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View Full Version : I need some Advice, plz. "Emerald Zoysia"


shortgrass01
01-14-2010, 11:00 AM
I have a customer with 20+k sq ft of Emerald Zoysia. I been walking this lawn for 3 years now, I began cutting it with a mclane reel mower
173482

which the customer purchaced for his lawn, this machine doesnt do well at all on this type of lawn. It bumps along and snips and grabs,tears of the top of the grass and always out growing the previous cut by the following week. It leave the lawn burned and brown on top for a few days. In all fairness when this mclain is newly serviced it does great, but it doesnt take but a month before it back to the same ol lack luster, burning up the belt, burning the bbed knife up becuase it is cramped down too tight to make it cut that tuff-tuff Emerald Zoysia. In the spring it does great when the grass doesnt grow fast.

I cut this lawn weekly in growing season.

Last year I mowed with my honda 21 inch, and it does great it kept its color and lasted long enough before the next week cut. The honda wanted to gouge below 2in in areas that arent dead flat. The mclane just rode over the lawn and wasnt heavy enough to stay down into the lawn.

unlike with the mclane, it never was able to cut enough and the only way was to double cut back to back days.

My current problem is with my honda; the track marks left behind were ugly, seeing as I was cutting at 2.5in lawn is just bulky and left tracks. I cant cut this lawn low enough to the ground so the tracks wont appear. If I can get a good start and get it lowered before the summer it stands a chance of staying low. It is just so thick and springy it just holds up the weight of the mower..leaving the tracks behind, even though I turn 90' every time I cut. so it looks like a checker board, but with one inch tracks left as a depression in the lawn.

Customer is a one I dont want to lose, But I dont know any way to make his lawn look like a fairway, as he wants without cutting 2 times a week?
He puts out his own application and he loads it up! and waters like mad. so it grows like mad.
I have told him we had to stop all this feeding the lawn, that it is out growing the cuts.

So I am here looking for advice, on Emerald Zoysia in the south. How to mow it inside 2 inches? My main problem is the tracks my honda imprints into the lawn. Is the only soultion to mow twice a week to keep it low-low, Id have to almost double his bill ??!

Thank you

fl-landscapes
01-14-2010, 11:33 AM
couple things come to mind. If he wants it to look like a "fairway" it will have to be maintained like one and that means cutting more than once a week in season and cutting at a lower height. Also the sponge like aspect of the lawn may mean you have a lot of thatch, which is common in zoyzia. If there is excessive thatch verticut it in the spring or anytime it is actively growing for that matter. Adjust your water and fert to minimize the thatch. Blindly throwing ideas out there without me being on the property in person but it's a start.

shortgrass01
01-14-2010, 12:00 PM
couple things come to mind. If he wants it to look like a "fairway" it will have to be maintained like one and that means cutting more than once a week in season and cutting at a lower height. Also the sponge like aspect of the lawn may mean you have a lot of thatch, which is common in zoyzia. If there is excessive thatch verticut it in the spring or anytime it is actively growing for that matter. Adjust your water and fert to minimize the thatch. Blindly throwing ideas out there without me being on the property in person but it's a start.

Thanks for responding: Never been dethatched, and core areating just makes it grow faster and springs up weeds(nutsedge)

He doesnt want his yard tore up, " Eye Candy " and if it isnt done a regular basis, it just out grows what you do to it.
Aye, I will show a couple pictures and see if I can get some more helpful advice.
Here are a couple pictures, when I cut it with the mclane and a overhead view.

these dont show the tracks of the honda push mower, but just for this post is it realistic to try to mow closer?

173487

173488

shortgrass01
01-14-2010, 12:19 PM
I am getting about 100. per visit, as of last year and all I did was mow. I get to ride the front, which is Bermuda mix, and the back and side I have to walk and clean up and edge dumped endless amounts of grass. 10 CUFT wheelbarrow, gets dumped 6 times on a summer cut.
before last year and the down turn, I was getting 125. per visit, but I was doing edging and weed eating, more gleamed the debris and blow cleaned more often. Lat year we tried to lower the bill, to save cost. his yard when down hill a bit because he was to pick up after me and didn't have time like he planed. So he wants to improve the over last year and back to the look of when I first started. I really hate the mclane to be honest, it is a toy compared to my professional knowledge of tuff equipment. Even then, professional equipment wouldn't handle this with much up keep.

so where is the realistic balance for a residential emerald zoysia lawn of 20+k sq ft of junk?
ps, before you balk at the price I'm getting, I get a years worth of work and many add on's for extra income. Each visit last about 2 to 3 hrs.

