Centipede grass is sometimes called the "lazy man's grass" because of its relatively low-maintenance requirements, but even this homeowner-friendly turf grass can run into problems if cared for haphazardly. Some areas in which proper maintenance is important are fertilizer application, pest control and irrigation.
Centipede decline is a term used to describe a number of conditions that result in round dead patches in the lawn, or yellowing grass. Common causes of this problem include overuse of nitrogen fertilizer, improper soil pH, excessive thatch or pests. Follow application instructions for fertilizers and test your soil for pH levels to avoid these issues. Aerate the lawn in areas in which thatch (very dense turf) may be disrupting the absorption of water.
Certain pests, such as nematodes and ground pearls are detrimental to centipede grass health. Lawns that have been over-fertilized with nitrogen fertilizers are more susceptible to these problems. Lawns with very sandy soil are also more likely to suffer from nematodes. As there are no effective insecticides to control these pests, the best approach is prevention. If you do suspect pest damage, collect a soil sample from the affected area and consult with your local cooperative extension service for region-specific remedies.
Centipede grass is less drought-tolerant than many homeowners have been led to believe. During times of limited rainfall, regular watering can protect your lawn from wilting. Experts at the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service recommend watering deeply rather than frequently to keep your lawn uniformly green during the growing season. If drought does bring about some browning during the summer, centipede will usually green back quickly once sufficient moisture is received.