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hilde123
09-29-2011, 09:30 PM
Im replacing my turf (well 75% of my turf) and am having trouble selecting the best variety for my needs. About 50% of my area gets 6-8 hrs of sun and the rest gets between 3-5, except for obviously right below low trees. I would like stick with one type of turf for replacement. I do currently have chinch bug issues and am looking for a species that is tolerant (I am having it treated to slow them down). As far as drought tolerance, I really dont care as I am on a shallow well and can water as much as needed. I have a fair amount of Seville and like it but where it is in full sun it is real thatchy. I am leaning towards Floratam or Palmetto. I like what I hear about the Palmetto variety but havent heard much from people that have had it down for years. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

unkownfl
09-29-2011, 10:22 PM
Bitter Blue or Seville IMHO. Just treat your yard right and you won't have bug/water issues. Also, don't mow it like a golf course.

Landscape Poet
09-29-2011, 10:51 PM
They all have there good attributes and there bad. Palmetto is what I use now after the last few winters. It has a better cold tolerance as well as being able to tolerate more shade. It still will not live in pure shade - but better than say Floratam. The University (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh010) says that it has a lighter green color. It has been my experience that is dependent on how it is cared for. I am including a picture of the sod we use for you to get a example of thick it can be as well as a picture of it installed next to floratam in a lawn we did this week. I think you will see that the Floratam is much lighter green than the new sod that has been installed. So again it dependents on your tech and how good of a job he is doing of feeding your lawn if you ask me.
The main thing for you going forward is having a tech that takes care of your lawn properly. I hear you are going with Heron. They will do that and insect damage is not a issue for you as they offer sod replacement from insect damage. :weightlifter:

Any of the St. Augustine cultivators can make a attractive lawn - when properly cared for and when they are installed in the correct conditions ie: not installing floratam in a lawn which get partial sun.

Landscape Poet
09-29-2011, 10:56 PM
Here is another of that same install - again please note that the palmetto is not a lighter green but rather a much darker green than the existing floratam. The palmetto will adapt and blend with the other lawn as it will be getting the same care from now on - but at this point the Palmetto appears to be much better feed.

Keith
09-29-2011, 11:47 PM
I still like Bitter Blue for most lawns that have some shade. They all have their pros and cons, but I think it is less prone to problems than some of the semi-dwarfs. Floratam would absolutely not be a good choice for what you describe.

jvanvliet
09-30-2011, 07:13 AM
Bitter Blue and Palmeto are good St. Augustine cultivars. I'd go with the Palmeto since it is one of the most versatile and hardiest strain available. It stands up to a wide range of temperature variations (important in Orlando), develops a massive and deep root system (reducing irrigation requirements) and is able to adapt to changing conditions on the planting site, like maturing trees providing more shade. Both have a proven track record.

Seville is a slow growing dwarf variety with moderate shade resistance and is not as cold or insect resistant as the Bitter Blue or Palmeto.

The one not mentioned is Captiva. Captiva is a newer strain (to me) and I don't have first hand experience with it. People have posted regarding Captiva and I do not remember negative reports other than cost and availability. Captiva is a dwarf variety, slow growing, has moderate shade resistance as well as resistance to southern cinch bug & plant hoppers. It too is not as cold tolerant as the other two.

I'll be doing a lot of sod installations and lawn repairs following our extremely wet rainy season (mostly root rot & fungus and several lawns in St Augustine decline). If available, I'll be looking at all four cultivars and make a decision based on 1. availability 2. performance and 3. price.

Good luck with your installation :waving:

Keith
09-30-2011, 12:27 PM
I can't recommend Captiva. It's done ok in partial shade, but it has really struggled in my yard in full sun areas.

bugsNbows
09-30-2011, 05:13 PM
I'd also say Palmetto. Mind the chinch bug issues...we've got some resistant strains that can be difficult to get a handle on...sometimes.

fobaum
10-16-2011, 11:21 AM
Anybody have any expedience w/ sapphire SA? I personalty don't like palmetto it seems way more vulnerable to insect & fungus than flora tam or classic SA. I'm getting my first house Nov. 1st!! and i need to SOD the whole property about 10,000 sq ft. and i was thinking of using sapphire SA for the front yard..

