When installing new centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) sod, don’t get in a rush to mow it. Centipede grass, that is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 and 8, grows slower than some other kinds of warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass (Cynodon spp.) , which is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.
Due to its slow growth pattern, you might get a couple weeks of mowing break once you first set up the sod. Wait until the sod reaches 3 inches high before mowing it to the first time. This gives the roots time to become established in the dirt and the blades to develop strong and healthy in their new environment.
How Low to Go
When it’s time to mow, guarantee that the mower blades are sharp. Dull blades may pull and rip the grass rather than slicing it cleanly. Most blades need to be sharpened twice each year — at the beginning and in the center. If you are handy, then you can use a file to sharpen the blades, however, lawnmower repair stores can sharpen them for you also. Set your mower so that it won’t remove more than one-third of this blade height. If the centipede grass is 3 inches tall, then take off about an inch, leaving the blades at 2 ins high. Ideally, centipede grass must remain between 1 1/2 and 2 inches high. The only times that the grass must reach 3 inches is when recently set up and when you mow it for the first time in the spring. Plan to mow the slow-growing centipede grass about every 10 to 14 days.
Squeezing Out Weeds
In spite of sod, centipede grass may be inconsistent and does not always do a fantastic job of keeping weeds at bay. Mowing properly — keeping the appropriate height — can assist the centipede grass distribute into a thick, lush lawn which does not allow weeds to creep in. Centipede grass experiences drought stress easily, so water more and mow less during hot weather, without allowing the grass grow more than about 2 1/2 inches high.
Problems With the Wrong Height
When you let the grass grow too tall, then you contribute to thatch buildup, which may lead to bare patches on your lawn. Gathering the clippings after you mow can help reduce the thatch layer, however, it’s ideal to never let the grass grow too tall. Grass that is too tall is more likely to experience stress during drought and cold weather. Conversely, mowing the centipede grass too short presents another set of problems. It tends to become patchy and thin, allowing more weeds to soften and destroying the appearance of your sod.