Best Fertilizer For Centipede Grass | How And When To Apply

Compared to other turfgrass species, centipede grass consumes very few nutrients. This makes it ideal for areas prone to drought and infertile soil.

Applying a heavy fertilizer to centipede grass and calling it a day is a great way to subject your lawn to fertilizer burn or even death. Neglecting to fertilize your centipede grass at all, however, will leave it more vulnerable to extreme weather, disease, infestation, and day-to-day damage.

Finding the right fertilizer for centipede grass does not need to be difficult. I’ll guide you through the best way to fertilize centipede grass, which fertilizers I personally recommend, and how to use each formula for optimal results.

Best Centipede Grass Fertilizer

Simple Lawn Solutions Nitrogen & Potash Liquid Fertilizer 15-0-15

Best Liquid Fertilizer For Centipede Grass

Simple Lawn Solutions Liquid Fertilizer 15-0-15

Complete with a spray hose attachment, this fast-acting, and pre-mixed formula is suitable for use during the summer months to enhance color and growth as well as protect against extreme weather, pests, and diseases.

Ferti-Lome Fertilizer for Centipede Grass 15-0-15

Best Fertilizer Granules

Ferti-Lome Fertilizer for Centipede Grass 15-0-15

Slow-release granular fertilizer that reduces the frequency of applications. This product contains 15% of both nitrogen and potassium, making it perfect for use during the summer growing season.

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4

Best Weed And Feed For Centipede Grass

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4

High nitrogen granular feed that also contains pre-emergent herbicide. Suitable for use during the growing season when weeds are actively growing. Contains phosphorous to support root development and growth.

High nitrogen granular feed that also contains pre-emergent herbicide. Suitable for use during the growing season when weeds are actively growing. Contains phosphorous to support root development and growth.

Choosing The Best Fertilizer For Centipede Grass

Before we discuss the best fertilizer formulas for centipede grass, let’s break down the different types of fertilizers available for feeding your lawn:

Fertilizer vs Weed And Feed

Fertilizer is an integral part of any lawn care routine. However, calling fertilizer “food” would be inaccurate — photosynthesis takes care of that! Instead, I like to think of fertilizer as a botanical multivitamin.

Weed and feed is a colloquial term for products that contain both fertilizer and herbicide.

Applying a pre-emergent weed and feed product early in the growing season is a wonderful way to manage common lawn weeds. These formulas target weed seeds sitting dormant in the soil, preventing them from germinating in the first place.

Keep in mind that some centipede pre-emergent herbicides will prevent centipede grass seeds from germinating. Do not apply these products if you plan to reseed your lawn within the next couple of months.

Organic Vs Synthetic

The defining characteristic of organic fertilizer is that it comes from a plant or animal source. Organic fertilizers include nutrient-rich materials such as compost, aged manure, or mulch that you can spread across your soil as is. 

Manufactured organic fertilizers include ingredients such as wood, rock minerals, groundfish, crushed shells, blood meal, bone meal, and more. They are available as liquids, granules, and spikes.

Synthetic fertilizers are manufactured from man-made chemicals or mined minerals. Synthetic fertilizers are also available in a range of formats from slow-release granules, liquid plant food, and dissolvable spikes.

You will find a mix of both synthetic and organic fertilizers available at your local garden center. Which one you choose comes down to how your garden, the size of the area you want to fertilize, and what exactly it is you want to fertilize. 

The jury continues to be out on what is the safest type of fertilizer to use. It’s true that organic fertilizers are likely to impact less adversely on the environment and be less hazardous for people and animals. 

Synthetic fertilizers, on the other hand, do tend to be more concentrated and can work more effectively. However, you still need to worry about things like foliar burn and run-off pollution regardless of which you choose. 

The main priority for anyone using fertilizers should be to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and do not exceed the suggested usage.

Fertilizer Spray Vs Granules

Key differences between spray and granular fertilizers include things like costs, ease of application, and longevity. When feeding centipede grass, the latter of which tends to be most important.

On average, liquid fertilizer is more expensive per square foot of coverage. This isn’t always a big deal when feeding a garden bed but quickly adds up when feeding an entire lawn!

If you are looking to save time when fertilizing, you might want to consider investing in an additional kit. A broadcast spreader can be used for granules and a sprayer can be attached to a garden hose for liquid spray fertilizing.

Compared to granules, liquid fertilizers are absorbed much faster. This is a huge benefit when feeding a new lawn or repairing damage but these quick-acting liquids also need to be applied more often.

