Why is my centipede lawn yellowing and dying? Centipede grass has very specific growth requirements. We need to carefully manage it along these lines. If we do not, the lawn may get a condition called centipede decline. The lawn may become unthrifty, turn yellow and may die. Centipede decline can be very difficult to cure. But you can prevent it with proper care.

First, do not fertilize centipede lawns very much. Centipede lawns should be fertilized once or twice a year at most. I would recommend one spring fertilization and an application of iron in late summer.

Centipede lawns should have yellow-green leaf blades most of the growing season. Centipede grass should be a low growing and slow growing grass. If you are fertilizing your centipede grass enough to keep it thick and dark green, then you may be headed for problem.

Mow centipede grass one to one and one-half-inches tall - never taller. Higher mowing heights can lead to winter kill. Start with the lower mowing height in the spring and raise the height as temperatures climb.

Water with one-half to three-quarter inches of water each time the lawn needs water. Wait until the lawn dries out to water again. The lawn will turn grey, the leaves will roll up and footprints will remain in the turf when it is time to water again.

A healthy centipede lawn should not need to be watered any more often than once every five to seven days. This is true even in the hot dry summer. If the lawn dries out too quickly, find out what the problem is and fix it. The sprinkler system may not be putting out enough water or putting it out unevenly. The ground may be hard or the turf may be thatchy. De-thatch if the thatch layer is more than one-half inch thick. Aerate the lawn if the soil is hard. Use an aerator that will remove plugs up to three inches deep.

You can contact the Bryan County Extension office for any questions at 912-653-2231 or uge3029@uga.edu for any insect and lawn related questions.