Fixing bare patches in a centipede lawn — why use compost?

Photo of centipede grass

A thatch layer under centipede is normal, but build up can be a sign of poor soil.

Nathan from Leland asks:  I have a centipede lawn with bare spots. My plan is to aerate those spots, then work in some “Black Cow” manure. What is the difference between your product and Black Cow?

The Compost People answer: 

Quality compost adds organic matter to the sandy soils of Southeastern NC.  So no matter what brand you choose, you’ll be doing your lawn a favor. Make sure it’s a stable, premium compost, not a dehydrated, pelleted or raw manures.  If it doesn’t say compost on the bag, it’s not compost and will not deliver the many benefits of compost. 

As you probably know, there could be a lot of things going on in your lawn to cause the bare spots.  Fortunately,  compost can beneficially impact them all:

  • Thatch build-up is a sign of soil dysfunction and a common cause of bare spots.  Despite common belief, a Penn State fact sheet says there is little evidence to support clippings as a root cause, although they can make an existing problem worse.  In a healthy soil, microbes, earthworms and other organisms thrive, breaking down organic matter at the soil surface and keeping thatch at desirable levels.
  • Compaction can lead to bare spots.  Thankfully, compost improves soil tilth and reduces compaction.
  • Dollar spot and other soil diseases can leave bare spots in centipede, but compost-amended soils offer disease suppression against many common blights by producing healthy turf.

Aside from the fact that we make McGill  SoilBuilder compost and believe it’s the best, there are other reasons to choose our products to build soil and add organic matter instead of another brand:

  • While McGill SoilBuilder is intended to be used to add organic matter to soil (not nutrients), it does offer a bit more “pow” than the average “cow” — about twice as much as the popular cow manure brand.
  • McGill SoilBuilder is certified under the U.S. Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) program.
  • McGill  SoilBuilder travels fewer than 50 miles to get to Leland.  Compare that mileage to the distance Brand X travels to your local store to see which offers the least environmental impact in transport.
  • McGill compost products are manufactured from feedstocks sourced from the Carolinas (and other locales), provide jobs for people in the region and contribute to the local economy.
  • Using McGill SoilBuilder helps close the recycling loop on wastes generated by you and your neighbors.

For your repair work, aerate and apply about a quarter inch of McGill SoilBuilder compost. Rake it in, seed and water at rates recommended by your seed supplier.  But know it could take months for you to notice improvement in slow-growing centipede.  Also, be sure not to mow it too low — centipede doesn’t like a buzz cut.

For rejuvenating the entire lawn, we recommend McGill SportsTurf.  It’s formulated for active playing fields and can be the better choice for lawns in active use.  Check out our resellers map for a list of bulk and bagged McGill compost products suppliers in your area.