St Augustine grass vs. centipede is difficult to figure out without conducting closer inspection. Both are axonopus grass types, meaning they are a carpet variety of lawngrass.
We have compiled a list of major ways you can differentiate these two warm season types of grass as well as what each grass is best used for. Read this thorough comparative guide to learn all these differences.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- St Augustine Grass vs Centipede Grass Comparison Table
- What Are The Differences Between St Augustine Grass and Centipede?
- What Is St Augustine Grass Best For?
- What Is Centipede Grass Best For?
- Frequently Asked Questions
St Augustine Grass vs Centipede Grass Comparison Table
|Categories||St Augustine Grass||Centipede Grass|
|Scientific name||Stenotaphrum secundatum||Eremochloa ophiuroides|
|Grass Color||Deep Green||Bright Green|
|Appearance||It grows stolons without rhizomes.
Leaf blades that are broad and flat grow from these stolons.
|Stolons grow above ground and give rise to several leaf blades giving the appearance of a centipede.|
|Growth||Low growing||High growing|
|Texture of Leaf Blades||Rough||Smoother in comparison|
|Preferred Soil Needed||pH of 6 to 7||pH of 5 to 6|
|Water Absorption||Ideally 1 inch water per week but can absorb four times that much||Only 1 inch of water per week|
What Are The Differences Between St Augustine Grass and Centipede?
The major differences between St Augustine grass vs. centipede grass lie in their appearance on close inspection. Centipede grass is lighter in closer view, feels less coarse, and grows taller with centipede-like leaf blades growing from stolons. St Augustine, on the other hand, is darker, low-growing, and also counts as an invasive species.
What Is St Augustine Grass Best For?
St. Augustine grass is best for growing in shady lawns with moderate levels of foot travel. It is also the best grass to choke out weeks and tolerate drought and salt water.
– For Shady Lawns
Unlike most turf grasses that require a lot of sunlight, St. Augustine continues to grow even under shadier conditions. It does require at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day but do not worry if most of this light is indirect.
This is good news for those who live in areas that aren’t generally sunny all year round. It is also good for growing in areas of the lawn that remain under a shade for most of the day. The St Augustine types with the highest shade tolerance are Seville, Sapphire, and Bitter blue.
This does not mean that it is intolerant to direct sunlight, either. Even if your lawn receives bright direct light all day long, your grass will carry on growing just as well, provided it receives adequate water.
– For Tolerating Foot Travels
This is quite a hardy variety of lawn grass and will tolerate a moderate amount of foot travel throughout its lifetime. Trust us, this is the grass you want on your lawn. It allows you to hang out and play around the lawn without worrying about damaging the grass.
While we suggest you not over-trample the grass needlessly, one trick is to keep the grass short by regularly clipping it off. Longer grass blades get damaged far more easily and quickly than shorter ones. Longer blades also look shabby, even if your turf has only moderate food travel.
– For Competing Against Weed
The best thing about Augustine grass is its innate ability to compete with and choke out common lawn weeds. Like most turf grasses, this means not dealing with weeds sprouting up now and then.
This is one of the most aggressive and competitive grass species out there. It quickly establishes its extensive but shallow root system under the ground in search of water and nutrients. Most common garden varieties of weeds stand no chance against this grass. Its roots will redirect all nourishment away from these weeds, giving them no chance to put their roots down.
However, this does not mean that you should not be looking for weed growth on a lawn where this grass has been laid down. There are two types of weed that even St. Augustine can’t choke down. These are the broadleaf and the grassy varieties of weeds that should be treated either by hand picking or by herbicidal methods as soon as you notice their presence.
Even then, we must emphasize that Augustine grass will only succumb to weed attacks if it is already weakened by pest attacks or poor lawn care.
– For Coastal Areas
Very few turf varieties of grass can be grown in coastal areas due to the high salt content of water in these regions. High salt content tends to make water absorption difficult for the roots. It also causes chemical burns in the roots and grass blades when the salt particles precipitate.
This grass has a much higher salt tolerance and is ideal for growing in coastal areas. Hence, you will find that it is one of the most highly sought-after turf grass in Florida and California and is slightly less popular than Bermuda grass.
Coastal areas also provide the best growth conditions for this grass annually. It likes high temperatures and will even tolerate the high levels of humidity that are naturally present in coastal areas. Moderate winters experienced in colder regions mean that you get to keep your lawn in the fall and winter.
– For Being Heat and Drought Tolerant
Although we do not recommend it, this grass will continue to thrive without adequate watering for several weeks. It owes this property to its extensive root system that grows long underground.
This means your turf grass will sustain itself even if you forget to water it for a while. However, if your area is experiencing conditions of drought during summer, then you need to be vigilant about watering from the top.
This grass grows during the warmer months in most parts of the country. Naturally, this makes it a warm-growing species that thrives during the summer-spring season. Its high heat and drought tolerance make it an ideal summertime grass for your home.
What Is Centipede Grass Best For?
