Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Eremochloa ophiuroides
Centipede grass, showing stolon in center. Creative commons photo by James Becwar.


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1994. Eremochloa ophiuroides. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. ABBREVIATION : EREOPH SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : EROP COMMON NAMES : centipede grass TAXONOMY : The scientific name of centipede grass is Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack. (Poaceae) [6,16,28,35]. There are no infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Centipede grass is an introduced grass that occurs on the Southern Coastal Plain from Texas to southern North Carolina; its range extends north into Arkansas [3,13,16,17,28]. It is native to south and central China [15]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES39 Prairie FRES41 Wet grasslands STATES : AL AR FL GA HI LA MA MS NC SC TX BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : NO-ENTRY SAF COVER TYPES : 65 Pin oak-sweetgum 70 Longleaf pine 74 Cabbage palmetto 75 Shortleaf pine 80 Loblolly pine-shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 83 Longleaf pine-slash pine 84 Slash pine 87 Sweetgum-yellow-poplar 100 Pondcypress 101 Baldcypress 102 Baldcypress-tupelo 111 South Florida slash pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : 601 Bluestem prairie 603 Prairie sandreed-needlegrass 604 Bluestem-grama prairie 611 Blue grama-buffalo grass 711 Bluestem-sacahuista prairie 717 Little bluestem-Indiangrass-Texas wintergrass 726 Cordgrass 807 Gulf Coast fresh marsh 810 Longleaf pine-turkey oak hills 811 South Florida flatwoods 812 North Florida flatwoods 814 Cabbage palm flatwoods 822 Slough HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Centipede grass is a low-maintenance grass used for limited wear areas such as industrial sites, roadsides, and other utility areas in the southeastern United States [20,24]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Centipede grass is hardy in response to high temperatures such as those experienced in the southeastern United States during summer months [14]. It is commonly used in sunny, dry locations [27]. It recuperates only moderately well after damage [14]. Centipede grass requires less fertilizer and grows more slowly than most other turf grasses [18,23]; it requires about 2 years to provide a solid turf cover [34]. Culture: Centipede grass grows best when planted in May or June [23], though it can be planted from April through July [34]. April plantings are more susceptible to infestation. July plantings require more water and are susceptible to winter injury [23]. Centipede grass requires a minimum of 6 inches (15 cm) of soil to support growth [34]. Centipede grass can be established by seeding and with sprigs or plugs. Water application is usually needed for establishment. Centipede grass generally grows well without any fertilizer, although fertilization after new growth appears may increase cover [23,34]. Overfertilization can cause injury or increase susceptibility to frost damage [21,26]. After first establishment centipede grass stems can be divided frequently and replanted over a wider area [5]. Winter hardiness: If properly maintained centipede grass will grow well as far north as Atlanta, Georgia. Centipede grass grown further north is prone to winter injury [23]. Drought tolerance: Centipede grass has been considered drought tolerant [17] to drought intolerant [3,26]. It was among the lowest water users of nine warm-season grasses compared in south-central Georgia. In another study of 11 turf grasses under drought conditions, centipede grass was intermediate in its use of water [17]. Centipede grass is less drought tolerant than bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.), zoysia (Zoysia spp.), or St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) [3]. It is suitable for infrequently watered areas in the Southern Coastal Plain where rainless periods of up to 40 days are followed by moderate rainfall [17]. Competition: Presence of weeds such as bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) and nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) may decrease centipede grass during the first 2 years after establishment; oats (Avena sativa) planted as companion grass does not [7,23]. Use of mulch and herbicides to control competition is described [18,22,23,24].


