The best grass to mix with Centipede grass is St. Augustine. It has a similar color, can be mowed to the same height, and performs better in shady areas. So, it can fill in bare spots in a Centipede lawn. To keep your Centipede grass lawn green year-round, you can mix it with Dwarf Fescue or Annual Ryegrass. These grasses remain green in winter, so your lawn will still look great when your Centipede grass is brown and dormant.
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3 Best Grasses to Mix with Centipede Grass
In order to properly mix another grass type with your Centipede lawn it’s essential to make sure the secondary grass will look good alongside Centipede grass, has compatible fertilizer needs, and thrives at the same mowing height. Here are the top options:
Adding St. Augustine grass is a very good choice for a Centipede lawn. St. Augustine grows more vigorously in shade than Centipede grass, so it can fill in bare areas. Since Centipede and St. Augustine are closely related grass species, the color of St. Augustine is very similar to Centipede grass. Your lawn will not look patchy or mismatched when you mix these two types of grass.
- St. Augustine is very similar to Centipede grass in color and appearance, so these two varieties mix well.
- Adding St. Augustine to a Centipede lawn will help fill in bare areas where Centipede grass struggles.
- Mow your mixed lawn to 2 inches (5 cm) to benefit both kinds of grass.
- Fertilize a combination of Centipede/St. Augustine lawn with 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually.
- As a downside, St. Augustine must be established by sod or plugs, not seed.
Both St. Augustine and Centipede grass grow well when mowed to a height of 2 inches (5 cm), so they pair well together. Additionally, if you provide 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet to your lawn annually, you will fuel healthy St. Augustine grass growth without overfertilizing your low-maintenance Centipede grass. The biggest downside of mixing these two grass types is that St. Augustine can’t be grown from seed, so you’ll need to use grass plugs to add St. Augustine to your lawn.
Annual Ryegrass is an excellent grass to mix with Centipede in regions where winter weather turns your Centipede lawn brown. Overseed your Centipede lawn with Annual Ryegrass in the fall. The ryegrass seeds will sprout as the Centipede grass enters dormancy. Then, the ryegrass will remain green through the winter. This allows you to have a green lawn year-round.
- Overseed your Centipede lawn with this Annual Ryegrass seed in the fall for green grass in winter.
- Annual Ryegrass remains green in winter while Centipede grass turns brown.
- In spring and summer, Centipede grass will green up while the Ryegrass dies off.
- This mixing method requires you to overseed with Annual Ryegrass every fall.
Centipede is a warm-season grass that performs well in hot weather but quickly enters dormancy when cold weather arrives. Annual Ryegrass is a cool-season grass that thrives in cool weather but struggles in the heat. As the weather warms up in spring, your Centipede grass will green up and the Annual Ryegrass will die off. You will have to seed your lawn with Annual Ryegrass each year since this grass dies off in spring, but it is an excellent choice for Centipede lawns.
If you want to keep a green lawn year-round without spreading Annual Ryegrass seed each fall, mix Dwarf Fescue into your Centipede lawn instead. Dwarf fescue is a cool season grass that stays green in temperatures where Centipede grass turns brown, plus it won’t die off in spring. Make sure to choose Dwarf Fescue because it thrives at a 2-inch mowing height that benefits Centipede grass. Other fescues require a much taller mowing height that doesn’t mix well with Centipede grass.
- Overseed Centipede grass with Dwarf Fescue to maintain a green lawn year-round.
- Dwarf Fescue remains green during the months Centipede grass is dormant.
- Unlike Annual Ryegrass, Dwarf Fescue lives year-round and won’t die off in spring.
- Mow your Centipede and Dwarf Fescue at a height of 2 inches (5 cm) to keep both varieties healthy.
- To feed a Centipede/Dwarf Fescue lawn, apply 1.5 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of grass annually.
