The decision between Centipede vs Bermuda grass is not an easy choice to make when it comes to your lawn or turf. Both are lush, green, thick, and fast-growing grasses with unique selling points of their own.

Choosing between Centipede and Bermuda Grass

We have experienced growing both of these grasses over the past few years. Find out what the major differences between both of them are in this quick guide.

Centipede vs Bermuda Comparison Table

Centipede Grass Bermuda Grass
Scientific Name Eremochloa ophiuroides Cynodon dactylon
Native China and South East Asia East Africa
  • Centipede has a light-green color
  • It has long, fine blades with no hair on it.
  • It grows in very thick bunches
  • Is medium to dark green in color
  • Has fine hair at the base of each leaf sheath
  • It is a coarse type 
Texture  Coarse but finer than Bermuda Coarse feeling on fingers
  • Germinates in early spring
  • Takes 10 to 28 days
  • Germinates in early to late spring
  • Takes three to seven days
Uses Low-traffic areas only Residential lawns and turfs
Soil Requirements
  • Ideal soil pH of 5.0 to 6.0
  • Needs sandy, well-draining and fertilizer poor soil
  • Soil pH needs to be 6 to 7
  • Needs a well-draining soil that is rich with important nutrients
Temperature Requirements More than 70 degrees Fahrenheit 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Requirements Half an inch to 1 inch per week 1 to 1,5  inch per week
Durability Not as durable as Bermuda More durable than Centipede
Mowing Heights Mow from 1 to 1,5  inch height Mow it 2 to 3 inches tall 

What Are The Differences Between Centipede and Bermuda Grass?

The main difference between these two types of grass is that Centipede is lighter in color and is much finer in texture. It has poor tolerance for foot and other traffic and needs nutrient-poor and sandy soil. In comparison, Bermuda grass spreads fast and might turn into an invasive species. 

What Are the Characteristics of Centipede Grass?

The main characteristics of Centipede grass are that this grass cannot tolerate a shady environment or heavy foot traffic. Growing Centipede grass is easy because its lawn maintenance is quite straightforward.

– Grows In Spring and Summer

This grass grows during the hotter times of the year and goes into dormancy for the rest of the year. The grass seeds take 10 to 28 days to germinate and begin when the temperatures rise above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Centipede Light Green Grass

As the temperature increases, the grass’s green color keeps on getting deeper and more vibrant. This is the time when the growth of the grass is at its maximum. Centipede grass is a fast-growing grass and establishes itself properly during a single growing season.

It cannot tolerate colder temperatures – that would be below 55 degrees. As soon as the temperature in your region starts dropping in autumn, you will notice your grass going from green to brown.

– Needs Sandy Soil With Low Fertility

Are you worried about the poor quality of soil in your garden? A sandy soil low in organic content will not allow most grasses to grow or even germinate. That does not mean you have to till your entire lawn and enrich its soil to grow grass. Centipede grass will save you from all that trouble because this is the type of soil it likes!

The only requirement of the soil is that it must be loose enough to drain quickly. The roots of centipede grass are very sensitive to moisture in the soil. You cannot allow them to stay wet, or they will get soggy and develop root rot.

– Centipede Grass Has No Shade Tolerance

See if your lawn or turf receives at least eight hours of sunlight directly every single day. If not, you may need to go for grass with shade tolerance.

Centipedes will not grow properly nor attain a good color if they are provided less than eight hours of direct sunlight. If the lawn receives only indirect light, Centipede will not grow. 

There are some tell-tale signs that grass is undergoing a deficiency of light. Its leaves will lose a significant proportion of their chlorophyll content and turn very light green or even yellow in severe cases. Over the course of several weeks, you will see that the grass is not even growing or spreading.

– Centipede Grass Has Good Tolerance For Drought

You might be surprised that Centipede has a very good drought tolerance. This is because, under normal circumstances, this grass needs a lot of water frequently.

You will see that it loses its color quickly when its water needs of at least one inch per week are not fulfilled. However, it will go into dormancy for a few weeks instead of dying.

That is why you need not worry if your neighborhood is going through some water shortage. It is possible to revive the grass again, but it will take ample water.

– Not So Good With Foot Traffic

Centipede grass is not good with a lot of use and will not tolerate anything more than casual foot traffic. Even regular strolls across a Centipede sown lawn might traumatize its blades.

Moreover, this grass takes ages to repair itself and spreads over areas where grass has been destroyed. You will need to take great care of your lawn and turf and stop people and pets from using it too much.


What Are the Characteristics of Bermuda Grass?

The major characteristics of Bermuda are that it is a reasonably-priced grass to buy and maintain. It can tolerate drought but not shade or regular use.

– A Very Reasonable Grass Price Wise

Bermuda is the most appropriate type of grass in the market. Not only its seedlings but also its sods and plugs are available at affordable prices online and in all garden shops.

While ordering sods or plugs online, do you research thoroughly that the seller is authentic? You do not want to be duped into buying a substandard type of grass or paying an unreasonable amount for it.

