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How to Care for Centipede Grass in Winter

Native to China and southeast Asia, centipede is a low-maintenance, warm-season grass that’s often called “the lazy person’s grass.” This grass is slow growing and is somewhat resistant to pests and diseases. Centipede grass has a rough texture and is grown in lawns in regions that have mild winters, dying off completely during extended periods in which temperatures reach 5 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Slight drops in temperature during winter cause centipede grass to enter a semi-dormant state, so little to no mowing is required during the winter months.

Stop mowing your centipede grass regularly in late fall. Begin mowing your centipede grass lawn again in early spring, but avoid mowing the grass too short (less than 1/2 inch) before it begins actively growing again.

Water your centipede grass lawn in winter only during times of drought or prolonged dry spells. Water the centipede grass thoroughly once per week during these times to soak the soil below the grass roots, usually 4 to 8 inches deep.

Control broad-leafed weeds and other types of weeds in your centipede grass lawn by applying a pre-emergent herbicide, following the application instructions on the label exactly.

Prevent crabgrass and other winter weeds by applying an appropriate herbicide to your centipede grass lawn in October and again in February. Follow the directions on the label.


You can seed your centipede lawn with fescue (don't use ryegrass) in the fall to create a temporary green lawn throughout the winter months. However, there is a chance spring competition between the fescue and centipede grass may thin your lawn. The dangers of thinning are greater if you use ryegrass.


Avoid planting your lawn with centipede grass if you live in a climate that receives extreme cold and hard freezes during the winter. Cycles of hard freezes and cold followed by warm periods can kill the grass. Centipede grass is best suited for USDA zones 7, 8, 9, and 10.

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