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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Centipede and St. Augustine Grass – Choose Wisely!

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Centipede and St. Augustine Grass – Choose Wisely!

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There has been a considerable amount of research in the type of grass that is grown nowadays. It may not seem like it at first, but you should know that there are different kinds of grasses that people like to grow around the globe.

If you want to grow grass in your garden, you will have a variety of options available to you. These special seeds are made with particular care and after significant research.

They are designed to grow quickly in a range of different climates, and they are also able to withstand different issues that may otherwise kill the grass.

These high-yielding varieties are now readily available from a number of different stores, and you could easily plant them all over your garden. If you have a spacious garden and are looking to add some new grass, you will realize that there are plenty of options available out there.

However, different kinds of grasses come with their own pros and cons. If you are going to buy a particular type of grass, it is perhaps critically important that you do your research.

Remember, the grass is going to grow over a period of several months, and you will want to make sure that you invest in the right variety. Otherwise, the costs of uprooting the entire garden, flattening the soil, and then replanting grass all over again is going to be quite high.

Two of the most popular options available to people include the centipede grass and the St. Augustine grass. They are both quite different in terms of color, texture, and appearance.

Centipede grass is generally designated to be suitable for US hardiness zones 7 through 10. It is also a lighter shade of green, and it is slightly softer when compared with St. Augustine grass.

On the other hand, the St. Augustine grass offers considerably denser growth, and is usually a darker shade of green. It is also considerably less tolerant to the cold when compared with other kinds of warm season grass.

These are perhaps two of the most popular choices in places with generally warmer climates. The aesthetic appeal is distinctive in both, and they are also quite durable.

They can easily be planted in commercial landscapes and offer a plethora of advantages. More importantly, if you care for them properly, they are going to thrive well.

The bigger problem is in making a decision about which one to choose. While they are both great in their own right, you should know that they have considerable differences.

Each has its own demerits and advantages, and some also tend to overlap on one another. They are also quite popular, so it’s important to evaluate your options carefully before making a decision about which one to choose.

Let’s talk about the benefits and disadvantages and compare centipede grass with the St. Augustine variant.

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass usually has a medium texture, and is generally low-growing. More importantly, the turf produced by the centipede grass is relatively dense, and it is also free of weeds.

This type of grass grows quite aggressively, and is also relatively attractive. It does not require a whole lot of care either.

Compared to the St. Augustine grass, the centipede grass is able to tolerate colder climates. However, you should know that the shade tolerance of this grass is relatively low.

At the very least, you will have to make sure that your grass gets at least six hours of sunlight to save it from certain death.

Going by its name, you should know that centipede grass is generally a bit aggressive. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not difficult to contain.

The grass only produces surface runners and you can just add a few bed liners to contain its growth.

Furthermore, you can easily plant the seeds in the ground or you can add the sprigs, and as long as you know how to care for it properly, it’s going to grow very well. The centipede grass is quite popular and is found in sod farms.

You can also buy it with ease from your local gardening or hardware stores. Obviously, you will have to invest in seeds if you are buying in bulk quantities, or visit a local gardening nursery to buy the sprigs.

While the amount of care and maintenance required by the centipede grass is a bit less, you should know that there are certain long-lasting issues that plague it. You don’t have to worry about these if you are growing St. Augustine grass.

Common problems you have to worry about with centipede grass are pests, changes in the nutritional requirements, and the centipede decline.

Addressing Decline

Arguably one of the least understood problems regarding centipede grass is the centipede decline. For starters, you need to understand that it is not a disease.

Basically, centipede decline is a problem that usually occurs in grass three years or above. Essentially, you will notice large patches appearing with a yellow tinge.

These patches are also virtually on the verge of death, and do not last quite long. In some cases, these problems occur naturally, though in other scenarios, the problem occurs due to negligence.

Poor maintenance of your garden is a serious problem, and could lead to centipede decline. The issue doesn’t have to be serious, and can be resolved by reducing the buildup of thatch, mowing the grass that has a height of less than two inches, and also making sure that the moisture levels in the grass are balanced.

You can also perform a soil test to determine the cause of the problem.

Pest Infestation

Nematodes and the larvae of the grub bug could cause serious damage to your grass. Even though the centipede grass does not have a higher sensitivity to chinch bugs, they do have a problem with nematodes.

