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View Full Version : Purchased new home with Zoysia front yard... (pictures)


dcnc
04-23-2010, 01:23 PM
Hey all,

I'll keep this short and sweet. I'm obviously not a pro, but I'd like to learn how to take care of my new yard. I don't think the previous owners did a very good job with weed prevention, so now I am dealing with a monstrous Poa annua infestation in my zoysia. Some parts of the yard look OK (95% zoysia), but most of the lawn is 20-80% Poa annua and weeds. I bought the house in December when the lawn was dormant, and six months later... I feel like I've already lost the war. :cry:

Only the front yard is "zoysia", about 1500 sqft. I don't know what variety of zoysia it is.... best I can guess is Empire (blades are fairly wide, but not stiff).

In one of the pictures, I showed a section of the yard that I weeded by hand, vs a section still with Poa annua and weeds. The zoysia is STILL THERE, but it is very sparse, and looks to be choked by the Poa annua.

1. Its April 23. What can I still do this year to improve things?
2. There is a healthy maple in the front yard, providing shade to many of the "bad areas". Could this be contributing to the sparse zoysia?
3. I have a spreader, and I could buy a sprayer. I just don't know what chemicals to put down (brands, where to buy, etc), and when to do it.

In the pictures, I've circled the zoysia with green, the poa with red, and unknown weeds in yellow.

Thanks everyone!!

cgaengineer
04-23-2010, 03:30 PM
That POA will be dead soon so dont do anything right now. DaveK will be on shortly to give you some zoysia info. But I will tell you that your lawn is just now coming out of dormancy and once it starts growing it should choke out any weeds you may have. An application of Pre-M will prevent that POA from germinating next winter so you may consider that.

That POA is not that bad, I have seen much worse.

dcnc
04-23-2010, 04:51 PM
Really???!?! Wow... I've got some Weed-B-Gone ready to spray, but you say I don't even need it?

My impressions of Zoysia (from what I've read), is that it is generally slow-growing and won't tolerate heavy shade. If I could wave the magic wand today and the Poa was dead and removed, believe me, the vast majority of the yard would look like the section I weeded by hand (see picture). It would be 90% dirt and 10% sparse zoysia. Are you saying that in one season that zoysia will fill in that huge amount of area? That would be incredible. :clapping:

I have heard that the Poa will die when the hot weather arrives. What should I do with it then? I mean, right now I can go out and pull up Poa plants that are the width of a dinner plate. Excavate all the dead plants? Leave them to rot?

Where can I buy the Pre-M (Lesco?)? Any ideas what quantity I'd need for 1500 sqft?

THANKS FOR THE HELP!!!!

cgaengineer
04-23-2010, 11:39 PM
Weed B Gone won't kill POA anyway so if that's what you are trying to achieve then its a waste of chemicals. Zoysia is slow growing but with the right fert, sun and water it should fill in the areas where the POA is...what you are not seeing is the zoysia roots are in the ground below the POA plant...its just being shaded right now.

Give it some time...at least until the end of June.
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dcnc
04-24-2010, 12:15 AM
Hmm.... zoysia roots. I did notice during the weeding that it is difficult to even pull up the small amount of Zoysia that IS there... those roots are STRONG. I guess that is what people mean when they say "zoysia is for life". ;)

The Weed-B-Gone wasn't for the POA, it was for all the other weeds that have popped up.. there is some crabgrass, clover, other misc stuff I can't identify. Is that a waste of time?

Any ideas what to do with the dead Poa, once July comes? Pull it all up and trash it?

Something else I forgot to mention... it looks like my Zoysia is developing flowers (called racemes, I've read). Is that normal, or just another sign that I'm doing something wrong?

Many thanks! This discussion is very educational.

cgaengineer
04-24-2010, 12:30 AM
You won't have to do anything with the poa...it will decompose.

I know you are anxious to do something to your lawn, but just give it another month before you hit it with chemicals.

I have never heard of zoysia flowers, but that tells me it needs to be cut.
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dcnc
04-27-2010, 04:52 PM
OK, so I called off the TruGreen people. I'll let the Poa do its thing. But what about the other issues?...

1. Fertilizer for the zoysia? What kind, and when?
2. Weed killer application for the other weeds I mentioned?

I just don't want to miss any more important treatments. :confused:

cdb19279
05-03-2010, 09:01 PM
I was doing a little research on the NC State Turf files website http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/ (great site by the way) and saw where Barracade 65 WD was a great option as a pre for Poa (Annual Blue grass). Does anyone have experience with using it and where can I purchase? :usflag:

benjammin
05-04-2010, 04:21 PM
OK, so I called off the TruGreen people. I'll let the Poa do its thing. But what about the other issues?...

