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Summer Care Tips for Your Centipede Lawn

During the warm summer months, maintaining a thriving, healthy centipede grass lawn requires care. Mowing your centipede lawn at its proper height, providing the right amount of water and choosing a suitable fertilizer to support your centipede grass during stressful conditions are all necessary for maintaining a centipede lawn during the summer months. Additionally, it’s essential to tackle weeds and pests appropriately.

Our summer maintenance tips for your centipede grass will have your lawn looking its best all summer long. Be sure to also check out our series of Homeowner Maintenance Guides for generic centipede grass and Santee® Centipedegrass.

Want us to do some of the summer lawn care for you?

Check out the Lawnifi Complete Program for a year-round lawn care subscription. Each box, curated by turfgrass experts for the active growing season, provides all essential lawn care needs and is delivered in spring, summer and fall.

1. Keep Up with Summer Mowing (and Reduce the Time Spent on This Chore)

Many homeowners dread summer lawn maintenance due to the heat and humidity, which make mowing especially unpleasant. Letting the grass grow too tall can make it even harder to push the mower.

For Santee Centipede and common centipede grass, maintain a height of 1.5–2 inches, and consider a slightly higher 2–2.5 inches for shaded areas to avoid stress and browning. It’s crucial not to cut more than a third of the grass blade at once.

If you’re catching up on mowing after being away on vacation, do it gradually, allowing 3–5 days between sessions. For efficiency, explore tips on minimizing mowing time during the warmer months.

Note: Get ahead of summer mowing and check out our tips on reducing time spent mowing your lawn as it gets hotter outside: How to Mow Your Lawn Less During the Summer.
Centipede Grass Top View

2. Keep Your Heat-Stressed Centipede Grass Strong with the Right Summer Fertilizer

Centipede grass’s nutrient requirements vary across seasons, with a notable shift in the summer when it demands less nitrogen but higher levels of other nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and specific micronutrients to combat stress from high temperatures.

Sod University advises the use of a specialized summer fertilizer to meet these adjusted nutrient needs and suggests two distinct fertilizers;

The first option is the Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box, a liquid fertilizer set consisting of one bottle of Maintain and two bottles of Recover, designed to nourish centipede grass throughout summer. Maintain, with a 16-0-4 NPK ratio, enriches the lawn with potassium, amino acids and carbon, while Recover, with a 13-0-0 NPK formula, provides an ideal nutrient balance including essential micronutrients like manganese, iron, sulfur and carbon for the peak summer months. The liquid formula allows for easy application through a garden hose.

The second option is Lawnifi Foundation, a granular fertilizer with a 29-0-5 NPK mix, intended for a three-month feeding period. It includes 2% iron for oxygen transport in plants, promoting a vibrant, healthy lawn and features slow-release nitrogen to steadily nourish the grass without the risk of nitrogen overload during the summer.

Both products are formulated to cover 5,000 sq. ft. areas and represent two different approaches.

Summer Fertilizer Box

Lawnifi is a liquid fertilizer program powered by Catalyst Technology. For optimal results, feed your lawn monthly during the active growing season (spring, summer, fall). Simply attach a hose to the sprayer top and apply evenly to your lawn.

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3. Make Sure Your Centipede Lawn is Hydrated…But Not Too Hydrated

The summer season comes with significantly warmer temperatures and a longer amount of time with sunlight. This frequently tempts homeowners to water the lawn more often to make sure it’s hydrated. This is not always recommended as waterlogged soils in warm climates are ideal environments for disease outbreaks.

Despite the hot temperatures that occur during the summer, centipede grass should only need about one inch of water on a weekly basis. This is best accomplished with one or two waterings a week.

Water in the early mornings for longer periods of time, less frequently and take any rainfall into consideration. Watering your lawn in the early morning decreases the dew period. As a result, this also decreases the amount of time the grass blades are wet, which is a helpful disease management practice.

If you aren’t sure how to measure one inch of water, consider conducting an easy irrigation audit. If the lawn seems to become too warm or starts accumulating scorched, brown spots, consider adding a layer of top dressing to keep it shaded and cool. Read more about this in How to Top Dress Your Lawn with Compost.

Watering grass with several sprinklers

4. Be Cautious with Weed Control

Applying herbicides in summer can harm turfgrass, especially when temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s advisable to use post-emergent herbicides when it’s cooler and apply pre-emergent herbicides in both spring and fall to manage seasonal weeds. I

f temperatures are consistently below 85 degrees, applying post-emergent herbicides may be safe, but it’s safer to wait until closer to fall, as fluctuations above 85 degrees can still risk grass damage. Common summer weeds include knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, crabgrass, goosegrass, nutsedge, and sandspur. For more details, refer to guides on How to Control Weeds During the Summer.

how to get rid of crabgrass

Be sure to read herbicide labels thoroughly before application.

Hi-Yield Atrazine Weed Killer

Hi-Yield Atrazine Weed Killer is an atrazine-based herbicide designed to control weeds like henbit, dollar weed, chickweed, clover, sandspur and others listed on the product label in St. Augustine and centipede grass. Available in a single quart bottle or single quart ready-to-spray bottle.

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5. Watch Out for Insect Infestations or Damage

Pictured above: A spittlebug.

Summer is peak season for lawn-damaging insects, including grub worms, mole crickets, spittlebugs and others. Grub worm presence can be detected by increased activity from burrowing animals or by physically spotting them in the soil. Preventative insecticides, like Acelepryn, should be applied in June to combat grubs, coinciding with the egg-laying period of adult beetles such as the Japanese beetle.

Mole cricket damage is visible through soil and grass upheaval from their tunneling, along with brown, dying patches of grass. Spittlebugs, particularly fond of centipede grass, reveal their presence through jumping when disturbed and leave behind a white frothy substance known as “spittle” as a protective measure for their nymphs.

Sod webworms and other leaf-eating caterpillars, active from May to July, cause “skeletonizing” of grass blades, leaving behind only the veining structure by consuming the green parts of the blade. Various insect control products are available to treat these common summer lawn pests.

Bifen L/P Insecticide Granules

Bifen L/P is a professional granular pesticide made available for the homeowner and used to control the most common insects including ants, fleas, ticks, crickets and others. Available as a 25 lb. bag.

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6. Relax About Disease Control

Dollar Spot In Home Lawn

Pictured above: Dollar spot in a home lawn.

Disease outbreaks in centipede lawns are rare during summer but can occur if the lawn is overwatered, creating warm, moist conditions conducive to diseases. While fungicides can treat lawn diseases, adopting cultural maintenance practices, as outlined in the Centipede Homeowner Maintenance Guide, can prevent these outbreaks by fostering a healthy, resilient lawn.

If needed, several disease control products are available; ensure to read their labels carefully before application. More information on these diseases can be found in resources on identifying common lawn diseases. Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application. You can learn more about these diseases in Identifying Common Lawn Diseases.

Heritage G Granular Fungicide

Heritage G Granular Fungicide is a broad-spectrum systemic fungicide that prevents and cures a variety of turfgrass diseases for up to 28 days. Available in 10 lb. and 30 lb. bags.

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Summer lawn care tips for your centipede lawn are mostly about keeping it healthy and stress-free during the hot summer temperatures. This will help it continue to thrive when temperatures eventually cool down and we enter into the fall season. We will see you back here in the fall for our updated fall maintenance tips for centipede grass.

And remember…if you want lawn care made simple, the Lawnifi Complete Subscription provides your lawn with what it needs during the current season and for years to come.

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