Oh How I Want A Nice Centipede Lawn

TimM813(7)August 9, 2013

Trying to build on an established centipede lawn that needs help. I have received a soil test from Auburn University. Soil PH is 5.0 and have recommendations of 75lbs of lime per 1,000 sq. ft. Phosphorous level is very low, Potassium medium, Magnesium and Calcium high. Advised to apply 8 lbs per 1,000 sq ft of 13-13-13 in the spring when new growth begins. My question is, should I spread out the lime application or is it okay to apply all at once? Any other tips would be most appreciated. Soil is clay(ish), never been aerated or dethatched mechanically but thatch is only visible in spots. Lots of rain this summer has helped it look better than last year. I'm sure the lime will help more than anything right now. Just not sure when is best to put out and how much at once.

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texas-weed(7A)

Why on earth would you want to add lime with a soil PH of 5.0 on a centipede lawn? The perfect soil PH for Centipede is between 4.5 and 5.5. 5.0 is absolutely perfect.

For Centipede you want your soil so acidic nothing else can grow and compete except Blueberries and Azalea.

Centipede also does not like Phosphorous and you want to use a fertilizer with a X-0-X ratio. That means 0% Phosphorous.

If you start neutralizing your soil and adding nutrients, the Centipede is going to go into decline and make conditions right for everything else to move in and take over.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 4:52PM
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TimM813(7)

Maybe you could explain that better to Auburn University. Thanks for your input though.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 12:39AM
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TimM813(7)

Could be they didn't like the big red ROLL TIDE elephant on the check I sent them. ;)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 12:57AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Did you explain to them that you were testing soil for a centipede lawn?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:02AM
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TimM813(7)

Yes, the soil test results actually says "Recommendation For Centipede" at the top of the page. I am inclined to believe the same as texas-weed. It might be okay if the lime application only brought up the PH .5, but that seems like a lot of lime to just bring it up that much. Maybe I should only use half the lime and fertilize next summer with 15 0 15?

The ground has a fungus covering parts of it that looks like a a kind of dark felt that I can just peel up from the ground. I mentioned this with the soil sample I sent and actually sent a piece of the fungus for them to see. I also have a bit of moss covering one end of the lawn. Maybe the fungus and moss is the reason for the lime?

I am just trying to learn. I know there are some very knowledgeable people on here as I found this site through my research on centipede care. So I appreciate your advice!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:37AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Can you post a few pictures? Preferably take them on a cloudy day to reduce the contrast from sun to shadow. And please take a few from a distance of 3 inches camera-to-grass. Would help if you had some with the fungus and some without. You can post multiple pictures to one message. Go to the bottom of the page and you'll find a link for instructions and to go to a practice area for posting pictures.

We can be a lot more helpful if we know a little more.
Where do you live?

I realize you have a lot of rain but otherwise how have you been watering? Frequency and duration.

Is shade an issue with your lawn? In particular is it shady in your problem areas?

Have you fertilized or used any other products on the lawn this year? If so, what and when?

Why do you want centipede and not St Augustine or bermuda?

Do you have other acid loving plants in your garden, and how are they doing?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:51AM
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texas-weed(7A)

Tim not trying to bust your chops, bu tit is well known fact Centipede grass is must have very acidic soil to do well. It is a niche type application grass for acidic soils. You have acidic soil and there not anything you can do to change that long term. Sure adding lime might raise the PH and you might even get it up to 6.0 depending on soil type and texture, but it will only do you more harm than good. Two of the harmful things are:

1. Cause your Centipede to yellow from irion deficiency, and allow other grasses and weeds to move in.

2. Cost you money, labor, and time for undesirable results.

Do some research online. You will see Centipede soil PH needs to be right where your are at, and that it does not tolerate much phosphorous. Nor does well in clay compacted soils.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 11:43AM
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TimM813(7)

I understand TW. The only thing I can figure is maybe the clay content or my mention of fungus or moss for their recommendation. I posted here mainly out of the same concerns you are stating.

Dchall, I did apply 50 lbs of 24 0 4 about 3 weeks ago as it has not had anything done to it for several years. My lawn has just recently become a priority project. It has lots of little clover patches and I felt it needed the nitrogen since it has had none on it for years and didn't want to wait until next summer to give a dose. I am working on some pics for you guys. Not much shade is on the lawn. I mainly want to try to revive the centipede rather than switch to another type because of it's low maintenance needs. I feel once I get it healthy it won't take much to keep it that way. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:26PM
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TimM813(7)

By the way I used your baby shampoo suggestion Dc. Figured it couldn't hurt. Did that about 2 weeks before the fertilizer.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 2:52PM
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TimM813(7)

Bare spot, the dark area is the fungus I mentioned.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:36PM
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TimM813(7)

Better shot of the fungus.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:39PM
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TimM813(7)

Clover

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:42PM
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TimM813(7)

Yellowish area

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:44PM
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TimM813(7)

The area close to the house is fine, wish it all looked like that.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 7:47PM
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TimM813(7)

Pics posted. Any suggestions welcomed.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:08PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Go ahead put lime out acid loving plants do need lime they don't need bicarbonates hard water. Around and off from foundation cement things are okay 1,000 pounds lime move ph up .25 rain has no bicarbonates lime and let rain lol no sprinklers.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:13AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Amazing how the pictures help.

That's not clover. Dunno what it is from that altitude, but it is choking out the centipede. This is the stuff you want to kill it, but do not use it until the daytime highs are below 90 degrees.

Read the entire label carefully. I would spot spray on only the weeds. Do not saturate the soil - it is a foliar type spray.

Let's go back to basics on your issues.
Where do you live? Alabama is too big.
Grass is centipede.
What have you used on the lawn in the past year? Please list fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
What is your watering regimen (frequency and duration)?

My going in position on the moldy soil is to apply a little compost and corn meal (from your pantry) on top of the bare areas and to the fringe areas around the bare spots. Moisten that and let it sit. Many fungal diseases spread out in a circle so watch for that.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 4:20PM
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