1. Fertilizer for the zoysia? What kind, and when?
2. Weed killer application for the other weeds I mentioned?

I just don't want to miss any more important treatments. :confused:


Go to the closest Ag Ext Office and get a soil sample box, follow the instructions and send off a soil sample. My Empire Zoysia just started to green up here in Wilmingoton a week or two ago. NC Ag Turfiles say to fert 3 weeks after greenup. You likely won't get your soil sample results in that time frame but they (Ag Ext) are going to tell you 1 pound N per 1,000 square feet, it's the other nutrients that will vary. So, you could fert with just 1/2 pound nitrogen in the next week or two and then 1/2 pound with whatever else your soil test says.

benjammin
05-04-2010, 04:26 PM
I see some dollar weed in there too. I used "Image" last year with good results. I'd wait a few more weeks for any chemicals.

And if your Z is going from seed head to flower, cut it! You don't want the grass to waste energy on seed and flower. This time of year I cut mine as soon as I see the seed heads, long before the blades need cut. That keeps more "energy" in the roots in blades.

cgaengineer
05-04-2010, 04:33 PM
Cut that zoysia at 1/2" with a reel mower, you will make your lawn happy.
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dcnc
05-10-2010, 02:32 PM
Cut that zoysia at 1/2" with a reel mower, you will make your lawn happy.
Posted via Mobile Device

Man, I thought Zoysia was supposed to be LOW-maintenance!! ;) I'm cutting it at roughly 1.25", and I swear it grows back FAST. YES, I have a nice reel mower.

I'd love to cut it lower, but the fact is that when I "mow the lawn", I'm only cutting about 25% zoysia in most parts of the yard. Most of the lawn is still showing weeds and poa annua. Trying to power my reel mower (at 1/2") through a sea of thick poa annua.... not gonna happen. Its hard enough at 1.25", and I'm 6' tall and strong. :weightlifter:

How often could I mow and not damage the zoysia?? As in, could I mow at 1.25" on Monday, 1" on Wednesday, 0.75" on Friday, and 0.5" on Sunday?

Still wondering what I should do with the thatch that is still hanging around, too... (?) I raked a lot of it up in March, but there is plenty more.

cgaengineer
05-10-2010, 02:36 PM
You need a powered reel mower!
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dcnc
05-10-2010, 02:38 PM
Go to the closest Ag Ext Office and get a soil sample box, follow the instructions and send off a soil sample. My Empire Zoysia just started to green up here in Wilmingoton a week or two ago. NC Ag Turfiles say to fert 3 weeks after greenup. You likely won't get your soil sample results in that time frame but they (Ag Ext) are going to tell you 1 pound N per 1,000 square feet, it's the other nutrients that will vary. So, you could fert with just 1/2 pound nitrogen in the next week or two and then 1/2 pound with whatever else your soil test says.

Many thanks!!

Liquid? Granules? Brand? Amount for 1500 sqft? Any recommendations?

dcnc
05-10-2010, 02:40 PM
You need a powered reel mower!
Posted via Mobile Device

LOL!! No, I just need less poa annua. ;)

Powered reel mower = $$$$. Not necessary, imo.

dcnc
05-10-2010, 02:43 PM
I see some dollar weed in there too. I used "Image" last year with good results. I'd wait a few more weeks for any chemicals.

And if your Z is going from seed head to flower, cut it! You don't want the grass to waste energy on seed and flower. This time of year I cut mine as soon as I see the seed heads, long before the blades need cut. That keeps more "energy" in the roots in blades.

I was thinking the same thing... just seems like the seed heads are quick to come out. Never thought I would need to mow every 3-4 days...

...and no, I'm not confusing the poa annua seed heads with the Zoysia. ;)

cgaengineer
05-10-2010, 02:43 PM
LOL!! No, I just need less poa annua. ;)

Powered reel mower = $$$$. Not necessary, imo.

Its necessary if you have to mow 3 times per week in the 100 degree GA heat.
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dcnc
05-10-2010, 02:52 PM
Its necessary if you have to mow 3 times per week in the 100 degree GA heat.
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LOL... that sounds like a golf course situation to me. ;) Am I right?

I think my yard would look great at around 1"... with no weeds or poa annua. Once I get there, maybe I can think about 0.5". :)

cgaengineer
05-10-2010, 03:14 PM
Golf course...nope, its my lawn!
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dcnc
05-10-2010, 03:38 PM
Golf course...nope, its my lawn!
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Yowsa!!! How much did that mower set you back? ;)

AmGreen
05-11-2010, 11:23 PM
Many thanks!!

