Diseases of Centipedegrass

Centipedegrass, like St. Augustinegrass, spreads via stolons, or thick above-ground stems that lie on top of the soil. It has a finer texture than St. Augustinegrass, but is coarser than Bermudagrass. It does not tend to suffer mechanical injuries such as scalping, and is a slow grower, so is easy to keep out of flowerbeds and other landscaped areas. Because of its slow growth, it does not recover from injury as fast as other grasses.

Brown Patch

Brown patch, or Rhizoctonia blight, is common in turfgrasses. The Rhizoctonia fungi causes brown patch. Though it usually affects tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, it does affect centipedegrass. It only temporarily harms the lawn's appearance, unless the lawn is less than a year old, then it kills the grass. Causes of Rhizoctonia fungi include improper fertilization, dog or insect injury, poor drainage, excessive thatch, buried objects and mower problems. The patches are generally circular in shape, but vary in size. It can get up to 5 feet round. It prefers hot, humid weather, and does most of its destruction at this time. Applying too much nitrogen fertilizer during the spring and summer encourages brown patch. Control brown patch by keeping the lawn at a height of 2 ½ inches and by applying fungicide.

Dollar Spot

Dollar spot affects centipedegrass during the summer. It shows up as light brown spots that are as small as 2 inches in diameter to as large as 4 inches in diameter. Dollar spot is caused by Rhizoctonia solani AG2-2LP. Symptoms include large patches of thin grass in the spring. As the weather turns warmer and more humid, the grass continues to decline, showing the small "dollar" spots. Apply fungicides in the early fall to help control dollar spot that appears in the spring.

Fairy Rings

Fairy rings are large spots of dead spots in the grass. The spots can be up to 20 feet in diameter. As each year passes, the rings grow larger. Often, the mushrooms of the fungi appear at the edges of the rings, though it might take mushrooms several years to develop. There is no fungicide that controls fairy rings. If the problem persists, remove the sod, till the soil and plant healthy grass. Make sure that the grass is thatched every couple of years and that it gets plenty of water. In some states, watering restrictions are strictly enforced. Normally, you are restricted to watering once per week. Be sure to water the grass with at least an inch of water in your prescribed watering time and to do it every week.

Keywords: centipedegrass, dollar spot, fairy rings

About this Author

Cayden Conor is a family law paralegal who writes on various subjects including dogs, cockatoos and cooking. She has over 15 years of experience as a paralegal, and has been writing professionally for three years. Conor has a paralegal degree and majored in criminology, computer science (programming emphasis) and education.