Centipede grass is a popular and hearty variety of grass that thrives in high temperatures and requires less upkeep than other species. Fertilization is a vital maintenance tool that can take your yard to the next level. However, centipede’s nutrient needs make it crucial to choose the right fertilizer. Furthermore, you must fertilize your lawn on the correct schedule. Applying the wrong centipede grass fertilizer or applying it at the incorrect time of year can damage your lawn.
What Type of Fertilizer Do I Need?
Centipede grass does not require extensive fertilization. Generally, you should apply a nitrogen-based fertilizer to your lawn. Additionally, make sure to stay away from potassium-rich mixes. The optimal fertilizer for your centipede lawn is a 15-0-15 mix. In brief, this means the suggested fertilizer mix will contain 15% Nitrogen, 0% Phosphorus, and 15% Potassium.
Here are two good options to choose from:
Fertilizers high in potassium can react with the iron in your soil and make it difficult for your lawn to process nutrients properly. If your soil has a Ph or phosphorus deficiency that you are trying to correct, you can use a 16-4-8 fertilizer. Addressing your soil’s Ph level will increase the effectiveness of your fertilizer applications. Many times, additional non-fertilizer-based Ph treatments are needed to solve deficiencies. Potassium should only be used on centipede grass if indicated in a soil sample test.
How Much Fertilizer Should I Apply?
We recommended to apply 1-2 pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer per 1,000 sq—ft per year. Depending on the turf’s condition, fertilizer can be used in one application or broken into multiple doses. Also, lawns with sandy or loose soil tend to need more fertilizer. Clay, or harder, soils will require less fertilizer annually.
Applying excess fertilizer may cause damage to your turf. Excess fertilizer can over stimulate grass growth and put your lawn at risk for suffering from pests, fungi, or weather. When it comes to fertilizer, more is not always better. Applying too much fertilizer can scorch or burn your lawn. A scorched lawn will turn yellow and begin to exhibit signs of distress. Many scorched lawns die, with surviving grass becoming susceptible to disease and insect attack
When Should I Apply Fertilizer?
Early Summer (Late April or Early May)
A nitrogen-based fertilizer should be applied in early summer after the lawn has begun to show signs of first growth. Apply .5 to 1 pound of 15-0-15 or 18-0-18 fertilizer per 1,000 sq. Ft to your yard with a hand spreader or push spreader. Early summer fertilization is an excellent opportunity to apply a weed and feed product to your lawn. Keep in mind these products contain fertilizer, and should be accounted for in your maintenance plan. Using a weed and feed and a pre-emergent herbicide will prevent most weeds from growing in your yard as peak growth season progresses. Applying fertilizer too early may expose your lawn to frost damage or early-season insect attack.
Recommended Early Summer Fertilizer/Herbicide Combo
Late Summer (Late August to Early September)
Another .5 -1 pound of nitrogen-based fertilizer can be applied to centipede grass in late summer. It is suggested to apply a 15-0-15 fertilizer at the same rate that you used earlier in the summer. The difference in late summer is that a post-emergent weed and feed should be used to kill weeds that have grown during the summer season. Many users prefer a weed and feed product as it fertilizes and targets pesky weeds at the same time. Applying fertilizer to your lawn too late may strain your yard by forcing growth too late into the summer and cause strain during the winter months.
Best Late Summer Centipede Fertilizers
Post Application Care
Water your lawn post-application if you use plain fertilizer. Watering the fertilizer removes granules from the leaves and prevents scorching. Applying water post-application also carries the pellets into the soil. Subsequently, this allows them to work more quickly. Many people apply fertilizer before forecasted rain, making for an easier application process. Should you use a weed and feed fertilizer and a pre-emergent herbicide, water your lawn post-application.
Pre-emergent products work in the soil, preventing weed growth. If your product contains a post-emergent herbicide, wet the lawn before application. Watering before application causes the herbicide to stick to the broadleaf weeds. Post-emergent herbicides are absorbed through leaves and not the soil.
Ensure that centipede grass receives the proper amount of irrigation after fertilizer application to prevent strain or burning. We recommend that you check the weather forecasts before application. This ensures the turf will stay hydrated and not struggle throughout the fertilization process.