Centipede Grass: Pests, Diseases and Weed Control
Centipede grass is a popular ground cover grass used for landscaping. The reason lies in its low cost of maintenance and its ability to withstand poor soil conditions. It needs minimal fertilization and has a long lifecycle. However, there are some basic requirements for maintaining a healthy centipede grass spread that you should know about.
Centipede Grass Pests
Very few pests bother the centipede grass. The most damaging among these are insects like grub worms and nematodes.
Grub Worm Control
Grub worms are infamous for intensively feeding upon the grass. Grubs are easy-to-spot and control. Many types of grub traps are available. You can also use retailed insecticides to eradicate grub colonies. Once properly eliminated, grubs will seldom re-invade your garden.
Nematodes are worm-like, microscopic organisms that are hard-to-detect. They destroy the grass by infecting the roots. If the grass is developing a yellowish appearance despite proper fertilization, nematode presence can be suspected. Maintaining proper moisture level in the soil is the first step towards controlling nematodes. Chemical control in the form of fumigating the soil can also be considered.
Other pests of centipede grass that cause minimal damage include webworms, spittlebugs and mole crickets. Most of these pests can be controlled by periodically spraying the grass with chemical sprays that contain halofenozide, trichlorofon or carbaryl as the active ingredient.
Centipede Grass Disease: Brown Patch Disease
Brown patch is the most common of centipede grass diseases. It is a soil-borne fungal infection. Its occurrence is more common among the humid and warmer regions.
It first appears in the form of a small, brownish patch that is often mistaken as an under-watered part of the garden. The patch soon spreads and many times, it becomes endemic in certain parts of the garden. The grass in this patch is particularly dry. The appearance is of grass that has been scorched under the sun. During the morning period, the patch develops a typical, shiny appearance. This is due to the sticky mycelium that is secreted during the night.
You should restrict use of nitrogen fertilizers when patching is clearly visible. Nitrogen feeding can further stimulate fungal growth. Avoid watering the patch. The basic idea is to derive basic nutrition to the patch that helps to slow down the fungal growth. Once the patch’s development has been restricted to some extent, try to kill the invading, fungal spores through chemical control. Specific fungicides are available for brown patch disease. Ensure that the grass spread is without excessive lumping or thatching. Roots that are clustered due to excessive surface lumping are more vulnerable to patching disease. Periodic raking of the grass can prevent this problem.
Centipede Grass Weed Control
Widespread weeding is a common problem among most turf grasses, including centipede grass. Consider the following choices for eradicating weeds from your centipede garden cover.
If you plan to use weedicides, insist on buying the organic, herbicidal variety. Weed-control herbicides are best applied during the early part of spring season. Weeds can often multiply during the winter season. You can use herbicides loaded with specific plant hormones that prevent weed development in the cold season. The most effective, chemical weed eliminators are Pre-emergent weedicides that kill the germinating seeds of the weeding plants. These chemicals should be applied in the soil bed before the growth season, particularly during the onset of spring season. Application of pre-emergent weedicides is simple. They are retailed with easy-to-follow, labeled instructions.