Best Fertilizers For Centipede Grass: Comprehensive Guide To Organic And Inorganic Types, How to Apply, And Benefits

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Quick Answer: Best Fertilizers Types For Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is a popular low-maintenance grass that may benefit from little fertilization.  It prefers feeding with 15-0-15 and 16-4-8 NPK fertilizers. The organic fertilizers that can be used are compost, fish emulsion, alfalfa meal, blood meal, and cottonseed meal. It is preferable to fertilize with one to two pounds of nitrogen per year. Avoid fertilizing in winter.

This is the ultimate guide to help you choose the best fertilizers for centipede grass.

I have compiled information covering different organic and inorganic options based on extensive product research.

Keep reading to explore more!

Best Fertilizers Types For Centipede Grass

Centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) is a low- maintenance, slow-growing, warm-season, grass that is known for excellent heat tolerance properties. Also, it is moderately resistant to many insects and diseases.

It requires moderate levels of nitrogen, potassium, and other micronutrients. Also, it grows best in soil with low pH values (5.5-6).

It requires fertilization to ensure that it grows lush and dense. If the soil pH is higher, it is beneficial to choose a fertilizer that is compatible with alkaline soil. But, it is preferable to do a soil test before fertilization to determine the nutritional deficiencies.

The recommended nitrogen value is one to two pounds per 1000 square feet per year. Avoid using phosphorus fertilizer for established grass unless a soil test indicates its deficiency.

Here is a useful video on tips on fertilizing centipede grass:

Next, let us explore the different inorganic and organic fertilizers that are suitable for centipede grass

Best Inorganic Fertilizers For Centipede Grass

Inorganic fertilizers are made from chemical compounds that are used to deliver the nutrients needed for centipede grass immediately. It is more concentrated and can work effectively. However, it may cause foliar burn due to heavy nitrogen salts and run-off pollution.

Here are the few inorganic fertilizers that will benefit centipede grass:

1. 15-0-15 NPK Fertilizers For Centipede Grass

Centipede lawn prefers NPK fertilizers with a 15-0-15 mix during the autumn season. Potassium is required late during the growing season as the grass goes into dormancy. It encourages root growth that will help the grass survive the winter months.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the calculation rate– Calculate the fertilizer rates according to your lawn. The recommended rate for centipede grass is 5 lbs for every 750-1500 square feet.
  2. Apply the fertilizer– Apply the fertilizer over the lawn. It can be applied in 2-3 applications from spring through summer.

Check out this video for additional information on using 15-0-15 fertilizers:

Pros And Cons

15-0-15 fertilizers are ideal for promoting the health, color, and growth of established lawns. It will help in making the lawn ready to tolerate extremely hot temperatures.

Avoid over-fertilization as it may burn the grass. Also, don’t apply fertilizer to wet turf.

2. 16-4-8 NPK Fertilizers For Centipede Grass

Centipede grass will also benefit from generic NPK fertilizer with a ratio of 16-4-8. It is preferable to use it at a rate of 4 pounds per 1000 square feet each time.

It encourages vigorous growth, root development, and tolerance to environmental stresses.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the amount– Read the manufacturer’s instructions and determine the right amount of fertilizers
  2. Apply the fertilizer– Apply half of the fertilizer using spreaders back and forth. Apply the other half at right angles.

Pros And Cons

16-4-8 fertilizers contain the perfect blend of macronutrients that is suitable for the lush growth of centipede grass. Avoid overuse as it may burn the grass.

Best Organic Fertilizers For Centipede Grass

Organic fertilizers are made using microbial action of the plant and animal byproducts to deliver nutrients to the plants. It offers a slow, consistent feed and makes the grass greener for many years.

However, it tends to be more expensive than synthetic fertilizers.

Here are a few organic fertilizers that will work for centipede grass:

1. Compost For Centipede Grass

Compost is a popular soil amendment made by the decomposition of organic materials, including food scraps, yard waste, and other organic matter.

It improves soil health and provides long-term nutrients for the centipede grass.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Spread a thin layer of compost– Sprinkle a thin layer of compost across the entire lawn. Use a rake to achieve an even distribution.
  2. Water thoroughly– Water the lawn deeply to about one inch of water to incorporate the fertilizer into the soil and releases the nutrients.

Check out this video for using compost to topdress the lawn:

Pros And Cons

Compost adds nutrients to promote the healthy growth of centipede grass.

It supports a healthy microbial population, curbs soil-based pathogens and increases the organic content of the soil for a long time.

2. Fish Emulsion For Centipede Grass

Fish emulsion is an organic fertilizer made from byproducts of the fish meal industry and is rich in nitrogen. It can be beneficial for centipede grass when nitrogen is in high demand.

It can be used as a foliar spray or a soil drench.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Dilute fish emulsion– Dilute the fish emulsion according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Combine ½ ounce of fish emulsion with a gallon of water and mix well.
  2. Water the lawn– Water the lawn with diluted fish emulsion using a sprayer. Make sure to cover the entire area.

