Fertilizing Centipede Grass: Tips and Products

By: Ken Wilson

Over the previous decade, centipede grass’ global prevalence has increased exponentially, mainly due to its unmatched, almost dreamy green color and incredibly low maintenance obligations compared to other popular types of lawn cover. To ensure your prized centipede grass retains its magnificence and unparalleled allure, it is essential to purchase, utilize, and apply the correct fertilizer.

For centipede grass to always look its best, you must fertilize it optimally. The optimal centipede slow-release fertilizer must possess a pH level between 5.0 and 6.0, a low nitrogen content, and a balanced micronutrient content, ensuring even nutrient distribution, color retention, and longevity.

Despite centipede grass having a stellar reputation globally for its comparatively modest maintenance needs and distinguished array of natural green colors, a consistent fertilization and upkeep schedule are non-negotiable. While caring for your centipede grass can seem daunting if you are inexperienced, this comprehensive guide will detail everything you must employ to achieve a healthy and flourishing lawn.

What are the Best Products and Tips for Centipede Grass?

The optimal fertilizer for centipede grass will vary depending on your requirements, location, local climate, and financial constraints; however, the product’s pH level must be between 5.0 and 6.0.

Experienced industry experts agree that the best fertilizer for centipede grass will offer the lawn sufficient individualized nutrients and overall grass variety. In addition, the fertilizer is required to sustain the centipede grass’ ideal soil acidity levels, which are usually between 5.0 pH and 6.0 pH.

While centipede grass is globally revered for its minimal maintenance prerequisites and vibrant colors, it has a noticeably reduced need for nutrients compared to similar species. The lack of traditional grass nutritional requirements allows for a significantly reduced weekly workload, although the importance of the initial fertilizer purchase can make the process unnecessarily complicated and frustrating.

Selecting the correct fertilizer for your centipede grass’ needs can be daunting if you, like most people, lack years of experience. Yet, by thoroughly considering six key factors, the process can be seamless, effortless, and incredibly fruitful.

The six critical factors to consider before purchasing your centipede grass’ fertilizer are:

1. Balanced Micronutrient Content: Purchase a fertilizer with an optimal balance of critical micronutrients such as manganese, iron, and magnesium. Fertilizers with an appropriate micronutrient ratio will guarantee that your centipede grass retains its memorable and distinguished green color throughout the year.

2. Low to Moderate Nitrogen Content: Centipede grass favors a fertilizer product containing moderate to low nitrogen. Fertilizers with an excessive nitrogen ratio within their mixture will increase unwanted growth rates, significantly increasing maintenance requirements and uninvited thatch.

3. Liquid vs. Granular: Modern liquid and granular fertilizer products are well suited to centipede grass, with the final decision depending on your requirements. Liquid fertilizer brands are known to offer dramatically enhanced absorption rates. At the same time, the granular-based variants are convenient and effortless to apply and spread over your prized patch of centipede grass.

4. Slow-Release Variation: While not essential, an appropriate slow-release fertilizer is incredibly advantageous for your centipede grass’ growth, health, vibrancy, and color. A slow-release formulation will provide a continuous supply of critical nutrients over a few days, instantly minimizing the risk of leaching and nutrient runoffs.

5. Soil Test: Despite being commonly overlooked, undertaking a simple soil test will allow you to accurately determine the exact nutritional requirements of your centipede grass. Moreover, the test will comprehensively understand your centipede lawn’s nutritional needs, guaranteeing you purchase the most appropriate fertilizer possible.

6. Seasonal Timing: Trusted industry experts note centipede grass incurs more benefit from fertilization practices if the product is applied during early summer or late spring months. Reducing fertilization applications as much as possible during fall or late summer is recommended, as it can lead to unwanted growth and maintenance before the lawn hardens for winter.

Centipede grass is revered worldwide for its comparatively limited maintenance requirements; however, it must always have access to specific nutrients in optimal ratios and proportions to thrive. Before purchasing a substantial amount of expensive branded fertilizers, check that its formula contains minimal levels of nitrogen and phosphorus combined with a balanced amount of potassium.

The Best Nitrogen Fertilizer Products

Lawn Booster Nitrogen And Iron Spray 6-0-0: The perfect nitrogen-based, fast-acting liquid-type fertilizer infused with iron. The optimal choice for mid-season application, undoubtedly allowing for a greener and more lush outcome.

Scott’s Turf Builder Lawn Food 32-0-10: Considered among the best nitrogen-based fertilizers, with an exemplary high level of nitrogen granular contents combined with sufficient potassium levels, allowing for enhanced root growth, drought resistance, and plant vibrancy.

Jobe’s Tree & Shrub Fertilizer Spikes 16-4-4: A globally revered nitrogen-based fertilizer mix, which is effortless to evenly apply and insert into the ground while promoting essential vitamins and mineral infusion for up to eight weeks.

Dr. Earth Blood Meal Natural Nitrogen Fertilizer 13-0-0: The best organic high nitrogen-based fertilizer on the global market today, which is also beneficial for developing crucial microorganisms.

Essential Tips For Applying Centipede Grass Fertilizer

It is worth noting that the initial selection and purchase of your fertilizer remains the most critical factor regarding long-term positive outcomes for your centipede grass. Yet, the proper application of the product is frequently overlooked, which can lead to under or over-fertilization.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach concerning the correct application of centipede grass fertilizer; however, experts suggest working according to several fundamental considerations to avoid infuriating upkeep-based situations from arising in the future.

The main guideline for applying centipede grass fertilizer is the soil test. Traditionally, the soil test should be completed before selecting an accompanying fertilizer product, as it will accurately determine the lawn’s nutritional requirements.

These are the most common fertilizing mistakes you must avoid at all costs:

  • Neglecting your soil’s pH or acidity level.
  • Applying an excessive amount of fertilizer or over-fertilizing your centipede lawn.
  • Using the incorrect fertilizer.
  • Applying fertilizer products during times of drought or severe heat waves.
  • Ignoring critical local fertilizer, water, and environmental regulations.

Furthermore, it is critical to calibrate your spreader before applying the fertilizer, ensuring it evenly applies the product over the entire patch of vibrant centipede lawn. Despite being occasionally unavoidable, do not fertilize your centipede grass during times of severe heat waves or drought. Centipede grass does not actively grow during droughts, meaning fertilizer will induce more harm than good.

Most fertilizer bags come standard with a factory-recommended application rate. It is important to strictly adhere to the guidelines while applying the product since too much of it will lead to over-fertilization, thatch buildup, and unnecessary long-term, costly damage to your prized lawn.

Once you are satisfied with the application and distribution of your fertilizer, you can extensively water the grass patch. Do not hold back during the critical watering phase, as it will ensure the beneficial nutrients from fertilization sink into the soil and roots, allowing the lawn to thrive.

Final Thoughts

Fertilizing, maintaining, and promoting sustainable long-term centipede grass growth can be overwhelming for people lacking appropriate experience. However, by selecting the optimal fertilizer product for your requirements and applying it consistently and correctly, you can experience the most vibrant, colorful, appealing, and envy-inducing piece of centipede lawn imaginable.

About the author 

Ken Wilson

Long time career in the home services industry from remodeling to patio construction. Currently residing to in SWFL and active contributor to multiple home & garden publications.