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How Do I Remove Centipede Grass From My Tall Fescue Lawn?

published by Harold, Wednesday, October 03, 2012 in Ask The Expert

I recently received a question regarding methods to get rid of Centipede grass in a Tall Fescue lawn. Getting rid of Centipede grass can be a daunting task, to say the least. Although it is considered one of the weaker of the warm season grasses, it still can produce a very deep root system and competes well with desired turf grasses.

Tall Fescue is a very good grass for the Transition Zone, although it’s tolerance to drought is not that good, it does have good heat tolerance. Tall Fescue usually thins out every summer and needs reseeding every year. When the Tall Fescue begins to thin out, this leaves many places for the above ground runners, or stolons, of Centipede grass to creep through the Tall Fescue and become established. Some people try digging it out to remove it. Unfortunately, it can reestablish itself if any of the stolons are left behind. Stolons can also be blown into the lawn from surrounding lawns or can be dropped by birds that may be using the grass for nest material.

How to Control Centipede Grass

The best control is achieved by using a weed control product that contains glyphosate, such as Round-Up. Now would be the best time to spray to control Centipede. Unfortunately, glyphosate is a non selective weed control and will kill both the desired and undesired grasses. Therefore, the area will need to be reseeded. I will state that there is a possibility that some of the Centipede will survive and start growing again in the spring. Although it is not as effective, a broadleaf weed control that contains 2, 4-D will damage or even kill Centipedegrass. It is best applied in late spring/early summer when the Centipede breaks dormancy and starts growing again.

The best thing you can do is to keep your current lawn growing well. This includes annual core aeration and overseeding to replenish the grasses that die off in the summer. Following good cultural practices of mowing high, providing 1 inch of water per week and following a balanced fertilizer program will also help your lawn out and compete with the Centipede, but it will always be a challenge.

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