The Q&A Archives: Centipede Grass turning red in some spots

Question: My grass when it came back this year was green, now in some spots the grass is turning red. What would cause this and how do I get rid of it?


There are two basic types of Centipede Grass. One type turns yellow when it is stressed. The other kind turns red. We sometimes see red streaks where the tires of the mower run. On closer inspection, we may find that the lawn is suffering due to hard compacted soils or too frequent watering. Take a shovel and try to sink it into the dirt. Can you dig at least eight inches fairly easily? If not, the soil is probably compacted. Water the soil well and then core aerate. Use an aerator that pulls plugs out of the ground. This will help the soil drain more quickly.

Centipede can even be white and red striped. Each blade can have white and red streaks running through it. This can be an indication of a spittle bug
infestation. Look for the masses of spittle deep in the turf. These hide the young, which feed on the grass. The adults are brown to black, 3/8 inch long with two orange stripes. They hop and fly across the yard. It takes a lot of spittle bugs to damage centipede grass. Do not spray unless you see lots of damage like this. Spittle bugs are worse on over watered and thatchy lawns. Water deeply once each week and mow at the correct height (one to one and one-half inches) and there should be less of a problem with spittlebugs.

Hope this information helps you determine just why your centipede is turning red.

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