Granules need water and soil microbes to break down and release nutrients over an extended period. This provides grass with a consistent flow of nutrients anywhere from between 4 weeks to 3 months. This slow-release approach means you can apply fertilizer much less frequently.

Understanding Fertilizer N-P-K

The N-P-K ratio is a quick and easy way to see the percentage of certain nutrients in the fertilizer. It’s listed on fertilizer packaging as a sequence of three numbers divided by hyphens. 

These numbers are always in the same order. From left to right, they represent the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. 

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the most important nutrients for plant health. Focusing on these nutrients should be enough to maintain your centipede grass lawn.

For general feeding, centipede grass responds well to N-P-K ratios similar to 15-0-15 or 16-4-8 fertilizer. Nitrogen is needed at high levels to support overall health and ensure the lush, greenness that we all want from our lawns. 

Potassium is also a key requirement of centipede grass. It’s what will protect your lawn against adverse weather, pests, and diseases, especially in the colder months. 

Phosphorus is what supports healthy root growth. I’d only recommend adding it to your lawn at the beginning of the growing season or for newly laid sod or seedlings.

5 Best Centipede Grass Fertilizer Reviews

Simple Lawn Solutions Nitrogen & Potash Liquid Fertilizer 15-0-15
  • Type: Liquid Concentrate
  • Application: Hose End Spray
  • Coverage: 3,200 Sq.Ft.
  • N-P-K: 15-0-15

Pros

  • Comes premixed in a convenient hose-end sprayer
  • Fortified with sulfur and humic acid
  • Use throughout the entire growing season

Cons

  • The liquid formula requires frequent feedings

If you prefer applying fertilizer with a convenient hose-end sprayer, then I recommend using this phosphorus-free formula from Simple Lawn Solutions on your centipede grass. 

This fertilizer contains a balanced ratio of nitrogen and potassium and is ideal for use all year long. Use it to jumpstart spring growth after the risk of frost is gone and then continue with regular applications right through to the following year.

Other notable nutrients included in this liquid fertilizer include sulfur and humic acid. Applying sulfur to your centipede grass lawn will help maintain pH levels and increase access to iron. Humic acid improves overall soil health by improving water and nutrient retention.
How To Use: Using a standard garden hose, connect the premixed spray bottle and apply fertilizer over the entire lawn. The included sprayer features several nozzle settings and can be saved and refilled for future feedings.

Ferti-Lome Fertilizer for Centipede Grass 15-0-15
  • Type: Granules
  • Application: Spreader
  • Coverage: 5,000 Sq.Ft.
  • N-P-K: 15-0-15

Pros

  • Slow-release nitrogen reduces the risk of fertilizer burn
  • Designed to treat and prevent yellow foliage
  • Long-lasting formula means less maintenance

Cons

  • Expensive for a granular fertilizer

We’d all love a lawn care routine that requires minimal time and labor while still producing great results. By combining centipede grass with the specially formulated granular fertilizer from Ferti-Lome, that dream could actually become a reality.

As with my first choice, this is a balanced mix of nitrogen and soluble potash (potassium) that will support healthy growth and that all-important green color. It’s also high in iron to prevent yellow discoloration of your lawn.

Unlike liquid fertilizer, this offers the use of slow-release nitrogen and can therefore reduce the risk of fertilizer burn. It also makes this formula incredibly long-lasting. 

It’s specifically designed to be applied once in the spring and again in the fall for optimal results. So your centipede grass will look great all season while you can kick back and relax.

How To Use: Using a broadcast spreader, apply 4 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. 

Avoid using this fertilizer near storm drains or natural water sources as any run-oo could cause pollution, and do not fertilize before heavy rain. To avoid staining, be sure to sweep any excess granules off of nearby sidewalks, driveways, or patios.

The Andersons Professional PGF Complete Fertilizer with Humic 16-4-8
  • Type: Granules
  • Application: Spreader
  • Coverage: 5,000 Sq.Ft.
  • N-P-K: 16-4-8

Pros

  • Contains a small amount of phosphorus
  • The unique formula delivers nutrients slowly and consistently
  • Small granules offer better coverage

Cons

  • Not for regular feeding of centipede grass

While phosphorus-free fertilizer will meet your centipede grass’s needs most of the time, I prefer to keep a few high-quality formulas in my lawn care arsenal. That is of course if you are permitted to use phosphorus in your state.

Use this granular feed from The Andersons Pro Turf if you have recently reseeded or laid new sod or if you find your soil’s phosphorus levels have dropped too low at the start of the growing season. 

