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Zoysia Report: 30 Days After Installation
by Rick Orr
The Zoysia has been “healing in” for 30 days. It looks great – nice green color and fine texture. I did not mow the lawn for 21 days to reduce stress and allow for more photosynthesis. The Zoysia growth rate was slow and somewhat uneven during the healing in period but looked great after the first mowing. However there were some problems.
Tacking Down – No Roots for 21 Days
After 21 days the sod was easily pulled away from the soil. This was a serious problem – prolific, fibrous and deep roots are needed to absorb water. Pinellas County restriction allow for daily watering for only 30 day after installation. After 21 days the sod was still not rooted in the soil. With only 7 days until once per week watering, survival of the sod seemed doubtful.
At 30 days the sod was tacked down – rooted in the soil. Big sigh of relief. Zoysia is slow to recover from trauma – like being removed from a sod field. This is probably why it took so long for the Zoysia to root in the soil. Compared to St Augustine, which is tacked down and ready to mow in 2 weeks, this is very slow recovery.
Note: SWFWMD has set 30 days as the limit for daily watering of new installations for establishment. This is absurd. Each turf and installation has it owns determining factor for establishment. SWFWMD telling people you only have 30 days to establish your lawn is like telling every heart transplant patient you MUST leave the hospital ICU in 3 days regardless of your recovery. SWFWMD should not be in charge of your landscape!
Disease, Sod Webworms and More
A landscaper was quoted as saying “Zoysia? Why would you want that grass, you have to own a lawn spray company to grow that stuff.” Good insight into Zoysia. Within a week the sod webworms appeared along with dollar spot disease and what appeared to be pythium – a deadly disease on turf. I treated the turf with a good fungicide and insecticide in the second week after planting. I repeated an application of the same mixture 14 days later. The results: No bugs, no disease and since I added a little iron to the mix, the lawn was beautiful by the 4 week after planting.
Bahia is such a tough grass it will dull a blade in minutes. St Augustine is a tall thick heavy grass and must be mowed high and with a sharp blade. But Zoysia is fine delicate turf that is easy turf to mow and easy on the mower. Since mowing is so easy and my lawn so small, I choose an electric mower - the Black and Decker MM325 – to handle the mowing. For the first weeks of mowing, I will set the mower to 3.5”.
Mowing at 3.5” is less stress on the turf and allows for maximum root and shoot development. Even though the turf had not been mowed for 3 weeks and the Zoysia was very lush, very thick and almost 6” high in places, the mowing was easy.
My goal is a 2” canopy. After the Zoysia becomes firmly established, I will gradually reduce the canopy to 2” over the coming months.
Tree Rings of Grass
Traditional landscapes provide a “tree ring” of mulch around tree trunks to protect the tree from mowers and string trimmers. I am experimenting with leaving the Zoysia grow to the trunk of the trees but not mowing within 3’ of the tree trunk. Since Zoysia only grows to a certain height, the effect will be that of a close cropped lawn with “rough” areas at the base of trees (think golf course with different mowing heights for tees, fairways, greens and roughs). I will keep you posted on this experimental design.
Zoysia Rating: So Far, Good – No Major Failures Just Minor Complaints
The turf has excellent color and texture. The sod webworms and disease was very alarming and the proper response is probably beyond the skills of most homeowners. The lengthy time taken to root in the soil means that daily watering for at least 30 days or more is required and that any failure to do so will result in failure of the sod.
Special Thanks to Cura Sod/Sod Depot for their Help with this Project
ILoveTurf.com - July 27th, 2012
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