Native to China and Southeast Asia, Centipede Grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) is a popular grass for gardeners interested in a low-maintenance lawn. Centipede grass is slow growing, requiring less mowing than other popular grass types. Centipede Grass is ideal for gardeners in the Southeast United States, as the grass thrives in full sun and is somewhat drought tolerant.
Newly planted Centipede Grass lawns need plenty of water in order to establish roots. Freshly seed lawns should be watered so that the soil is moist below 1/2 inch constantly. Water less frequently once the grass begins to grow. Be careful not to over water once the lawn is established, as keeping the lawn constantly wet may lead to nematodes, a microscopic worm that causes damage to the grass roots.
Planting should be done in spring or early summer rather than late summer. The grass will germinate quicker if planted in early summer rather than spring or late summer. Plant at least 1/4 lb. of seed for every 1,000 square feet in order to promote a thick, luscious lawn. Not planting enough seed will allow more room for weeds to emerge. With enough seed, the solid foundation of a lawn will emerge within a few months.
Centipede lawns of about three years or older are sometimes victim to a vague ailment called "Centipede Decline," in which the grass begins to wilt and become patchy, despite frequent watering. While there is no specific disease that causes Centipede Decline, gardeners can reduce the risk of this happening to their lawn by mowing the grass down to 1 inch every week or so. Over fertilizing can also contribute to Centipede Decline: yearly fertilization of 1/2 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet is optimal.