Known as the lowest maintenance of the warm-season grasses, centipede grass is commonly grown by gardeners in southern United States. This perennial grass is planted by seed, sod or sprigs. Fescue grasses are shade-tolerant cool-season grasses that grow well in southern parts of the U.S. where it is either too hot or too cold for other grasses. You can sow centipede grass over fescue grass if your grass is patchy, has brown or bare spots or you want an easy grass that does not require much care.
Measure the length and width of the area you want to plant centipede grass over and multiply it to determine the area in square feet. This makes it easy to purchase the required amount of centipede seed for over seeding.
Aerate the area to loosen compacted soil, and remove any buildup of thatch. Add a 1-inch layer of compost to the soil to improve the quality.
Set your lawn mower at the lowest setting and mow fescue lawn grass down to 1 1/2- to 2-inches. Attach the clipping-collection bag to the lawn mower to prevent the clippings from spreading over the grass. Your centipede seed will compete with fescue grass, even if it is dormant, so trim the latter short so it does not impede sunlight reaching the seeds.
Sprinkle centipede grass seed over the prepared area with a seed spreader, following the amount indicated on the back of the seed bag. Keep in mind that adding seed to an existing lawn is different from adding seed to a new area. While you normally spread up to 4 lbs. of seed over 1000 square feet of new area, over-seeding requires 1 to 2 lbs.
Rake the seeded area lightly to ensure the seeds are covered ¼- to ½-inch in soil. Also water the area gently to ensure the seeds settle down in the soil. This also encourages good seeds-to-soil contact important for germination.
Water the area gently with a garden hose twice a day, early in the morning and again in the evening, until seeds germinate. Do not create puddles, but water lightly until the soil is evenly moist.
Things You Will Need
- Measuring tape
- Core aerator
- Lawn mower with clipping collection bag
- Seed spreader
- Garden hose
- When spreading grass seed, work towards an even spread, but do not worry about adding too much seed to a particular spot
- You can also add a light layer of mulch over grass seeds to protect them from being chewed by birds or being washed away by rain, specially if planting on slopes or hills.
- Water the centipede grass twice a week after the seeds germinate, preferably in the morning. Water your centipede lawn infrequently but deeply once it establishes itself.
- Follow label directions for applying a quick release nitrogen fertilizer five weeks after the grass sprouts. Repeat application after another six to seven weeks.
- Keep children and pets off the lawn when mowing to prevent risk of injury.