Regular grass maintenance for Bermuda will also not be heavy on your pocket. You can grow the lushest Bermuda on your lawn with little time, effort, and money.

– Can Be Mowed Quite Low

Most common varieties of Bermuda grass used for homes and turfs can be mowed to a height of two inches long. Some newer hybrid species can be mowed even more up to a height of one inch.

Bermuda Grass Details

A grass mowed low looks neat, but most other grass types cannot be mowed as low as this. This weakens their root system, makes the grass thin, and allows weeds to grow in between. 

– Grows and Spreads Rapidly

Unlike most other warm-season grasses that take time to grow and spread, Bermuda spreads quickly. No doubt it is considered the fasted spreading grass out there. Any empty spot that might develop on the lawn will be quickly taken over by the grass regrowing over it.

Bermuda is an invasive grass and will carry on spreading unless you take measures to stop it. In some situations, you might encourage this spread wherever it is needed. In many cases, however, its uncontrolled spread turns it into a weed. 

– Tolerates Heat But Not Cold

Bermuda is a warm-season grass, which is why it is not surprising that it has high heat tolerance. The ideal temperature for this grass lies around 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the soil needs to be more than 65 degrees for its seeds to germinate and the stolons and rhizomes to grow.

Your Bermuda grass seeds will germinate at the start of the spring season. By summertime, its stolons and blades will have turned dark green. At the onset of autumn, the blades start turning yellow when the temperatures start dropping.

It cannot tolerate cold, on the other hand. All through winters, your grass will stay brown as it will have gone into dormancy. Extreme cold and freezing winters will kill Bermuda’s underground roots and rhizomes. Dead grass will not produce seeds for the next warm season. 

– Needs Full Sun

If your lawn or turf does not have access to direct sunlight for most of the day, then you will have a hard time growing a Bermuda in it. This is because this grass needs at least seven to eight hours of direct bright light every day to fulfill its needs. 

Grass Needs Full Sun

If it does not receive direct light for at least seven hours, its growth will be negatively affected. Its colors will also be less bright and deep than they should be. 

– Bermuda Grass Is Drought Tolerant

The drought tolerance for Bermuda remains unparalleled. Its fast growth habit enables it to establish its roots deep into the soil, which generally sustains it. 

You might not even have to water it all that much. Water your Bermuda evenly once every ten days when the grass feels like it is losing its color or you appear to be leaving footprints behind on it.

During periods of drought, Bermuda will sustain itself for several weeks. If drought conditions persist, it will go dormant and turn brown but will still not die. 

– Bermuda Can Tolerate Heavy Use

Bermuda grass lawns can be planted anywhere and will continue to thrive. Even after continuous use, its blades will bounce back with full vigor.

No doubt it is a favorite grass among school and park playgrounds. On top of that, their ability to repair any damage and spread over damaged spots makes them the most desirable lawn for regular use.

Frequently Asked Questions

– How Can You Tell a Centipede From a Bermuda?

Centipede grass is apple-green in color, whereas Bermuda is much darker. Its grass blades are longer in size and do not grow in thick clusters.

On the other hand, Bermuda is much more coarse in texture and feels rough. It grows very thickly and forms a carpet over the entire area.

– How Do You Thicken Centipede Grass?

In order to thicken your centipede grass, you must water it deeply at a depth of at least one inch per week. Keep it mowed down to a height of one to one and a half inches tall.

Thicken the Centipede Grass

You can overseed the lawn with a different type of grass to fill any bare spots that might pop up. Keep on applying a good fertilizer that is especially rich in nitrogen to encourage the growth of the grass blades.

Lastly, do not forget to frequently dethatch at least four times a year and carry out effective weed control. If you keep your grass well-maintained, you will see it flourish as thicky as possible.

– Which Is Better: Zoysia or Centipede?

Zoysia grass is much better than Centipede because it is durable and can tolerate all kinds of foot traffic across it. Both undergo dormancy in drought conditions, but Zoysia also tends to retain its green color during this time. Lawn care for centipede grass is also a bit more time-consuming.

– Is Centipede Grass Better Than St Augustine?

St Augustine grass is much better to grow by yourself as grass than Centipede. It is a very low-maintenance type of grass and has the ability to tolerate and grow well even in shade and drought.

Another point that gives Augustine a plus point is its ability to tolerate saline water. That is why you can also grow it on lawns in coastal areas.

It also has a very thick growth over a single growing season compared to centipedes. It will tolerate all types of foot traffic and will not only resist damage but also repair itself quickly.


After reading this comparison, we hope you now have a better idea of the pros and cons of each grass. We prefer growing Bermuda grass over Centipede because it tolerates foot traffic and is much more durable, even if it can sometimes spread out of control.

Centipede grass is cheaper and much more low maintenance in comparison. However, it loses its color in drought conditions, is slow-growing, and gets easily damaged if used a lot.

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