I'm just trying to keep a good customer; a good customer. so if you have any experiences with Emerald Zoysia I could use some extra insight.

thank you

ArTurf
01-14-2010, 01:29 PM
To solve these problems you will need to change the cultural practices.

From what you stated the customer is over watering and fertilizing the grass which is causing excessive top growth and is not healthy in the long run. Zoysia is not naturally a fast growing grass like bermuda. You need to obtain the knowledge or find someone for proper fertilization/watering.

Zoysia does benefit from core aeration since it becomes very dense over time. The aeration is not causing the nutsedge it is most likely the excessive watering. If nutsedge is a problem bring in a knowledgeable person to take care of it. The excessive growth is most likely due an excessive amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer.

If tire tracks are an issue consider a mower with a striper. If he likes the golf course look this should be right up his alley. You will have to move up from the 21" and it seems you need to if it takes you 2-3 hours at $100 for 20,000 sq ft.

I would not cut below 2.5" nor would I bag the clippings, they are beneficial to the lawn. I use mulch kits on my nice lawns and the clippings are not noticeable.

shortgrass01
01-14-2010, 02:38 PM
To solve these problems you will need to change the cultural practices.

From what you stated the customer is over watering and fertilizing the grass which is causing excessive top growth and is not healthy in the long run. Zoysia is not naturally a fast growing grass like bermuda. You need to obtain the knowledge or find someone for proper fertilization/watering.

Zoysia does benefit from core aeration since it becomes very dense over time. The aeration is not causing the nutsedge it is most likely the excessive watering. If nutsedge is a problem bring in a knowledgeable person to take care of it. The excessive growth is most likely due an excessive amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer.

If tire tracks are an issue consider a mower with a striper. If he likes the golf course look this should be right up his alley. You will have to move up from the 21" and it seems you need to if it takes you 2-3 hours at $100 for 20,000 sq ft.

I would not cut below 2.5" nor would I bag the clippings, they are beneficial to the lawn. I use mulch kits on my nice lawns and the clippings are not noticeable.



Thanks for your reply:
allow me to be argumentative with you a sec.

a striper in my opinion with do nothing more that add weight to what I am already pushing. lol
I use blades on my Honda that are steak knife sharp when I enter his lawn. The clipping lay on top of his grass like static cling, I cant hardly blow them into the sod. It never looks clean at all when I am done, if i dont bag while mowing.. The clippings have to be collected or it would be cowody ugly if i didnt..
I have to ask you, Have you ever maintained a Emerald Zoysia Lawn? seriously..no offence..
Maybe if I hooked up a double blade deal under my honda, maybe it would purify the clippings.. but even then they wouldn't blend in the sod.
the grain is so tight, it is like walking on marbles. In the picture above it is cut at just under 2 inches if I remember right. Last year we went to 2.5-3 inches. The gain just grows up higher and pulling it back down is next to impossible while it is growing. This year before it start to green up, I am yanking it down to the ground. That should produce about 200 cuyards of dead clippings.. Yeah, yuk..

But When I say it out grows my cuts, yeah it grows fast! 3 days later it needs cutting again if it is cut short under 2 inches it really shows! I noticed last year bring up the height that it didn't out grow my cut near as fast. Weather it due to sharp blades keeping it from going into growth mode, vs the damage tearing of the real mower leaving behind a burned top, I don't know. I think it has a height it likes to grow at and cutting just below that keeps it from over growing.

I agree about the sedge, and watering.. but the nodes are still under the sod as this is a new lawn of about 5 years. when it is aerated the sedges crops in places once there was none. Bad bad problem here in this area.


If tire tracks are an issue consider a mower with a striper. If he likes the golf course look this should be right up his alley. You will have to move up from the 21" and it seems you need to if it takes you 2-3 hours at $100 for 20,000 sq ft.

Zoysia wont stripe when cut low to start with, you see a stripe hours after your done, but the next day its gone! Id have to drag that top dresser you use behind my machine to get it to stripe, lol true story!

you see the picture above, that was taken just after I cut in the summer. I cut it with the reel mower at its best, tuned up and freshly balanced.

What is a move up from a 21'?? Do you mean a bigger stronger mower? I hate to buy a piece of equipment for one problem yard.. ugh

My plan is to stop him from putting out applications and allow me to monitor the watering times.. He's the type, he will just hit the manual button on the water when I am gone. He wants a dark green lawn when Emerald doesn't get the same color as Bermuda. so he loads it up, for it to only eat through it in a few weeks.