For those who don’t know, nematodes are microscopic works that are usually found in the sandy soil, and currently, there’s no way to treat the problem. The only way to deal with nematodes in your garden is to make sure that you promote the health of your plants.

Then, you have the problem of grub bugs. They are generally small, such as white beetles, and tend to feed on the roots of the grass.

Healthy lawns are able to withstand different kinds of grub bugs, but if the population continues to grow, it will become a bit difficult for you to deal with the problem. As a result of that, you will have to seek appropriate treatment, otherwise plants in your lawn will begin to die.

St. Augustine Grass

Now that you know the pros and cons of the centipede grass, let’s talk about the St. Augustine grass. This is basically a fine-textured grass that is quite similar to Bermuda grass.

It generally has wider and flatter stems, and the leaves are also broad and coarse. Usually, the color of the grass is a mixture of blue and green. When it is planted and cared for, it quickly turns into a dense turf.

The grass is quite tolerant to shade, and you don’t have to worry about the grass requiring too much sunlight. However, you should know that the St. Augustine grass was created primarily for the warmer climates.

If you live in a colder area, this grass isn’t going to thrive for very long. Unlike conventional grass that is planted by seeding, a different process needs to be adopted with St. Augustine grass.

For instance, you have to understand that the grass does not produce many seeds. Instead, you must adopt vegetative techniques to plant it in the ground.

It will quickly begin to spread through the yard via the stolons and the above-ground runners. The only downside to planting the St. Augustine grass is the fact that it is incredibly sensitive to the chinch bug.

This type of bug can easily lead to the grass’ demise if you are not careful. However, by using insecticides, you can easily care for the grass. Furthermore, you have to understand that frequent applications are necessary to maintain the grass.

Three of the most popular types of St. Augustine grass includes the bitter-blue, the palmetto, and the floratum. Each of these have different properties, and it would be a wise idea to compare them before making a decision.


Considered an improvement over the original variety of the St. Augustine family, the bitter-blue generally has a finer texture and a darker shade, and has a mowing height of around three or four inches.

Bitter-blue usually has a considerably better tolerance to cold and can also resist shade. However, don’t expect a significant improvement for shade tolerance. On the other hand, it features considerably higher tolerance to salt and hot weather.

The downside is that this kind of grass is still quite sensitive and vulnerable to chinch bugs.


Then, you have the palmetto. The palmetto is a native grass to St. Augustine and was selected because of its finer texture and color. It is semi-dwarf, so it often has a pretty plush appearance.

On top of that, you never have to worry about the grass becoming thatch either. The blade width of the palmetto is completely similar to the bitter-blue.

When you plant the palmetto in an appropriate climate setting, it’s going to grow year round, and can easily survive the winter as well. However, if there is a hard frost, the chances of survival decrease considerably.

After being exposed to hard frosts over and over again, the palmetto often becomes dormant. The drought tolerance of the palmetto is considerably higher, and it is not going to wilt as quickly as other variants.

More importantly, as long as you make sure that the grass gets an appropriate amount of water, you don’t have to worry about any major damage.


Last but not the least, you have the floratum. This variety was created to be resistant specifically to the chinch bugs and the SAD virus.

While it had quite a bit of quality originally, they have declined considerably, and the grass is now quite exposed to the problem of chinch bugs.

One important thing that you should know about this grass is that it has a generally coarse texture and the leaf blades are also slightly longer than most other variants.

The variety is obviously not as tolerant to cold as compared to the ordinary variant of the St. Augustine, and if it is exposed to the cold winters, it is going to sustain quite a bit of freeze damage.

If the temperature falls below zero for longer periods of time, it is going to suffer quite a bit, and will eventually die as well.

The good thing about floratum is that it spreads really fast, and the stolons can extend almost an inch within a day. However, the mowing height for the grass is just around an inch.

Which One Should You Choose?

As you can see, both of the grasses have their own pros and cons. It primarily depends on where you live, so you have to choose carefully.

If you are confused between selecting one or the other, it is important that you visit your local gardening nursery and talk to them about the different variants available in the market.

If you don’t want to worry about the cost of sodding the entire yard and need something that does not require a lot of maintenance, you should go with the centipede grass. It’s also relatively inexpensive.

On the other hand, if you want something that is going to have a dense texture and look unique, you should consider opting for the centipede grass. The bitter-blue is a pretty fine grass that will look great in your yard.

These are just a few things that you should know about the centipede grass and the St. Augustine grass, and selecting one from the other.


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