Centipedegrass Decline

Centipedegrass decline symptoms include small circular dead areas after several years of good performance which do not green-up in spring or begin to die in mid- to late-spring following cool weather or during drought stress. Spring green-up may be slow or become chlorotic (yellow) and suddenly die after initial spring growth. Grass at the edge of affected areas often appears yellow, wilts, and dies. This most often occurs within 3 to 6 years following establishment. There are several factors which appear to have contribute to this problem and one should be aware of these to help prevent and/or correct the situation when decline occurs.

 

The current thinking about centipedegrass decline is that excessive nitrogen rates cause the grass to be excessively lush prior to winter. This along with the possible presence of certain root rotting fungi such as Gauemannomyces, Leptosphaeria, and/or Ophiosphaerella spp. may then result in direct winter kill to the grass. This situation is exacerbated by excessive thatch, inadequate soil potassium, dry soils, and fluctuating or excessively cold winter temperatures.

 

Diagnostic Description

  • Small circular dead areas of grass develop after several years of good performance.
  • Centipedegrass areas do not green-up in spring or begin to die in mid- to late-spring after cool weather or during drought stress.
  • Spring green-up may be slow or become chlorotic (yellow) and centipedegrass may suddenly die after initial spring growth especially following late-season cool temperatures.
  • Grass at the edge of affected areas often appears yellow, wilts, and dies.