If I was completely in charge it would look like a fairway... but it wont come easy and it wont be cheep. IMO

thank you

Chilehead
01-14-2010, 03:24 PM
I would tell your customer that his Emerald zoysia only needs fertilizer twice a year per SC Extension office. I use 24-2-11 with 6%iron on Zoysia. Works wonderful. One inch of water per week is plenty. Tell him to do do a half-inch watering twice a week. This is actually more beneficial than doing a third-inch watering three times per week. When it comes down to mowing, the argument is simple: mow twice per week regardless of mower, or use plant growth regulator on his lawn.

shortgrass01
01-14-2010, 04:35 PM
I would tell your customer that his Emerald zoysia only needs fertilizer twice a year per SC Extension office. I use 24-2-11 with 6%iron on Zoysia. Works wonderful. One inch of water per week is plenty. Tell him to do do a half-inch watering twice a week. This is actually more beneficial than doing a third-inch watering three times per week. When it comes down to mowing, the argument is simple: mow twice per week regardless of mower, or use plant growth regulator on his lawn.


0 I have done hinted about Growth Regulators, Thank you for lending me your exsperince here.. my 4th year walking this lawn and by far my hardest lawn to manage. he switches direction on his ideas as to how he wants it kept.. so, I am doing my best to keep him a good customer..

ArTurf
01-15-2010, 10:59 AM
Growth regulators should not be necessary as Zoysia in not a naturally fast growing grass. Once again if you correct the basic cultural practices you should be on track. Once a week mowing should not be a problem. As far as the striping goes, even if it did not stay for very long it would cancel out the tire tracks which is what you are trying to do. A mulch kit on a good commercial mower does not leave visible clippings under normal conditions.

The equipment upgrade I was suggesting would be something along the lines of a commercial grade walk behind. Maybe get something you could use on different properties along with this one. If you have been doing this for 4 years it might be worth it if you could do it in half or less time. It would justify itself in time savings over the long run.

Suggestion: Gather info on proper watering/fertilization, etc and have him read it. You may need to be more assertive in getting these thoughts across.

shortgrass01
01-15-2010, 01:33 PM
Growth regulators should not be necessary as Zoysia in not a naturally fast growing grass. Once again if you correct the basic cultural practices you should be on track. Once a week mowing should not be a problem. As far as the striping goes, even if it did not stay for very long it would cancel out the tire tracks which is what you are trying to do. A mulch kit on a good commercial mower does not leave visible clippings under normal conditions.

The equipment upgrade I was suggesting would be something along the lines of a commercial grade walk behind. Maybe get something you could use on different properties along with this one. If you have been doing this for 4 years it might be worth it if you could do it in half or less time. It would justify itself in time savings over the long run.

Suggestion: Gather info on proper watering/fertilization, etc and have him read it. You may need to be more assertive in getting these thoughts across.

I have to bring to your attention; for future knowledge. In my search of a solution I read; Emerald is hybrid that grows faster than the rest of the other zoysia. This information isn't easy to find, Emerald Zoysia is different in the growth rate. I can my quote my source if needed..

I've had many conversation with this customer and he is aware of all the options but he is a lawn fanatic and I think he is feeling buyers remorse for getting the Emerald.
Someone he trusted talked him into getting is because it was suppose to be the Cadillac of lawn grasses, which is a right out LIE.
zenith zoysia or Meyer zoysia and maybe empire zoysia are the best of the Zoysia here in the South in my opinion.
My favorite is the Tifway Bermuda's, by far the best grass in the ever in non-shady area's.

Mowers, Yes He needs an hydraulic mow for sure, but most of them come in 42/48' wide and very difficult to get inside gates. I Bought a second hand exmart walk behind, nice machine but found my self using it as a brush hog because I couldn't get it in the back yards. I sold it before I tore it up.

Edit: Maybe a stronger honda motor than what i have, but I dont need it as a rotorary mower.. Sharp blades is all you need. I have even cut his lawn with my lowes mower with sharp blades. Although with a wider mower, double cuts wouldnt take up much xtra time.

I think I am just going to load him up with extra cuts... until get gets his head screwed on straight. I really feel if I could be in control of the cultural practices I could have it the way he wants it. I just Hate it when someone pays me more than they are paying for there house payment per month. :dizzy:

Thank for your time Arturf

Landscape Poet
01-15-2010, 10:50 PM
couple things come to mind. If he wants it to look like a "fairway" it will have to be maintained like one and that means cutting more than once a week in season and cutting at a lower height. Also the sponge like aspect of the lawn may mean you have a lot of thatch, which is common in zoyzia. If there is excessive thatch verticut it in the spring or anytime it is actively growing for that matter. Adjust your water and fert to minimize the thatch. Blindly throwing ideas out there without me being on the property in person but it's a start.

