Centipede grass gets its name because it slow, creeping growth and short stems pointing upward resemble a centipede. It is native to China and other parts of Southeast Asia. It was introduced to the United States in the early part of the 20th century and can now be found in South America, Africa and the West Indies as well.
Centipede grass is a perennial well suited for sandy, acidic soil that has low fertility and requires low maintenance. The grass has a coarse texture possessing short, upright stems that usually grow to about 3 to 5 inches. This results in less mowing needed. It can survive in cold weather as long as there is no hard freeze. It will turn brown during dormant winter months but will recover its dark green color in the spring.
Because it is a low growth grass, it is popular with homeowners because planting it reduces the mowing cycle. It has low fertilization requirements (low phosphorous) that can be met with one yearly application alone. It is drought tolerant and at its healthiest is strong enough to fend off weeds. In many areas of the South, the grass remains green all year long. Because its roots are close to the ground top cover, Centipede grass uses less water than Bahia or Bermuda varieties.
Centipede grass sod is slightly shade tolerant growing under tree cover.