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How to get weeds out of centipede grass

Centipede grass is commonly used on lawns because of its low maintenance requirements. The grass does not require much attention and input compared to other lawn grasses.

Furthermore, it has a high heat tolerance and spreads with a beautiful green color. But centipede grass grows slowly and can take a long time to form a solid turf.

Within that period, weeds can crop up and infest the lawn. So, how do you get weeds out of Centipede grass?

Different weeds can pop up in your centipede grass. It is, therefore, crucial to identify the type of weed that has infested your lawn before eliminating it.

That is because the weed in your centipede grass will require a specific strategy to stop it.

Ideally, mowing, fertilizing, and watering are the first line of defense for eliminating weeds on centipede grass.

But you can also use pre or post-emergent herbicide for centipede grass treatment to ensure the weeds do not grow again.

How to get weeds out of centipede grass

Eremochloa ophiuroides

Image by: Flickr/Scot

If weeds have grown in your centipede grass lawn, consider the following methods to eliminate them.

1. Uproot by hand

Removing weeds by hand is the safest method of ensuring no unwanted plants grow in centipede grass. It is even better than cutting.

The process involves identifying the weeds that have infested your lawn and pulling the entire weed from the root.

However, hand-pulling becomes more effective if you do it before the weeds get too big or start blooming.

Also, since many invasive weeds with different life cycles can compete with the grass, hand-pulling should be a continuous habit.

You can pull weeds with your bare hands or use a tool. Consider using a hand-held tool with a narrow, forked end to help dig down around the weed’s root and uproot it.

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2. Irrigate centipede grass to remove weeds

Centipede grass does not have deep roots. Its shallow roots are a disadvantage because the grass can turn brown quickly, especially in high heat and drought.

When that happens, the grass does not cover the entire lawn. As a result, weeds will grow and compete for space with centipede grass.

You can avoid this by watering centipede grass constantly. Consider applying an inch of water or ensure the soil is wet enough to a depth of about eight inches, or the water does not cover the grass.

Also, avoid excessive watering of centipede grass because it produces a weak root system, thus preventing its spread on your lawn.

3. Fertilize the grass

Fertilizer provides essential nutrients for centipede grass to grow thick and healthy, thus improving its density.

Furthermore, fertilizing the grass is crucial because it helps prevent weed growth and reduces its chances of getting diseases.

The advantage of centipede grass is that it does not require a lot of fertilizer. For example, applying too much nitrogen fertilizer to centipede grass makes it susceptible to disease.

Furthermore, too much phosphorus in the fertilizer depletes iron levels. Therefore, use phosphorus-free fertilizer and ensure to apply before temperatures reach 85 degrees F.

4. Remove thatch

Eremochloa Ophiuroides

Image by: The Augusta Chronicle

Removing thatch is a more straightforward way to kill weeds without harming centipede grass. Generally, a little thatch benefits a lawn because it creates resilience.

Also, centipede grass can resist most insects and diseases. But when a layer of thatch increases, it becomes thicker.

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As a result, the thatch has a detrimental effect on the grass. For example, it impedes drainage, causes an exchange of gasses, and restricts the availability of nutrients. Ultimately, pests, diseases, and weeds increase.

You can prevent this by removing thatch from your centipede grass lawn. Consider raking the lawn in early spring. Also, water the lawn to keep it moist and promote the growth of centipede grass.

5. Mow the grass

Centipede grass takes time to grow. Therefore, one may not find it necessary to mow it. However, the grass can grow to about three inches, giving the roots enough time to become established in the soil. Furthermore, it allows the blades to grow healthy and strong.

But mowing centipede grass is something you should do with care. In other words, you must get the correct cutting height to ensure the grass continues to grow.

Generally, if centipede grass has already grown to three inches, mow it to about two inches. Any height above two inches will result in thatch development.

When should you kill weeds in centipede grass?

The best time to kill weeds in centipede grass is as soon as they crop up. If you wait longer, the weeds will set seed.

As a result, they will sprout and cause rapid growth on your lawn.

And since centipede grass takes longer to grow, the weed will outgrow the good grass and become challenging to eliminate.

Will centipede grass take over weeds?

Centipede grass can take over weeds through proper maintenance. But, for example, the grass may fail to take over weeds if there is excessive foot traffic.

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If there is too much foot traffic, centipede grass will not do well, and the recovery from wear and tear will take more time.

Depending on your lawn size, centipede grass can take up to two years to spread once the seeds germinate.

Also, consider proper management of the grass, including watering, soil conditioning, fertilizing, and reseeding bare spots to help centipede grass take over weeds.

What to spray on a centipede grass lawn to kill weeds

The best spray to spread on centipede grass will depend on the weed. However, some chemicals can impede the growth of centipede grass.

In simple terms, avoid applying a spray containing 2,4-D, MCCP, and dicamba as the active ingredients. Instead, use Atrazine to treat centipede grass.


Centipede grass takes time to grow. Therefore, proper maintenance is necessary to ensure weeds do not grow on the grass. You can get weeds out of centipede grass by using different methods.

For example, you can start watering the grass to make it grow thicker, spread faster, and take over weeds. Also, you can pull out weeds by hand to remove the roots without damaging the grass.

Although you can use herbicides to kill weeds in centipede grass, the herbicide should only include Atrazine as its active ingredient.