This N-P-K ratio is not ideal for routinely feeding centipede grass (unless your area is chronically deficient in phosphorus!). You’ll likely see the best results by supplementing your regular phosphorus-free formula with a small amount of this fertilizer every few years. 

This fertilizer boasts unique granular technology that claims to deliver more consistent nutrition than traditional formulas. I’m a big fan of using this type of granule for centipede grass since it hypothetically lowers the risk of overfeeding.

How To Use: Distribute fertilizer over dry grass using a broadcast spreader. Irrigate the lawn with at .2 inches of water immediately after feeding. Avoid collecting lawn clippings the next time you mow as they may contain unabsorbed granules.

This fertilizer features smaller granules than most competitors, so calibrating your spreader is extremely important!

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4

Best Weed And Feed For Centipede Grass

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4
  • Type: Granules
  • Application: Spreader
  • Coverage: 5,000 Sq.Ft.
  • N-P-K: 28-3-4

Pros

  • Targets common lawn weeds
  • Ideal for centipede grass in sandy soil

Cons

  • N-P-K ratio is not ideal for routine feeding

Because sandy soil has a hard time retaining nutrients, centipede grass in sand-heavy areas often requires heavier feedings. This Scotts granular formula will supplement your lawn’s nutrition while battling sand-loving weeds.

While centipede grass is a great option for filling out a sandy lawn, it still struggles to compete with hardy weeds like clover and dandelions. Applying fertilizer alone means feeding your grass and the competing weeds. Using this product when weeds are actively growing fixes that problem!

This fertilizer offers tons of benefits when used in the right context. Keep an eye on your soil composition to avoid overfeeding (personally, I wouldn’t use this formula for more than one feeding per year).

How To Use: Apply to a wet lawn with a broadcast spreader for the best results. Scotts recommends using this fertilizer when daily temperatures are consistently above 60°F. Keep people and animals off of the treated area until granules absorb into the soil.

Scotts Liquid Turf Builder Lawn Food Fertilizer 29-0-3
  • Type: Liquid Concentrate
  • Application: Hose End Spray
  • Coverage: 2,000 Sq.Ft.
  • N-P-K: 29-0-3

Pros

  • The fast-acting formula for greener grass
  • Ideal for nitrogen-deficient lawns
  • Great for repairing small patches of grass

Cons

  • Too much nitrogen for most centipede grass

Even though centipede grass requires minimal nutrition, deficiencies can still happen. The best way to treat yellow grass caused by missing nitrogen is with a liquid formula like this one from Scotts. 

This formula targets your lawn’s nitrogen needs without overcompensating with excess phosphorus or potassium. The handheld sprayer is perfect for treating small patches of the lawn as needed.

A lack of nitrogen isn’t the only thing that causes centipede grass to yellow. So to avoid doing more harm than good, I strongly suggest doing a soil test before using this fertilizer.

How To Use: Connect the sprayer to a garden hose and apply evenly to the targeted area. This fertilizer can be applied to wet or dry grass but don’t apply it before rain. Apply to nitrogen-deficient centipede grass no more than twice per year.

How To Fertilize Centipede Grass

During routine feedings, fertilizer should be applied to the entire lawn. Spot-feeding may be useful when patching damaged or reseeding areas of grass.

Even distribution is a top priority when fertilizing any type of turfgrass. In the case of centipede grass, fertilizer burn caused by uneven application is of particular concern.

How Often Should I Fertilize My Centipede Grass?

On average, centipede grass should be fertilized every 2 months during the growing season. Your lawn’s specific nutritional needs and the type of fertilizer you use will affect this frequency.

How Do I Apply Fertilizer To Centipede Grass?

Whether using a liquid or granular formula, pre-measure the fertilizer to ensure you’re applying the correct amount. For large areas, consider dividing the lawn into separate sections to take the guesswork out of applying the right amount.

Hose End Spray

Many liquid fertilizers come in ready-to-use spray bottles. Alternatively, you can purchase a hose-end sprayer (or reuse one you already own) and fill it with your favorite fertilizer formula according to the product guidelines.

The hardest part of using a hose-end sprayer is achieving an even application. I recommend this type of fertilizer for small lawns or spot treatments.

There’s no need to worry about whether the grass is wet or dry before applying — the lawn will be irrigated as you fertilize anyway. However, avoid applying liquid fertilizer before rain or scheduled sprinklers.

Fertilizer Spreader

Fertilizer spreaders are ideal for applying granules. Most homeowners will get the best value from a walk-behind broadcast spreader.

You can control the amount of fertilizer distributed by your spreader by changing the hopper settings. Granular fertilizer packaging usually includes recommended settings for popular spreader styles.