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Centipede grass is an introduced warm-season, turf-forming, perennial grass with prostrate growth form [14]. It creeps by thick, short-noded, leafy stolons [16]. It has compressed racemes [13] 1.2 to 2 inches (3-5 cm) long. Spikelets are flat, two-flowered [6], and awnless [13]. The fruit is a caryopsis [16]. Centipede grass has greater root mass in the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil than do some other warm-season turf grasses. It also has high root density, length, and mass at all depths to which its roots grow [9]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Centipede grass sprouts from stolons and reproduces by seed [34]. Raceme production is prolific throughout the Southeast from summer to fall [19]. Seed set in an experimental setting was 59 to 90 percent with open-pollination, 45 to 66 percent with cross-pollination, and 0 to 58 percent with self-pollination [15]. Centipede grass has low seed yield compared to many other turf grasses [25]. The caryopsis is enclosed in a wax coating which is a physical barrier to germination. Centipede grass apparently requires alternating temperature regimes for optimum germination. In laboratory studies, maximum germination of centipede grass occurred when warm temperatures (80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit [27-35 deg C]) with 8 to 12 hours of light were alternated with lower temperatures (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit [15-20 deg C]) and darkness [2,33]. Centipede grass produces new stolons each growing season. These runners replace the live growth of the previous year. They grow over the top of the latter, developing a thick, spongy thatch. Centipede grass does not produce rhizomes [26]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Centipede grass grows under cultivation [13,16] and also occurs on sandy roadsides in the Carolinas [28]; it is found on disturbed sites in central Florida [35] and is naturalized in coastal hammocks in the Florida panhandle [6]. Typically, centipede grass grows on the sandy acid soils of the southeastern United States [15]. Centipede grass does not thrive on soils with high levels of phosphorus or high pH [34]. However, studies in Texas have shown that satisfactory turfs can be grown with soil pH up to 8.4 [14]. Centipede grass in north-central Florida grew best when planted in soil of pH 5.8; inoculation with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) did not improve topgrowth at that pH. At soil pH 7.3, VAM infection increased topgrowth 1.8 times over the uninoculated treatment [8]. Centipede grass does not grow well on poorly drained soil [34] but is adapted to low fertility soils [19]. Centipede grass grows on sandy and silty loams in Macon County, Alabama [25], and on fine sand in southeastern Florida [5]. In southeastern Louisiana it grows on silty loam with pH 6.7 [1]. Although most of the range to which centipede grass is adapted is humid, with 30 to 59 inches (750-1,500 mm) of rain annually, drought conditions occur during most growing seasons [17]. Centipede grass is a tropical grass that has no natural winter rest period. If temperatures drop fairly slowly and steadily, the grass adjusts and tolerates temperatures well below freezing before it dies [26]. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, lethal temperatures ranged from about 17.6 to 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -8 deg C) in February and March during active growth to 15.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 deg C) in December and January [11]. Centipede grass has survived 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11.1 deg C) in Mississippi [26]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Centipede grass grows well in full sun, but it may also tolerate shade [23,34]. A centipede grass cultivar and three other lawn grasses were tested for shade tolerance in southeastern Louisiana. The experimental conditions simulated those under Gulf Coast deciduous shade trees. Centipede grass was the species most tolerant of reduced light (47-63% shade) [1]. In another study in northeastern Texas, seven centipede grass cultivars were tested at 15 percent full sunlight under tree canopy. No cultivar produced acceptable turf under these conditions. Vegetative spread was minimal or absent [27]. Information on centipede grass successional status in naturalized conditions was unavailable. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Centipede grass seed usually requires 21 to 28 days to germinate [34]. Centipede grass blooms in August and September in the Carolinas [28]. It blooms from summer to fall in the Florida panhandle [6] and central Florida [35]. Centipede grass seeds are mature at the end of October in southeastern Alabama [25]. Centipede grass seed is produced in north Florida and south Georgia from mid-June until late October [2].


