How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

By Harry RamosLast update: 2024-07-12

Damaged Centipede and St. Augustine grasses are caused by two common things: by pests and insects or by cold injury. The good news is they both can be revived if certain conditions are met. And, that is the topic of today’s post - How to revive Centipede and St. Augustine grasses.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses

Damage Caused By Cold Injury

Your Centipede and St. Augustine lawn can be revived as long as:

  • The thatch is under 0.5” deep
  • >50% of the turf is still healthy

The best time to revive it is during mid-spring or early fall, when the weather is less frost-cold but still comfortably cool.

If your lawn meets all the previous requirements, let’s start reviving it, following this guide:

Apply herbicide on the grass

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

You can spread or spray it. The recommended kind of herbicide is 2,4-D weed killer, which is commonly found in local plant/grass shops. There are different formulas of 2.4-D weed killer:

  • Liquid concentrate
  • Granular
  • Ready to spray
  • Ready to use

Consider your budgets and the lawn’s needs to find out the right one.

Remember to only apply it on the turf and be careful when applying near landscape plants.


How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

The best time to mow your turf is 6 weeks after applying the weed killer.

Set your lawnmower’s blade at nearly ¾” high and at the lowest speed. Make sure it is sharp enough to leave the least injury to the cut grasses. To easily catch the clippings, equip the machine with a grass catcher.

If you don’t have one, use a garden rake instead.


How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

This step removes dead plant materials, which helps both your soil and grass be healthier.

You can use a nearby dethatching service or hire a verticutter (or a dethatcher) to dethatch the lawn on your own. It’s easy! Adjust the blades 1” apart and at 1” deep, then run the machine over your turf once in each direction.

Before dethatching the lawn, apply a phosphorus-concentrate fertilizer over it, then lightly water the area to moisten the thatch.

After dethatching, use a garden rake to rake the clippings up and discard them.

Sowing Grass Seeds

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

You’ll need:

  • Centipede grass seeds
  • St. Augustine grass sods/plant plugs (because St. Augustine grass seeds aren’t available in the market)
  • A spreader
  • Straw
  • A multi-purpose fertilizer

Start off this step by applying fertilizer over the whole space where you intend to seed, following the recommended rate by the manufacturer.

Transfer the required amount of Centipede grass seeds into a spreader at a rate of 1/3 to ½ pounds/1,000 square feet, then run it over the area once in each direction.

Cover the seeded area with straw.

Unroll the St. Augustine grass plant plugs or sods 6” apart and in 2” deep furrows.


After sowing or unrolling the plant plugs/sods, water the whole area well. Remain the watering schedule of twice/day for 2-3 weeks or until the new grass germinates and starts growing.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

Then, decrease the watering frequency down to once every 3-6 days; wet the 8” topsoil each time.

Once they are 3”-4” tall, mow and feed them with a nitrogen-concentrated fertilizer immediately to help them eliminate stress, develop deeper rooting, as well as resist pest and weed invasions.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

You can collect all the clippings and remove them, or just spread evenly and leave on the lawn surface because once decomposing, they will provide new grass and soil nutrients.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

Damage Caused By Pest And Insect

The two most popular pest and insect problems causing damages on Centipede and St. Augustine grasses are:

  • Ground pearl
  • Large patch
How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

Ground Pearl

Large Patch

The cause of the problem

Small insects living in the soil



Appear small patches of dead grass that enlarge slowly up to 1’/year

Grasses in these patches can’t recover

Find many small-round-pearl-like insects in a BB pellet size when digging into the soil on the edges of dying-grass patches

Appear small, circular patches of dead grass that enlarge quickly up to several feet/week

You can easily notice living-green turf dying


No treatment

You’ll have to look for alternative grasses that can tolerate ground pearl feeding.

Fungicides + Proper lawn management

From the above table, only those Centipede and St. Augustine lawns damaged by large patch diseases can be revived.

Apply large patch fungicides in the autumn. Meanwhile, decrease the amount as well as the frequency of watering and fertilizing.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

After the fungi problem has already been eliminated, revive the damaged areas by preparing the soil: remove dead grass, till, and level the terrain.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

Do soil’s pH test.

How to Revive Centipede & St. Augustine Grasses?

Since both of the grasses love slightly acidic soil (between 6.0 and 6.5 pH), consider adding lime if your soil’s pH is lower than 6.0 or adding elemental sulfur if the soil’s pH is higher than 6.5.

Consider applying an appropriate fertilizer if the soil’s nutrients are too poor before growing new grasses.


To prevent further damage to your lawn, it is essential to frequently check the soil’s pH and apply the right weed killer (since centipede grass is more sensitive than other varieties). Besides, remember to adjust the watering schedule and choose the right time for fertilizing.

That’s all about how to revive centipede & St. Augustine grasses. Thanks a lot for reading!

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