Check your chosen fertilizer to determine whether granules should be applied to dry or wet grass blades. Light watering after applying fertilizer will activate the granules and carry nutrients into the soil.

When To Fertilize Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is particularly sensitive to when and how you feed it. Fertilizing too often is practically guaranteed to harm rather than help your lawn. 

Applying fertilizer too early or too late in the year can have devastating effects on your centipede grass. Centipede grass’s specific nutritional needs also change with the seasons, impacting the best type of fertilizer to use at any given time.

Centipede Grass Fertilizer Schedule

Knowing the right time to apply fertilizer (plus which nutrients are most effective when) will help destress and streamline your annual lawn care:

Spring

You might be eager to give your centipede grass a heavy dose of springtime nutrition. But it’s probably best to wait. 

Instead, spring is a great time to prioritize maintenance like pre-emergent weed control and dethatching. 

Spring fertilization should focus on correcting any known deficiencies. Do not apply fertilizer to centipede grass until the chance of frost is entirely gone. 

Even if a soil test indicates a need for nitrogen, I recommend waiting until early summer to apply a nitrogen-rich formula to prevent a flush of premature growth. 

Summer

A maintenance fertilizer containing nitrogen and potassium can be applied once the centipede grass has fully greened up. This is best split into two applications distributed at the beginning and end of summer. 

Prioritize nitrogen in the first application. The second application should contain an equal amount of nitrogen and potassium to prepare the grass for fall.

Summer lawn care can also address soil pH issues. Centipede grass prefers slightly acidic soil (between 5.5 and 6.0), making elemental sulfur a popular amendment choice.

Fall

Centipede grass should not be heavily fertilized in the fall. According to Clemson Cooperative Extension, you should not apply nitrogen-containing fertilizers after August 15th. 

You can, however, apply an extra dose of potassium during the autumn months. This will strengthen the grass prior to winter dormancy without encouraging an influx of growth.

How To Revive Centipede Grass

Harsh winters, dry summers, and overfeeding can all suck the vitality from a centipede grass lawn. 

You’ll also want to rule out things like disease, insect infestation, and animal damage before repairing your lawn. If the root source isn’t addressed, there’s a very good chance your revived lawn will quickly succumb to a similar fate.

Take this opportunity to give your lawn a fresh start by dethatching and amending the soil if necessary. Perform a soil test to identify exactly what your centipede grass needs more of to thrive. 

Once you’ve addressed nutritional imbalances and any potential diseases or pests, you can introduce new grass to the area. The best time of year for reseeding or planting plugs is between March and July.

Sadly, not all centipede grass lawns can be revived. If more than 50% of the lawn is dead or the layer of thatch is excessively thick (greater than ½-inch), your time will be better spent removing the grass and starting over.

Verdict: Best Fertilizer For Centipede Grass

Infertile soil and centipede grass need little help to stay green and healthy. But since centipede grass is most often planted in subpar soil, choosing the right fertilizer is key to maintaining a beautiful turf lawn.

If you prefer using a hose-end sprayer to apply fertilizer or you need fast results, Simple Lawn Solutions Nitrogen & Potash Liquid Fertilizer 15-0-15 is a great liquid formula for feeding all season.

For large sections of centipede grass in need of a little extra support, and where slow-release fertilizing is your preference, I strongly recommend investing in Ferti-Lome Fertilizer for Centipede Grass 15-0-15.

These phosphorus-free formulas are ideal for nearly all centipede grass lawns. On the rare occasion when centipede grass is actually deficient in phosphorus and when pre-emergent weeds become a problem, then choose Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4.

Simple Lawn Solutions Nitrogen & Potash Liquid Fertilizer 15-0-15

Best Liquid Fertilizer For Centipede Grass

Simple Lawn Solutions Liquid Fertilizer 15-0-15

Complete with a spray hose attachment, this fast-acting, and pre-mixed formula is suitable for use during the summer months to enhance color and growth as well as protect against extreme weather, pests, and diseases.

Ferti-Lome Fertilizer for Centipede Grass 15-0-15

Best Fertilizer Granules

Ferti-Lome Fertilizer for Centipede Grass 15-0-15

Slow-release granular fertilizer that reduces the frequency of applications. This product contains 15% of both nitrogen and potassium, making it perfect for use during the summer growing season.

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4

Best Weed And Feed For Centipede Grass

Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 28-3-4

High nitrogen granular feed that also contains pre-emergent herbicide. Suitable for use during the growing season when weeds are actively growing. Contains phosphorous to support root development and growth.

FAQ’s Centipede Grass Fertilizer