I think all your answers may have been in the first response. A couple of things hit home to me that FL-landscapes said.
Posted by Fl landscapes
"Also the sponge like aspect of the lawn may mean you have a lot of thatch, which is common in zoyzia. If there is excessive thatch verticut it in the spring or anytime it is actively growing for that matter"
I would say if the homeowner is creating bad cultural practices by fertilizing and watering too much as you say - and it is growing so fast it will not make it without twice a week cuts and thus the top growth is excessive creating more thatch which is the spongy feeling you are describing. By limiting these cultural practices you decrease thatch and growth rate which are both contributing to your spongy feel, Zoyzia is already a turf which is prone to thatch issues, all he is doing is promoting even more of a problem - I think you are over thinking this.

I like several of the other suggestion others have thrown out there such verticut - I would not normally think this would be necessary since you stated the yard is only a few years old - but if the cultural practices are off - then that changes the ball game.

Another idea that someone suggested is was printing material for him to read cultural practices and thatch - I like this especially if it is University research.

Just one more thing - really a question - does the home experience fungal diseases that are common with Zoyzia? I am asking because I think with a excess amount of N and the excess moisture if he does not have this issues he will at some point in the near future.

dave k
01-18-2010, 08:15 PM
I have over 20k sq. feet of Emerald and have cut it using a C 125 Locke and a 27" Tru Cut, a 30" Legacy, a JD utility tri plex and I now I own a JD Greensmower, I also use my Walker 42" GHS and the 48" SD deck.
The reels I keep at 1/2" to 1", when using the Walker I cut it at 1.5" to 2" and it cuts very well.
The spongie feel can be thatch but more likely it is cut to high, Emerald likes to be kept low, you can see some pics of my lawn on the Zoysia Tread.
I have cut the Emerald with my Honda 21: mower but the Emerald is way to thick to use it.
Another thing about using the reels, most reels will NOT be able to keep a straight line because the wheels never touch the earth, it slides like crazy all over the place, the Tru cut did pretty good, but to keep a straight line you really need to use a tri plex, trust me on this!
If I had to do it again, I would not have gotten the Emerald but would have went with Zeon or some other zoysia, a good certified Bermuda is really a good turf, but it needs to be certified.
Do a search on LS for the Zoysia thread, it is under the pic tread.
PS: Even my Walker likes to slide all over the place on the Emerald if it gets to tall.
Hope this helped you.

greendoctor
01-19-2010, 03:27 AM
A reel mower of any kind will not work at all on zoysia that has been allowed to get too tall and thick. In that condition, the lawn needs to be drastically thinned out right before the peak growing season. I maintain many zoysia lawns. 12 month growing season. If the grass is too thick, it has to be verticut with a Ryan Ren-O-Thin or equivalent. I agree with the part about too much water, do not agree with not fertilizing. In heavy soils, the lawn needs only an inch of water applied in one or two applications per week. I feed my zoysia lawns 1/2 LB of N per month of growing season. Incidentally, starving Emerald makes it woody and harder to cut. A little more N softens the leaves and stolons.

A McLane mower should have no problem cutting zoysia that is not overgrown. If it performs worse after coming back from the shop, I am willing to bet that the reel to bedknife alignment is wrong and they used spin grinding to sharpen the reel with no relief grind.

shortgrass01
01-20-2010, 06:48 PM
I hear ya, I Thanks for sharing. I think I am going to burn it off next couple weeks..

lol..j/k

it needs it...

dave k
01-22-2010, 12:08 PM
Burn baby burn :laugh:

Lil' Cabrito
02-04-2010, 06:32 PM
Zoysia definitely requires less "N" per year. You need to verticut the hell out of it, as it grows denser and therefore dulls your reel blades faster. Are you backlapping the reel every week as you would sharpen your rotary mower blades each week. You definitley need to mow more frequent if he would pay for it. In a perfect world with unlimmited budgets, problem solved. Your pic looks good. Nice job.

greendoctor
02-05-2010, 02:07 AM
A reel mower that is spin ground with no relief cannot be backlapped. In my town most of the mower shops have been sold this bill of goods about spin grinding and setting the reel for zero contact. Maybe that is ok for reels cutting bent grass greens. It does not work on zoysia. A reel cutting zoysia needs to have a relief grind and slight reel to bedknife contact. If not, it will just rip grass and jam.