Centipede grass is a warm season grass that can grow in the most unpleasant conditions such as extreme heat, sandy soils, and acidic soils.
For those living in warm climates, this beautiful light to medium green grass provides the base for a lawn the neighbors envy.
Centipede Sod Versus Seed
Once germinated, centipede grass spreads by above-ground stolons. These stolons branch out from the center of the plant and grow small roots along their length. These roots implant in the soil and grow new base plants from which more stolons can spread from.
While seeding your lawn can make you feel like an expert landscaper, it does require an immense amount of patience.
Centipede grass seeds take from 10 to 28 days to germinate. That does not mean you’ll have a lush lawn by day 30, instead you will see small shoots begin to break the surface of the soil.
Centipede grass is a warm season grass, so implanting and growing the seeds must occur in late spring or early summer.
New shoots of grass must be thoroughly established before facing the highest temperatures of the year in the summer, and you want them to be healthy and mature enough to withstand the winter months as well.
With Centipede grass sod, it is still recommended that you install the sod during the warm months of April or May, but you don’t have to wait as long to see the results of your hard work.
While installation is recommended in the early spring, you can also install Centipede grass sod all spring and summer long.
If you live in a coastal area, you may be able to plant it as late as early fall.
Sod is made of established grass, making it undeniably hardier than delicate new seeds.
Where Can I Buy Centipede Grass Sod?
Centipede grass sod can be purchased at any retailer that sells other varieties of sod. Its popularity means it is one of the sods that is typically in stock.
Places that sell and even offer installation of sod include chain-based home improvement stores, local gardening stores, and landscape companies.
Many large home improvement stores have websites where you can view the sod’s price per roll and whether it is currently in stock.
Each of these store types is interested in making a profit.
How to Get the Best Deal
You can help yourself get the best deal possible by shopping around.
For local businesses, you may find that they price match these large stores. Inquire as to whether they sell centipede grass sod and how soon they can sell some to you. Once you have that information, you can supply what you have learned by perusing the other home improvement store’s website. This information could be your key to getting a great deal on sod from a local small business.
Advantages of Centipede Sod
The most prevalent advantage of covering your lawn with sod instead of starting from scratch with seed is the instant payoff.
Once laid out, sod looks like a luscious green scape from the beginning. With seeds, you’ll be waiting about three months until you see a gorgeous yard.
The instant application of grass is ideal for those looking to repair barren patches in their lawn. These patches can occur from lawn ornaments or furniture resting on the grass for long periods of time, ruts created by vehicles and lawn mowers, or even from your beloved pet digging around in the backyard. When you see bald spots in your lawn during the warm season, you can run out and buy some sod. Place the sod over the clearing and it is instantly repaired.
Correcting Areas of Erosion
Sod is also excellent for correcting areas of erosion. These areas can arise on the crest or troughs of hills, at the base of trees, and near gutter drains. Install the sod in the area that is eroded. Allow it to anchor itself into the soil before a heavy rain comes along. Now, the centipede grass’s roots will help hold soil in its place and prevent it from washing downhill.
Sod Needs Less Maintenance Than Seeds
Whether you choose to grow grass from seeds or use sod, you will need to guard the area and water it carefully afterward.
Thankfully, sod needs considerably less maintenance than grass seeds.
Centipede grass sod should be watered routinely for the first three weeks after installation.
This means watering it whenever the soil begins to dry out.
You can test it by simply sticking your finger between the grass blades and into the soil.
After the three weeks is up, you can enjoy your lawn. If you had grown your lawn from seed, you’d need to avoid treading on it for at least three months.
Disadvantages of Centipede Sod
Sod Is More Expensive Than Seed
For frugal landscapers, sodding may not be an attractive option. Purchasing sod costs more than buying centipede grass seeds.
Requires More Labor
Laying sod also requires more labor up front.
Hauling the sod and installing it in your lawn can be a grueling task that lasts a day or two, while seeds can be spread over a lawn within a matter of minutes.
Seeds are also extremely light in weight, making seeding an attractive option for those who cannot lift heavy items.
Whether you choose to sod or plant your grass, you will still need to prep the soil accordingly. This involves tilling and removing any weeds from the lawn. Unfortunately, sodding does not get you a ticket out of the prep work.
Purchasing sod does come with a larger price tag than grass seeds.
However, you save a lot of time in aftercare, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labor much sooner than seeding.
If you’re interested in sodding your lawn with centipede grass, but you’re worried about the price tag, you could consider purchasing sod plugs.
Sod plugs are small pieces of an already established grass. These clusters contain soil, grass, and the grass’s roots. Once planted in the soil, the centipede grass’s stolons quickly branch out. As the stolons move their way across the soil, roots anchor into the soil, producing a new plant. This spreading keeps occurring until there is no more space left to grow.
Sod plugs won’t provide you with a carpet of green grass instantly, but they do establish quickly and easily spread out. Sod plugs are ideal when you need to patch up small areas.
Sod plugs are typically $1.50 per plug and they are sold in dozen packs. This could save you a pretty penny if you’re willing to wait for your lawn to grow in.
How Much Is a Pallet of Centipede Sod?
When you have a large area to cover and no time to waste, you should buy centipede grass sod by the pallet.
Centipede grass sod costs anywhere from $0.35 to $0.90 per square foot. For 500 square feet of sod, you can expect to pay $200 to $500.
These price differences can be explained by different varieties of centipede grass.
Some varieties are much more tolerant to cool temperatures than others, making them suitable for transition climates that don’t experience many hard freezes in the winter time.
Due to the years of science and selective breeding that goes into making these different varieties, they have a higher price tag than common, naturally occurring varieties.
After you have successfully installed your sod, you need to water the greenery.
First Week Following Installation
Every day for the first week after installation, you need to water your new lawn.