Liquid? Granules? Brand? Amount for 1500 sqft? Any recommendations?

hey dcnc, sounds like you should call a local lawn care provider - definitely not trugreen. love the desire to learn!

you would need 15 lbs of a 50 lb bag of 10-10-10 to get 1 lb of N per 1500 sf

granules will work fine. we use both liquid and granular.

brand is a matter of preference.

cgaengineer
05-12-2010, 12:08 AM
Yowsa!!! How much did that mower set you back? ;)

I purchased it used for $1375. It a 30" Legacy from Peachtree Mower.
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dcnc
05-12-2010, 05:17 PM
I purchased it used for $1375. It a 30" Legacy from Peachtree Mower.
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Holy COW!! That thing looks SERIOUS. ;)

No powered gas mower for me... I've only got 1500 sqft, and it only takes me about 25 mins to double-cut my yard with my reel mower: http://www.reelmowersetc.com/silent_cut_21.htm
Plus its good exercise. :)

Raked up about 20 lbs of thatch from the yard after I mowed yesterday. I think the previous owners let the zoysia grow WAY too tall. That's the third time I've removed thatch this spring.

dcnc
05-12-2010, 05:39 PM
Fertilizer has been ordered, will arrive in a few days. :) (20-20-20)

Still got plenty of weeds in amongst the Zoysia... When is a good time for a post-emergent treatment?? I've got some weed killer at the ready...

Kill weeds, then fertilize? Fertilize, then kill weeds? The latter doesn't make much sense to me....

AmGreen
05-13-2010, 07:56 PM
Doesn't matter, either way. Some will say one is better than the other. How much slow release is in your fertilizer?
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dcnc
05-13-2010, 10:38 PM
Doesn't matter, either way. Some will say one is better than the other. How much slow release is in your fertilizer?
Posted via Mobile Device

Cool. I think I'll kill me some weeds in a few days.

No slow release. Its a liquid fertilizer.

dcnc
05-17-2010, 11:02 AM
First of all, I just wanted to say THANKS to everyone who has chimed in with answers and suggestions so far. Its been a huge help.

More pictures today.... maybe you guys have some easy answers....

These pictures were taken on Saturday afternoon, when it was about 92 degrees and pretty dry. Last time I watered was Wednesday, and its been hot and dry all week. I've put down zero chemicals so far.

1. As you can see, in certain spots, the zoysia leaves were curling up into tight tubes. I'd say this was only happening in the 10% of the yard that gets full sun all day long. I assumed this was a drought response, so I got out the hose and soaked these drier areas. We also ended up getting some cooler temps and a nice period of rain yesterday, which also helped.

2. I'm not exactly sure how much thatch is "too much". In a couple of the photos you can see that despite my efforts to rake and remove it (AGAIN and AGAIN), there is still a fair amount still lying around. Ideas?

3. Anyone know what the tiny "rust" spots are on some of my zoysia leaves?

Thanks again everyone. :)

benjammin
05-27-2010, 01:46 PM
I think you are right about drought stress.
You can signup here: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/tims/default.aspx
for watering guidance. If you have irrigation it helps with adjusting your watering schedule based on microclimate data stations in your specific area (NC only).

As far as the rust spots, can't help you there. I know my Z had brown patch in the fall and it's back now, just had a fungicide app that seems to be helping and the NC Turf Files issued at Disease Alert for Brown Patch: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/Alerts.aspx#005089

There is also a Disease Identification Aid here: http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/diseaseID/default.aspx

and don't forget Grub Treatment in June (also from NC TurfFiles)
May 24th, 2010. Japanese beetles are now beginning to emerge which means egg laying will start in ealry June. Effective applications of insecticides for white grubs will be mid June for much of th estate (a little later in the mountains). Despite the dry weather in April and early May, the beetles are right on schedule.

dcnc
06-04-2010, 03:16 PM
UPDATE!! :)

Did a very light treatment of 20-20-20 the other day (liquid), just to get my feet wet (no pun intended). All went well. Does seem to be a little more blade growth lately.

I'm starting to agree about the fungicide, too. The shady part of the lawn stays fairly moist, and I'm seeing more rust here and there. I still haven't applied my post-emergent Weed-B-Gon, I've just been too busy, and the threat of rain always keeps me guessing. Maybe early next week if it stays "cooler".

