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St Augustine vs Centipede Grass

Centipede and St Augustine Grass

Should you go with St. Augustine or centipede grass? This article breaks down when you should choose one over the other.

Table of Contents

St. Augustine

centipede grass

St Augustine grass is a warm-season grass that is well suited for lawns in the United States' warm or coastal regions. St Augustine tolerates shade, moderate foot traffic, and occasional salt exposure. This makes it one of the heartier grasses to choose from.

Many homeowners enjoy the deep, rich green color of St Augustine throughout the year, even in slight to moderate drought conditions.

St Augustine Likes Well Draining and High pH Soils

It is best to plant St Augustine grass in sandy or well-drained soil with a pH of 5.0 to 8.5. St Augustine grass is not suited for colder climates and can be damaged by freezing temperatures. Areas that receive snow or excessive frost are not ideal for St Augustine lawns.

St Augustine & Water

It is also important to note that 1 to 1.5 inches of water are needed to keep a St Augustine lawn green and growing. It can even take the occasional several inches of rain. However, it does not tolerate standing water very well.

Address any area in your lawn that frequently has standing water. You can do this by leveling out your lawn with dirt or topsoil. Or you can install a drainage system if neccessary.

St Augustine grass also requires a fertilization plan to reach peak growth, color, and appearance. Like most grasses, a handful of pests feed on St Augustine grass, such as chinch bugs, mole crickets, and armyworms.

For more in-depth information, check out our St Augustine Grass Article.

Centipede Grass

centipede grass

Centipede grass is another warm-season grass. It is a grass that is light-green in color and has thinner blades. Centipede's most advantageous feature is its need for sunlight. It is recommended that the grass receives six or seven hours of direct sunlight a day.

Centipede's need for heat and direct sunlight makes it popular in the Southern and Southeastern regions of the United States.

Centipede is a slow-growing grass, which means less maintenance and fewer grass cuttings during the growing season. Also, Centipede lawns require very little fertilizer throughout the year, making maintenance planning easy. Much like St Augustine grass, Centipede grass thrives in sandy or well-drained soil but needs a pH level between 5.0 and 6.0.

Centipede grass can be harmed by cold weather.  In fact, temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit can be deadly to centipede. Also, Centipede grass does not tolerate excessive foot traffic or pet activity well. It will die in areas with heavy use.

Like St Augustine grass, Centipede lawns require consistent watering. In fact, it requires 1.0 to 1.25 inches per week.

The shade is detrimental to Centipede, and the grass will not grow in shady areas, making it less than ideal for wooded yards or areas that do not receive a lot of direct sunlight. Centipede grass can be prone to fungal attack if left exposed to standing water or planted in yards that retain excess moisture.

👉 For more information, check out our Centipede Grass Pros and Cons Article.

Comparison Chart

Centipede St Augustine
Sunlight 6-7 hrs Up to 4 hours
Shade Tolerant No Yes
Temerature Warm Warm
Water 1 - 1.25"/week 1 - 1.5"/week
Soil pH 5.0 - 6.0 5.0 - 8.5
Soil Quality Loose Sandy Loose Sandy
Fertilization 1 - 2 lbs/1,000SF/Yr 2 - 4 lbs/1,000SF/Y
Fertilizer Mix 15-0-15 15-0-4
Traffic Tolerance Very Little Moderate
Safe Herbicides Sethoxydim Atrazine
Salt Tolerance Moderate Moderate
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