Centipedegrass Looking Rough? April 11 Is a Little Too Soon to Worry …

— Written By Thomas Glasgow and last updated by Jami Hooper
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The first image is my centipedegrass lawn on April 11. The second image shows typical performance in mid summer. In Craven County, most of the “damage” we’re currently seeing on centipedegrass is related to at least three freezing events that occurred after green up was well underway. A second factor is that ambient and soil temperatures are still much too cool to push root recovery and vegetative growth. The lawns are green, but that’s about it. What’s needed are several weeks of warm to hot temperatures, and some rainfall (or irrigation). Late May is a more logical time of year to become alarmed about the appearance of your centipedegrass lawn (or other warm season lawns, for that matter). If you’re thinking about fertilizer for faster greenup, be aware that even as late as May 1, about 25% of applied nitrogen will leach past a warm season lawn root system. By June 1, that figure will be around 5%; by July 1, well under 5%; and by August 1, virtually nil.

My suggestion for an optimal range, for centipedegrass, would be early June through the end of July. Too soon and you encourage leaching and large patch; too late, and you encourage large patch again, plus you may be pushing vegetative growth too late in the season.
By the way, the somewhat circular mowing pattern in the second image was a practical joke on my son. We do not encourage this sort of behavior on a routine basis.