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View Full Version : Late Zoysia Sodding and First Florida Freeze


vivona
12-13-2010, 12:18 AM
I live in Central Florida. I had my entire yard cleared of turf in October. The contractor was to install new Jamur Zoysia the next day, but he skipped town for reasons unknown. After two weeks of trying to find him, I had to finish the job with another contractor. That delay resulted in my new lawn being laid on November 22nd.

The Jamur Zoysia has been down for three weeks and has received 1/3 of an inch of water every day. It looks nice and green and is beginning to root down. Most sod pieces do not pull up.

Now comes the problem. It will be in the low 30s overnight most days this coming week, with Tuesday forecasted at 28 degrees. Daytimes are in the 50s and 60s.

Is it likely the turf will be damaged by the cold? Is there anything I can do, within reason, to prevent damage?

RigglePLC
12-13-2010, 12:39 PM
Take it with a grain of salt--I am from Michigan--can you irrigate a few minutes, every hour, over night? You need a very flexible irrigation controller. What temp is your city water? Suppose it is 60 degrees.(Our water here is about 45). That would help. And if it freezes it will protect the grass like in the strawberry fields, in Plant City. I am not sure if a tarp or a thermal pool cover or both would help. With a cover there is a risk of overheating or of carbon dioxide build up during a sunny day. Fungus is a possibility. Best to remove tarp if temp gets above 45.

I suspect the zoysia will turn brown and recover if a few weeks, if nothing is done.
Local advice is always better. Let us know what happens.

jonthepain
12-13-2010, 06:26 PM
And if it freezes it will protect the grass like in the strawberry fields Don't they do that in orange groves down there? Seems like a good idea.

Local advice is always better. Even better idea

Let us know what happens.

Yes, let us know!

RigglePLC
12-13-2010, 09:34 PM
I am a few hours late--but do you happen to have an electric blanket? Lay it on the grass and the gentle heat will ooze out from the blanket under your tarps. Electric blankets usually have several thermostats to protect from overheating, to make them safe to use. They are usually washable too.

But of course you live in Florida--why would anyone need an electric blanket in the Sunshine State?
Tell us what it looks like in the morning. Thanks.

vivona
12-14-2010, 01:40 AM
I am a few hours late--but do you happen to have an electric blanket?

I should mention that I am talking about 5,200 sq ft of turf. I had given thought to buying large tarps and covering the lawn. It would have cost about $500, plus stakes, and a lot of work. I don't know how effective it would have been, though. Plastic tarps aren't much of an insulator. As to electric blankets . . . that would certainly help, but I don't want to think about costs for that. :)

My sod supplier recommended irrigating the lawn at 5AM which would be when the temperature would be just before its lowest point of 25 degrees. We have a lot of shrubs covered with sheets that would be watered along with the lawn, and I don't know if it would be good to get them wet. I don't see me getting up at 5AM to pull the sheets off so I can water the lawn, but I may try that around 8AM.

jonthepain
12-14-2010, 10:25 AM
I would think that a light mist of water on the turf, which would freeze and maintain 32 overnight, like the orchards do, would be an option.

*edit* Apparently it's more complicated than that: http://www.sidney.ars.usda.gov/personnel/pdfs/Frost%20Protection%20in%20Orchards%20and%20Vineyards.pdf

Patriot Services
12-14-2010, 01:43 PM
Electric blankets!?! You crazy northern guys. It already took root. Don't water it. It may or may not go dormant but it will be fine. Regular water schedule once a week. We just had rain so you are good. It may yellow, but it will come back when temps come up. Zoysia is forever.

P.s. grass is not a fruit so forget the freezing spray thing.

Landscape Poet
12-14-2010, 10:57 PM
Electric blankets!?! You crazy northern guys. It already took root. Don't water it. It may or may not go dormant but it will be fine. Regular water schedule once a week. We just had rain so you are good. It may yellow, but it will come back when temps come up. Zoysia is forever.

P.s. grass is not a fruit so forget the freezing spray thing.