Dwarf fescue has fertilizer needs that are compatible with Centipede grass. Apply 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn each year. This will adequately feed both grass types without overfertilizing either variety. This way, you’ll be able to maintain a green lawn year-round without buying grass seed each fall.
3 Grasses to Avoid Mixing with Centipede Grass
Some common types of grass pair very poorly with Centipede grass. Before you mix any grasses in with your Centipede lawn, review this list. The following grasses are not a good choice for Centipede lawns.
Despite what some online articles state, overseeding Centipede with Bermuda grass is a terrible idea. For starters, the two types of grass have very different colors. Centipede is bright green, while Bermuda is darker. This leads to a patchy and discolored lawn in areas where one grass thrives and the other struggles. Additionally, Bermuda grass and Centipede both grow poorly in shade, so adding Bermuda grass won’t help to reclaim the bare, shady areas of your lawn.
- Bermuda and Centipede mix very poorly.
- These two grass varieties have very different colors, which causes your lawn to have a patchy “map” look where the grasses meet.
- Both Centipede and Bermuda struggle in shade, so Bermuda will not make up for Centipede’s shortfalls.
- Bermuda grass requires large amounts of fertilizer that will kill your Centipede grass.
Bermuda grass and Centipede grass are incompatible because they have vastly different fertilizer needs. Bermuda grass is a heavy feeder that requires 4 to 5 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn annually. This amount is up to 3 times more than what Centipede grass requires. If you use enough fertilizer to feed your Bermuda grass, your Centipede grass will die from overfertilization. If you reduce fertilizer applications to the low levels Centipede grass requires, your Bermuda will struggle and die.
Tall Fescue and Other Cool-Season Grasses
Tall Fescue mixes poorly with Centipede grass, so this combination should be avoided. Centipede grass thrives when mowed at a height of 1.5 to 2 inches (4–5 cm). Tall Fescue will weaken and die if it is mowed this short. So, the grasses simply won’t coexist.
- Tall Fescue will die if it is mowed to the heights that benefit Centipede grass.
- Most cool-season grasses need taller mowing heights and more fertilizer than Centipede grass.
- Dwarf Fescue is the best choice for creating a lawn that combines warm-season and cool-season grasses.
The same reasons that Centipede and Tall Fescue don’t mix well apply to other cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass. These grasses thrive at taller mowing heights than Centipede grass. Additionally, many cool-season grasses need more fertilizer than Centipede grass. Since overfertilization is a main cause of Centipede grass death, it’s best to avoid these situations.
Adding Zoysia to your Centipede lawn is not the worst decision, but it rarely yields spectacular results. Zoysia is more shade-tolerant than Centipede and has similar fertilizer needs, so it may seem like a good option at first. However, Zoysia has a slow spread rate, so adding it to your Centipede lawn may fail simply because the Zoysia gets choked out.
- Zoysia grass spreads slowly, so it usually grows only in areas where Centipede grass struggles.
- Zoysia is darker than Centipede grass, so this mix can create a mismatched lawn.
- You will have more success with Zoysia than Bermuda or tall grasses, but mixing Zoysia and Centipede grass is tricky.
The biggest issue with Zoysia is that the coloration of the grass is often darker than Centipede grass. When combined with Zoysia’s slow spread, this leads to Zoysia growing in shady spots only. This leads to clearly defined borders where the darker green Zoysia meets the bright green Centipede grass. Due to Zoysia’s slow spread, these colors will often fail to mix.
What Can You Mix With Centipede Grass?
The best grasses to mix into a Centipede grass lawn are:
- St. Augustine grass
- Dwarf Fescue
- Annual Ryegrass
Grasses to avoid mixing into your Centipede lawn are:
- Bermuda grass
- Tall Fescue and other cool season grasses
The best grasses perform well alongside Centipede grass and/or remain green while Centipede grass is dormant. Poor choices will not blend well with Centipede grass due to different coloration and lawncare needs. Make sure to choose a grass that is compatible with your Centipede lawn for the best results.