Help with Centipede problem

soup006(7)April 20, 2012

I live in central AL. My grass is centipede. I have lived here for a couple years and my front lawn seems to have a problem area. As you can see in the pics, it is pretty thin in this area. I can't get it to spread and fill in. It was like this last year. I am afraid it has been over fertilized and might be in decline. I only put down 18-0-18 last year one time. I don't know what the previous home owner did. I have not fertilized this year and don't think I'm going to put any N down. I did put down some Dr. Iron but apparently the type of iron isn't the best to use because it isn't readily available in the soil. I liked it because it said it wouldn't stain. I do have a soil test sent off and should get the results soon.

I water once a week and have used a tuna can to figure out how long it takes to fill it up. I know I probably can't get a lot of answers until the soil test comes in but was hoping this could be a starting point. I am thinking of just getting some centipede plugs and plug the area after I figure out if I need to amend the soil first. I have also started putting down a mixture of baby shampoo and molasses to help the soil.

Also, the shade is only there in the late afternoons and is from a small crape myrtle.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Centipede in the shade is going to be a problem area.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 1:02AM
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Even though the shade is not until the late afternoon? I thought it was a little shade tolerant? My grass in the backyard the gets more shade due to a fence and it seems thicker in the shade areas although I suspect I somehow have some St. Augustine in these areas.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:54AM
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Think I can mix St. Augustine in these areas since most people probably can't tell the difference? That would do much better in the shade. Unfortunately today is cloudy otherwise I would try to be more exact on when the shade starts in that area. It may get a lot more shade than I think.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Centipede is not compatible with any other grass. Centipede is a niche type of grass and needs to be in very acidic soil with little to no nutrients. Basically where nothing else will grow.

If the Centipede is thin and gets enough sun I would look at soil PH. It could well be your soil is not acidic enough.

Anyway if the PH was high enough for SA, the SA would choke out the Centipede as SA is much more aggressive than Centipede.

I believe you said you are having a soil test done right? Wait until you results back and go from there. If your soil PH is 6 or higher, consider switching grass types.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 9:55AM
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Thanks. I will update this once I get the results from the front yard test. I did do a test last year for the backyard and the PH was 7.1, which I know is too high for centipede but the centipede back there has actually taken over a patch of common bermuda so I was hoping I could work with it.

I have noticed that the shade from the crape myrtle has completely covered the above area by 3:00 pm. Is that too much shade in the day for centipede?

I have also updated my zone to 8a after checking the latest hardiness maps.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 5:06PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Your zone:
It is wonderful that you have such an interest in your garden; however, the USDA hardiness zone only applies to the cold hardiness of plants, not to anything else. In theory you could have a zone 8 that had 110 degree summers (Phoenix) and a zone 8 that had 70 degree summers (California coast). You could have a zone 5 on full clay and one on full sand. I'm trying to say the zones are much less helpful than they have been made out to be. What we rely on here is your location. You perceived that from doing your homework and started out your first message with your location in central Alabama. That is a great start.

What we are looking for include the following. Are you east/west of the Mississippi? Generally the soils east of the Mississippi tend toward acidic while those west tend toward basic. There are exceptions. After that location is important to understand the amount of sand, silt, and clay you might have and the nature of the salts in the soil. If you happen to live in SoCal, we sort of need to know the particular town because of the altitude, wind, and heat patterns from the beach to the Inland Empire and beyond to the desert. There you can be in a 60 degree rainstorm on one side of a hill and 30 miles away it's 100 degrees and arid.

Based on what I've read in this thread, you might start shopping for locations and prices of St Augustine sod.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Here are my soil test results. Obviously PH is way too high for Centipede. I am getting St. Augustine Palmetto plugs this week. I have a small yard but cannot change the grass type all at once due to cost. I want to see how the St. Augustine does this year. What other soil amendments should I do?

pH 7.3
Organic Matter 1.8% Sufficient organic matter present
Phosphorus 0.2 lbs/1000 sq ft
Potassium 1.7 lbs/1000 sq ft
Calcium 26.9 lbs/1000 sq ft
CEC = 3.6
Magnesium 3.6 lbs/1000 sq ft
Sulfur 0.2 lbs/1000 sq ft
Zinc 0.4 oz/1000 sq ft
Iron 2.4 lbs/1000 sq ft No Adjustment Necessary
Manganese 48.0 oz/1000 sq ft No Adjustment Necessary
Copper 0.4 oz/1000 sq ft No Adjustment Necessary
Boron 0.2 oz/1000 sq ft

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 2:00PM
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