Thatch: there is so much dead Poa annua laying around the yard, its sad. On top of that, my raking didn't really seem to remove the thick layer of decaying crap that seemed to be everywhere. So.... I went out and bought a nice thatch rake. Several days and roughly 60 lbs of thatch later, the lawn looks much different. I can actually see the soil!! :) Big improvement. Although I don't think my back will ever be the same. :(

Plenty of new, interesting weeds keep popping up.... which I pull out by hand. Crabgrass, clover, dandelion, some bermuda, really too many to list. Really needs a herbicide, but that'll have to wait until the right day.

Questions:
1. What is a good retail fungicide for Zoysia?
2. I've heard rumors about treating for grubs... good retail product?
2. Any ideas what the following pictures show?

Thanks!

RDA
06-05-2010, 04:53 AM
2. I've heard rumors about treating for grubs... good retail product?


I use Milky Spore.


2. Any ideas what the following pictures show?


First two look like spittlebug and the second two look like worm castings.

Wait was that question #2 or #3?

:-)

Regards,

Rich

benjammin
06-09-2010, 01:17 PM
Looks like Spittlebugs and worm casings to me too.
I use Bifenthrin for spittle bug control and works for grubs too.
Spittle bugs are a b_tch though. You need to do a granular treatment and spray, and then likely spray again in two weeks and maybe again two weeks later. Spray early or late while they are hopefully settled in [and feeding on your grass ;-)].

Ortho Max is retail/box store Bifenthrin.

dcnc
07-15-2010, 06:23 PM
Hey everybody, I'm back with more oh-so-fascinating photos. :)

So, an update.... its the middle of July, hot as Hades, and I'm happy to report that the Zoysia is, for the most part, in great shape and growing well. I bought a core plugger/aerator and loosened up some of the compacted areas, fertilized a couple times, applied some fungicide, pulled weeds by the hundreds, and I water a couple times a week (otherwise some turf gets drought stress).

All in all I am pleased. The areas that get full sun are magnificent and lush, like astroturf. I found out that my zoysia is "Compadre", which I think is OK. The areas that get a lot of shade look pretty pathetic... but no sun = no zoysia, it seems. I'm mowing the grass at 2" now, since it seems to do better in the heat, and thus requires less water.

But.... I've got a few patches of strange-looking zoysia, in among the otherwise healthy turf. The blades look withered, a tad bit yellow, and seem to be more "stem-like" since the blades are curling inwards on one side. It definitely does not seem like a drought response, since these strange patches have been growing slowly larger for a couple months. I figured they would go away, but they are getting bigger.

Many thanks to all of you for your help.

benjammin
07-16-2010, 10:04 AM
Do you think you have eradicated the spittle bugs? May still have spittle bug damage growing out or still have ongoing damage. It does look odd the way only one side of the blade appears effected though.

dcnc
07-16-2010, 06:50 PM
Hmm... well, I never did anything specific to "treat" the spittlebugs, but I can say since it has been in the mid-90s for about a month, I haven't seen a single ball of spittlebug "foam" ANYWHERE recently. I did put down the GrubEx about 5 weeks ago, however. You have a good point, but none of these spots have anything going on (visibly) but weird-looking zoysia.

There is very little going on within my zoysia that I don't notice. I'm literally the guy who crawls around the yard on my knees, pulling weeds by hand for several hours per week. I know there is still rust here and there on some of the blades. I know the shaded areas of the lawn seem fairly unhealthy and wispy. Other than that, things are good..... except for these weird patches.

dcnc
07-20-2010, 03:05 PM
OK... so you're right. ;) I saw the eyes of the enemy this morning.... and they were bright red. Stupid spittlebugs.

[..wipes egg from face..]

Bifenthrin spray has been applied to the obvious patches. I'll put down granules in a couple days. I probably sprayed a dozen spots this morning, but I only saw this one bug.

Also put some of this down to control some violet/onion outbreaks.
http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp?proId=prod70214&itemId=cat50064

benjammin
07-20-2010, 05:38 PM
arrrrrr....pesky little phuckers aren't they! NC Ag recommends liquid and granular apps, repeat
After control is obtained, the area should be periodically rechecked Reinfestation can occur quickly since the two-lined spittlebug has at least two generations per year in this state.

The best time to check for nymphs and to apply pesticides to turfgrasses is late in the day because the nymphs are higher on the plants than during the hot midday.

Numerous insecticides are labeled to control spittlebugs on turf and if properly applied, most perform well. Good coverage is essential. Granular formulations are not as effective as spray formulations.

But my licensed chemical ap friend swears granular apps provide adequate re-investation control for a longer period. I did one liquid and then granular a week or so later (back in late May) and have yet to see any more damage but still notice a few.

benjammin
08-12-2010, 11:24 AM
I've been noticing an increase in spittle bugs and spittle spit, getting another ap tomorrow.