Click this video for more information on using fish emulsion:

Pros And Cons

The fish emulsion contains nutrients suitable for centipede grass growth. It works quickly and is better for the environment. It is mild and won’t burn the plants.

One of the biggest drawbacks is the smell.

3. Alfalfa Meal For Centipede Grass

Alfalfa meal fertilizer is a soil amendment that contains nitrogen and trace minerals. It can be used to add nitrogen to your centipede grass and boost its growth and development. It is popularly available as pellets.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the amount– Determine the recommended application rate for alfalfa pellets according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Sprinkle alfalfa meal– Sprinkle alfalfa meal over the lawn by starting at one corner of the lawn and walking in parallel rows. Spread it evenly using a rake and water the plants.

You may watch this video for the benefits of using natural fertilizers:

Pros And Cons

Alfalfa meal can be used to slowly release nitrogen to the centipede grass over an extended period. Also, it improves soil structure and promotes the beneficial microbes in the soil.

4. Cottonseed Meal For Centipede Grass

Cottonseed meal is a by-product of the cotton manufacturing industry and a natural source of nitrogen that is essential for promoting healthy growth in centipede grass.

It provides a slow release of nitrogen over an extended period.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Calculate the application rate– Refer to the package instructions and determine the recommended application rate.
  2. Apply the cottonseed meal– Sprinkle the cottonseed meal about one to two-inch layer over the graded area and spread it using a spreader. Distribute it evenly to avoid concentrated patches. Water the lawn thoroughly.

Pros And Cons

Cottonseed meal can be used to introduce nutrients into the soil and promote vigorous growth of centipede grass. It helps in aiding water retention and improving soil texture.

5. Blood Meal For Centipede Grass

A blood meal is a natural fertilizer that is a by-product of the slaughtering house. It is high in nitrogen and is beneficial for promoting healthy growth in centipede grass.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Prepare the grass– Mow the centipede grass about 1.5 to 2 inches. Calculate the blood meal required according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Apply the blood meal– Apply the blood meal over the lawn and use a spreader to evenly distribute the blood meal. Water the grass after applying the fertilizer.

Click this link for more detailed information on using blood meal:

Pros And Cons

A blood meal is a slow-release fertilizer that will help in providing nutrients over a long time for the centipede grass. Its distinct odor may attract critters and can be expensive.

Also, don’t overuse it as it may burn the lawn.

When And How Often Do I Fertilize Centipede Grass?

Centipede grass requires proper fertilization to maintain its health. You may use 2 pounds of real nitrogen fertilizer for sandy soil and one pound or less for clay-based soil per year.

 It needs to be distributed over three times during the year. The frequency of application will depend on the nutritional needs of the soil and the type of fertilizer used.


 It may benefit from the application of preemergent herbicides in the spring for weed control and dehatching.

But, It is preferable not to fertilize the centipede too early in the spring and wait until the chance of frost is gone.

The nitrogen can only be applied when the soil temperature is at the four inches depth and 65oF.


Apply ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet in early and late summer depending on the soil type.


Do not apply nitrogen from September through December. Lime or sulfur may be added if shown by a soil test.

Also, apply 1 pound of potash per 1000 square feet every 4-6 weeks before the first expected frost. Omit fertilization in winter.

I recommend watching this informative video for additional tips:

Liquid Vs Granular For Centipede Grass: Which is Better?

Both liquid and granular fertilizers are available for centipede grass. The best type of fertilizer for your lawn depends on the soil type and fertility.

Liquid fertilizers are water-soluble fertilizers that deliver nutrients immediately to the grass. It can be applied using hose end sprayers. It is used to correct the nutritional deficiencies of the grass.

It can be easily applied and distributed across the lawn. However, it has to be applied more frequently than the granular form.

Granular fertilizers are made of tiny granules that can be used for slowly feeding nutrients to centipede grass for an extended period.

It can be easily applied using a broadcast or spreader. It can be used for regular maintenance of the lawn. It doesn’t need to be applied more frequently.

Both granular and liquid fertilizers can be used for centipede grass. The fertilizer should be applied to the entire lawn. You may spot-feed when patching certain areas of grass.


How do I make my centipede grass dark green?

Centipede grass is typically light green. It will become dark green when fertilized with nitrogen. It indicates the excessive use of nitrogen if the lawn remains green throughout the growing season. If the grass has a yellow-green color, it may be suffering from iron deficiency.

Is it too late to fertilize my centipede grass in July?

No, you may fertilize centipede grass in early July. It prefers to be fertilized once or twice per year, one time in early May, and another time in early July. Also, omit fertilization from September to December. It likes fertilizer, 15-0-15, or 16-4-8.

Is sugar good for centipede grass?

It is claimed that sugar encourages grassroots to seek nitrogen in the soil. It depletes the nitrogen for weeds and helps the centipede grass to flourish and prevent weed growth. However, more studies are required to determine the effect of sugar on centipede grass.

Bottom line

I hope this guide has thrown light on certain pointers in choosing the suitable fertilizer for your centipede grass lawn.

I am interested in your recommendations for trying the other soil amendments for centipede grass.

Do share the guide with your friends and family!

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