I would agree with Patriot on this....regular watering schedule is fine if it has taken root. If it has not then watering in the early morning would be my best solution to get it back up to temp. With as prone as zoysia is down here to Brown Patch that offers its own issues too.

I would not recommend water early at night - again fungus issues but also as Patriot said, it is not a fruit, and you could do more damage I think by keeping the leaf moist and wet and then it freezing then if you would allow it to dry out during the day, freeze and then bring it back up to temp.

I am not sure about the electric blanket idea - it is cold down here - keep that for yourself! If you have extra Christmas lights - that would be a option that would help - be have done that with several of our shrubs with great success.

Good luck -

RigglePLC
12-15-2010, 10:08 PM
Well what happend so far, Vivona? I would expect that for any bushes you have covered in sheets or cloth covers--it would not hurt to get them wet. Go ahead and irrigate. Ten minutes three times per night would probably work. Did you determine the temp of your water? Is it well water? River water? Can you use your hot water faucet? Night watering should not cause any fungus problems at those low temps, (with the possible exception of snow mold.)

Do you have a helicopter? LOL!

I am not familiar with Florida conditions, but Mike's idea of using Christmas lights is a possibility. Go take the lights off your palm trees and lay them out on your lawn in a triangle shape--sort of like a huge 5000 sq ft flat Christmas tree. Cover with Visqueen if you want to be sure. Blow some warm air under there with your daughters hair dryer. Just throwing out some ideas. Cold won't kill zoysia. Maybe you will have a green Christmas tree shape in your yard.

vivona
12-16-2010, 03:17 AM
Monday night it went down to 25. On Tuesday I watered about 1/4" of water during the day. The second night it went down to 30. The grass is still green, but shows a little bit of browning in areas. I suspect that it wasn't damaged, though freeze damage usually takes a few days to show up.

My sprinkler system uses city water which is normally about 75 degrees, but it would be much colder on a cold night and probably reach ambient by the time it hits the ground. I didn't want to irrigate during the freezing temperatures because that might subject the sprayheads to icing up. I have read that having the grass moist before the temperature drops helps prevent damage from the drying out effect of the cold.

It is interesting that many of the Floratam lawns in the neighborhood are already brown, but my Zoysia lawn is still predominately green.

Patriot Services
12-16-2010, 12:28 PM
Regardless of how much water or what temp it is you cannot prevent dormancy. The grass has already moved all the food it will need deep into its roots. Any extra water is only going to produce a huge weed/fungus problem. Dormancy is necessary to protect now and prepare for spring.
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vivona
12-16-2010, 01:07 PM
Regardless of how much water or what temp it is you cannot prevent dormancy. The grass has already moved all the food it will need deep into its roots. Any extra water is only going to produce a huge weed/fungus problem. Dormancy is necessary to protect now and prepare for spring.
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If the grass is still mostly green has it gone into dormancy? The front yard is all green. The back yard is mostly green, with some slight browning.

Because the roots are still quite shallow (max 3") I am planning to water 3/4" twice weekly for the next two weeks, then drop back to weekly. Does that sound reasonable?

Patriot Services
12-16-2010, 01:25 PM
Its entering dormancy. IMHO once a week is fine now. I 'm expecting rain Saturday so that would be it this week. Zoysia is first to green back too. I would predict end of feb this year.
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Landscape Poet
12-16-2010, 02:01 PM
Again like patriot said , once a week should be fine on the watering - going more will most likely bring out brown patch issues if they are present in the soil and with zoysia you do not want that and a weed problem from the extra watering.

Ric
12-22-2010, 10:29 AM
Sorry my $ 0.02 is a little late.

Having been in the Nursery Business before Hurricane Charlie blew it away. I used to water the ground and plants heavy before a freeze NOT DURING a freeze. The Water helped to hold temperatures above freezing. Those plants not taken inside were covered after the ground was saturated with water. While most of the Nursery ground was covered in Black Ground Cloth, I always had some left over Sod spread out on that black Ground Cover to sell or reuse later. I never lost any Sod to freezes and it received the same heavy watering the day before a freeze.