This grass is best for lawns that cannot be maintained regularly. It is an effective weed control agent for growing under low light and drought conditions.
– Low Maintenance
Centipede is a type of grass that requires very little maintenance in the long term. First, you don’t need to improve or till the soil in your lawn all that much before planting.
Secondly, this grass grows gradually over months. This means you will not have to mow it very frequently all that much. Mowing this grass is not going to be difficult either because there will be very little height to cut down.
You will not have to fertilize your lawn either. Many people think fertilizing this grass will make its light color darker. That is a misconception because a centipede is supposed to be a lighter-colored grass. Even if you don’t fertilize it at all, as soon as the soil is well-draining and regularly watered, the grass will carry on growing healthily.
– For Effective Weed Control
The good news is that this grass is very good as an effective weed killer. It soon establishes its roots when planted on the lawn and grows quite thick in a short period. It then suppresses the further growth of weeds on the lawn.
Unlike Augustine, the centipede has not been considered an invasive grass species of lawn grass. It can grow safely side by side with trees, bushes, and other plants you might have planted on your lawn. You also will not have to worry about it spreading to areas beyond the designated boundary of your lawn.
– For Growing In Low Light Conditions
If you struggle with growing grass on your lawn because of low light conditions, this is the ideal grass. However, it would like to be grown in full sun conditions but will continue growing even if your lawn is on the shadier side. This is why you will find this grass adorning the turf in the shadier corners of most properties.
– For Growing In Poor Soil Types
Don’t worry if the soil in your lawn is of poor quality for most types of grass. This is one of those rare types of grass that likes to grow in dry and sandy soils. You will not have to invest too much into making the soil more fertile or rich.
However, your soil needs to be well-draining because centipede grass does not tolerate overwatering. It cannot absorb more than one inch of water each week.
Like most warm grasses, it also grows well in acidic soils and tolerates lower-than-average pH levels of around five to six.
– For Tolerating Drought
The centipede variety of grass likes to be watered regularly. It only needs one inch of water weekly and does not ask for any more than that. However, it will be able to tolerate occasional conditions of drought should you forget to water it.
Being a warm type of grass, this property is handy because it must not be watered too frequently or with a large quantity of water. Even if you forget to water it occasionally or cannot do so, know that all your hard work will not go to waste instantly.
In prolonged drought or neglect, the centipede grass will become dormant. Then again, if you water this dormant grass using a rather moderate quantity of filtered water, the grass blades will revive and perk back up again.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How To Identify Centipede Grass
Centipede grass is identified easily by its light green color. It grows stolons above the ground, from which emerge several boat-shaped leaves. This gives each stolon the appearance of several feet growing from it, just like a centipede.
Each leaf by itself is short, flat, and hairless. It might be slightly coarse in texture compared to other turf grasses but not as coarse as Augustine grass. During the flowering season, this grass gives off three to five inches tall spikes with purple flower heads on their tops.
If you inspect the leaf blades of this grass closely, you will notice that they are each only half an inch long and barely one-third of an inch wide. Many people consider their color apple green with a prominent white midvein. It is quite slow growing and will take a long time to increase in length.
– How To Identify St Augustine Grass
You can identify Augustine grass by its coarse and thick textured grass blades. A single grass blade is rather rounded on the top and slightly thicker towards the bottom.
They are also flat and broad and darker colored than average grasses. The grass blades tend to grow three inches apart and have a slightly whiter base that grows greener.
This grass does not grow rhizomes underground. Instead, it produces stolons above the ground from which leaf blades grow. The growth speed of this grass is rather slow, which is why it is considered a slow-growing type that will not need frequent mowing.
If you adequately underwater the blades of this grass, they will dry up and develop sharp edges. Upon running a finger through such blades, they feel sharp and unpleasant at the touch. You won’t be able to walk on such grass barefoot unless it is being watered consistently.
– Is St Augustine Grass Superior to Centipede Grass?
You can accept that St Augustine grass is better than centipede grass because it lasts far longer. It also offers you a larger variety of subtypes to choose from. There are a lot of cultivars of this grass, and each has its own unique selling point that you can choose according to your wishes and needs.
However, Centipede grass is better than Augustine’s in terms of the fact that it requires less maintenance.
It needs only a little amount of water and no fertilizer at all to thrive fully. It is also much more affordable and budget-friendly compared to Augustine’s rather costly cultivars.
Another major advantage of the centipede is that it can reseed itself naturally. In areas with warmer winters, this grass will last both summer and winter season and then flower in early spring. The seeds from the flowers will then naturally reseed the lawn for the next year.
In this comparative article, we analyzed the difference between st Augustine and centipede grass in an in-depth manner. While both may look similar, the centipede is lighter in the shade, cheaper, and needs far less maintenance on a day-to-day basis.
However, Augustine, on the other hand, is a grass that will compete with weeds, is more drought tolerant, and offers various subtypes to choose from.
We think first-time turf owners should go for centipede because it is easier to grow and is a noninvasive specie.