centipedegrass has a light green color and over fertilizing it to turn dark green can lead over time to problems. Soil pH can also lead to Centipede decline. An acid soil of 5.5 is preferred and as the pH goes up above 6, iron availability becomes less. This can lead to the turf looking chlorotic or yellowish. Thatch build up can also be a problem thus limiting the amount of thatch build up on Centipede lawns is also of importance. Instead of the roots being in the soil and deep they will start to grow in the thatch leaving them exposed to the elements. Weed Man can help by doing timely aerations every year. Shade can also lead to decline as Centipede grass is not very shade tolerant. Drought can lead to Centipede decline as it is not very drought tolerant.
Certain management practices have an effect on controlling or reducing the chances of Centipede decline. These include fertilization, soil pH and other cultural practices. Weed Man's exclusive brand of slow release nitrogen feeds the plant as it needs it through the root. This will help ensure healthy turf without leading to problems later on. Proper irrigation of the turf when needed instead of daily watering is important as well as proper mowing practices. Proper mowing practices are the most important when dealing with Centipede decline. Make sure that you don't remove more than 1/3rd of the leaf at each cutting. Ensure the mower blade is sharp and mow at a length of 1-2 inches, during the heat of the summer you may want to raise the mower up ½ an inch.
Your locally owned and operated Weed Man dealer is here to help. Weed Man's turf specialists can recognize Centipede decline and make recommendations to help your lawn. Weed Man's specially blended slow release fertilizer applied at the right time is the first step in preventing Centipede decline. Weed Man's fertilizer helps create healthy turf by slowly feeding the lawn as it needs it encouraging deep rooting systems. Your local Weed Man dealer will also be able advise you on any other treatments or cultural practices that may be necessary to help your turf remain healthy and vigorous.
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