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Centipede grass has stolon nodes [13,14,16] which may sprout after aerial portions are burned. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Centipede grass culms and blades are probably killed by fire. Stolons creep over the surface of the soil [26] and are probably killed by all except the least severe fires. Thatch may also burn. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Where centipede grass is naturalized, it may colonize burned areas by seed. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Eremochloa ophiuroides
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Companion grass and mulch influences on bahiagrass, centipedegrass, and St. Augustinegrass establishment. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 111(6): 844-848. [23195] 8. Dudeck, A. E.; Schenck, N. C.; Peacock, C. H. 1984. Influence of mycorrhizae on the growth of bahiagrass and centipedegrass. Proceedings, Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida. 43: 137-140. [23196] 9. Engelke, M. C.; White, R. H.; Morton, S. J.; Marcum, K. B. 1991. Root development in selected varieties of each of four warm-season turfgrass genera. In: Progress Report PR 4884. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station: 10-17. [23197] 10. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 11. Fry, J. D.; Lang, N. S.; Clifton, R. G. P.; Maier, F. P. 1993. Freezing tolerance & carbohydrate content of low-temperature-acclimated and nonacclimated centipedegrass. Crop Science. 33(5): 1051-1055. [23198] 12. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 13. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667] 14. Green, R. L.; Beard, J. B. 1991. Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophuiroides) cultivar and selection characterizations for 1990: College Station. In: Progress Report PR-4889. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station: 34-35. [23199] 15. Hanna, W. W.; Burton, G. W. 1978. Cytology, reproductive behavior, and fertility characteristics of centipedegrass. Crop Science. 18(5): 835-837. [23200] 16. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165] 17. Hook, J. E.; Hanna, W. W.; Maw, B. W. 1992. Quality and growth response of centipedegrass to extended drought. Agronomy Journal. 84(4): 606-612. [23201] 18. Johnson, B. J. 1988. Herbicide control of bermudagrass in tall fescue, centipedegrass, and zoysia turfgrasses. Research Bulletin 379. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, College of Agriculture, Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station. 23 p. [23202] 19. Johnson, B. Jack. 1993. Frequency of plant growth regulator and mowing treatments: effects on injury and suppression of centipedegrass. Agronomy Journal. 85(2): 276-280. [23203] 20. Johnson, B. J.; Carrow, R. N. 1992. Influence of soil pH and fertility programs on centipedegrass. Agronomy Journal. 84(1): 21-26. [23204] 21. Johnson, B. J.; Carrow, R. N.; Burns, R. E. 1988. Centipedegrass decline and recovery as affected by fertilizer and cultural treatments. Agronomy Journal. 80(3): 479-486. [23205] 22. Johnson, B. J.; Murphy, T. R. 1987. Control of large crabgrass and goosegrass in warm-season turfgrasses. Research Bulletin 364. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, College of Agriculture, Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station. 29 p. [23206] 23. Landry, Gil; Murphy, Tim. 1992. Green thumb tips for the home gardener: Centipede lawns. Leaflet 313. Athens, GA: University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service. [Leaflet]. [23207] 24. McCarty, L. B.; Higgins, J. M.; Miller, L. C.; Whitwell, T. 1986. Centipedegrass tolerance to postemergence grass herbicides. HortScience. 21(6): 405-407. [23208] 25. Miller, Kyle J.; Dickens, Ray. 1985. Centipedegrass seed production. Circular 284. Auburn, AL: Auburn University, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. 11 p. [23216] 26. Miller, L. C.; Miller, R. W.; Parks, C. L.; Pollet, D. K. 1978. Centipedegrass and its problems. Circular 583. Clemson, SC: Clemson University, Extension Service. 12 p. [23217] 27. Morton, S. J.; Engelke, M. C.; White, R. H. 1991. Performance of four warm-season turfgrass genera cultured in dense shade. I. Buchloe dactyloides and Eremochloa ophiuroides. In: Progress Report PR-4892. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station: 47-48. [23218] 28. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606] 29. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 30. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 31. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1994. Plants of the U.S.--alphabetical listing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 954 p. [23104] 32. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey. [n.d.]. NP Flora [Data base]. Davis, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey. [23119] 33. Walker, J. T. 1976. Centipedegrass seed treatments and light-temperature effects on germination. Plant Disease Reporter. 60(5): 393-397. [23219] 34. Ward, Coleman YU. 1989. Centipedegrass. Circular ANR-73. Auburn University, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. 4 p. [23220] 35. Wunderlin, Richard P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Tampa, FL: University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. 472 p. [13125] 36. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. 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