The first watering should occur immediately after the sod is laid.
Around one inch of water is recommended, but you can do less if you find the area is flooding.
Second Week Following Installation
On the second week following installation, you’ll need to water the lawn every other day, or every three days.
The difference is whether your soil is clay based or sand based.
Grass grown in sandy soils will require more water because the water drains through the soil quicker than in clay-based environments.
Those in coastal areas with sandy soils should water their fresh sod every other day during the second week, and homeowners with clay-based soils should water every three days.
Third Week Following Installation
On the third week, you can scale back to watering once per week.
The average lawn needs one inch of water per week, but mature lawns can handle less water if need be. However, it is important that you keep your sod well moisturized.
Sod contains grass roots as well as the rest of the plant.
If the sod is allowed to dry out, the roots will quickly dry out, and you will not be able to revive them.
In a healthy plant with established roots, although the plant body may be wilting from lack of hydration, the roots are protected deep beneath the soil.
The roots can stay moist in this dark environment, and they can feed off of water stores within the soil.
When to Lay Centipede Sod
It’s best to lay sod during the grass’s growing season.
For centipede grass, this time period is from mid-spring to mid-summer.
As the winter chill leaves the area and soil temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit, centipede grass comes into its prime.
It thrives under the warm sun and grows now more than any other time of the year.
Laying sod during the spring and summer will give your centipede grass the warmth it needs to thrive in its new home: your lawn.
How to Lay Sod
Sod can come in long rolls or in rectangular mats. To begin sodding your area, you’ll need to find a straight line to begin with. This line could be the edge of your driveway, your property line, or you can use a level and stake out an area to make a straight line.
Lay your first piece of sod perpendicular to this straight line. Then, lay the next piece butting up against the first, stretching out horizontally away from your line. Repeat this until you reach the end of the area.
Then, you’ll come back to your first piece. You want your next row to begin directly under the first, still perpendicular to the line, but you want your seams to be staggered. The seams are where two pieces of sod cuddle up to one another. If you don’t stagger the seams, the water you apply to the fresh sod will easily run down the seams, creating gaps. These gaps will be barren and will ruin the cohesiveness of your sodded area.
Cut your piece of sod in half and lay it down directly below the first piece, moving parallel with your straight edge. Then, lay a full length piece of sod to the side of your half piece. Repeat the laying of your sod horizontally until you reach the perimeter of the area.
Your third row of sod will start with a full-length piece, and the fourth will begin with a half piece of sod. After a few rows of sod, you’ll notice the yard resembling a brick wall with its alternating seams.
Once all of your sod is laid, you need to go through with handfuls of potting soil or topsoil and fill in the seams. This will provide extra dirt to bridge the gap between the seams, and make an easier journey for your centipede grass’s stolons to branch out and grow in that area.
Post-laying, you need to ensure your sod has good contact with the soil beneath it.
You can accomplish this by using a lawn roller.
Lawn rollers can be purchased or rented from home improvement stores.
If you don’t feel like incurring another expense after purchasing all that sod, you can try another way. Water the area heavily, allowing the ground beneath the sod to become soaked. Then, take a piece of plywood and lie it down over the sod. Lightly step onto the piece of plywood, staying mostly in the middle. Then, pick up the piece of plywood and repeat on another section until you have tamped down your entire new lawn.
How Long Does It Take Centipede Sod to Root?
After installation, your sod will need some time to grow down and establish itself in your soil.
The rooting process is satisfactorily complete after two weeks, but deep roots don’t develop until six weeks.
These deep roots are necessary for surviving the frigid temperatures of winter.
This is another reason why it is highly recommended to lay centipede grass sod in the spring or summer.
Will Centipede Sod Spread?
Thanks to centipede grass’s stolons, the sod will spread. This is great news for those who may have underestimated how much sod they’ll need.
If installing sod plugs, it may take two to three weeks before the plugs grow enough toward each other to form a mat of grass.
Frequently Asked Sod Questions:
Can You Water New Sod Too Much?
Yes. No matter the variety, new sod needs a heavy amount of water. This moisture will prevent the exposed roots from drying out, causing the plant to die. It also feeds your grass, giving it the energy it needs to bloom into its full potential. However, you should avoid flooding the area. Research the variety of grass you are laying and determine its watering needs on a regular basis.
For the first two weeks after installation of sod, a grass’s normal watering needs should be doubled. You should also factor in any natural precipitation. There’s no reason to water your sod if a rainstorm has drenched the area.
What Should I Do After the Sod Is Laid?
After the sod is laid, you need to roll the area to deflate any air bubbles that may be underneath the sod but above the soil. Once the sod is rolled, you’ll need to give it a good watering to keep it moist while it establishes itself.
Is it Okay to Water New Sod at Night?
No. Due to the high moisture content needed in your sod, infestations of fungi are a real danger. Watering your sod at night increases the risk of fungus growth because excess moisture will not be evaporated by the atmosphere and will just pool around the plant. These pools of water under low light are exactly where fungi love to grow.
To prevent this, water your new sod early in the morning. Watering before 10 a.m. is the standard recommendation, as from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the sun’s rays are the strongest. You don’t want all of the water to evaporate from the soil, only the gross excess.
Will Dead Sod Grow Back?
Unfortunately, once sod has died, it cannot be revived. This certainty is why it is crucial to water your sod properly after installation. If the sod is allowed to dry out and die, you’ll have wasted all the time and money you spent on this lawn.
Fertilizing your sod also helps ensure its livelihood. About six weeks after installation, fertilize your sod. Pay close attention to the ratio of the fertilizer, and consider your grass’s needs. Centipede grass is prone to iron deficiencies, which can be exacerbated by too much phosphorus. For centipede grass, use a fertilizer with low or no phosphorus.