Patriot Services
10-16-2011, 11:34 AM
Oddly enough the HD by me had Sapphire plugs and pieces. Looks nice, broad blades, dense and lower growing than other strains. I'm going to check with my suppliers tomorrow for cost and volume availability. I'm getting less impressed with Floratam for the reasons described. Too many yards with variable light and thinning in partial shade.
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jvanvliet
10-16-2011, 01:32 PM
Anybody have any expedience w/ sapphire SA? I personalty don't like palmetto it seems way more vulnerable to insect & fungus than flora tam or classic SA. I'm getting my first house Nov. 1st!! and i need to SOD the whole property about 10,000 sq ft. and i was thinking of using sapphire SA for the front yard..

There's no such thing as a cinch or fungus resistant strain of SA; Floratam is notoriously subject to infestation and disease, used to not be that way. All SA's are susceptible to a degree, some more than others, I'd put Floratam in the "more" class.

Palmetto actually stacks up well next to Sapphire.

http://www.bethelfarms.com/turf-sapphire.php

And you can get Sapphire @ Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart; hmmm...

Keith
10-16-2011, 08:32 PM
Anybody have any expedience w/ sapphire SA? I personalty don't like palmetto it seems way more vulnerable to insect & fungus than flora tam or classic SA. I'm getting my first house Nov. 1st!! and i need to SOD the whole property about 10,000 sq ft. and i was thinking of using sapphire SA for the front yard..

I put some Sapphire plugs in my back yard in a small area. I'm not impressed. But I have to even question if what I have is Sapphire. They are from Bethel, but I could have sworn that they claimed the stolons of Sapphire were purple. And what I have ain't purple.

Palmetto, you guys can have it. I tried it on several occasions and had lots of problems with it.

Captiva is chinch bug resistant, but not fungus, and webworm resistant. In the shade you may love it. In the sun, forget it.

Seville is a notorious thatch builder and can get terribly spongey in the sun. It wouldn't be a bad idea to roll it with a a sod roller every few months.

In the full sun, it's just really hard to beat old Floratam. It grows too fast, and does not have the prettiest shade of green during the summer, but it does what it is supposed to. And even though it is not resistant to chinch bugs now, it would be an absolutely terrible outbreak to lose more than 20% of the lawn if left completely untreated. I can't say that for other varieties. And it mostly grows out of any fungal problems.

Landscape Poet
10-16-2011, 08:41 PM
There's no such thing as a cinch or fungus resistant strain of SA; Floratam is notoriously subject to infestation and disease, used to not be that way. All SA's are susceptible to a degree, some more than others, I'd put Floratam in the "more" class.

Palmetto actually stacks up well next to Sapphire.

http://www.bethelfarms.com/turf-sapphire.php

And you can get Sapphire @ Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart; hmmm...

Floratam for all the faults people claim it has, does have the ability and has shown the deepest root depth of the SA cultivators if I remember a presentation put on by U of F last winter at the county extension.

The biggest factor other than shade tolarance for me other than the quality of the sod is will it match up with the existing lawn well. Palmetto tends to do that very well with Floratam, while offering better cold tolerance.

The biggest factor anyone should concern themselves with other than a quality install (properly removed the old/proper shade tolerance and environment)....is a quality L &O company that can address issues before they become issues and for those that do arise....they can be resolved quickly.

All the SA varieties I have used have the ability to be a attractive turf grass if properly managed ....... We can not stop the homeowners choice after install. If they fail to provide proper irrigation...the turf will not be a attractive lawn.......If they fail to provide nutrition and pest suppression......it will not be a attractive lawn......If they mow or hire someone to maintain and they cut it too short......they will not have a attractive lawn. If they do all the above properly...they will have a attractive lawn for as long as these procedures are kept in place. Remove one of them and they just increased the likely hood of their lawn experiencing some type of failure.

Hell even Bahia that most of us despise can be a very attractive turf ...if properly irrigated, nutrition and pest control provided, and maintained properly.

The choice of which turf cultivator of SA is important....but other than shade issues as.....I feel the other factors are much more important.

In Edit - there is not a '' miracle grass" unless you buy into someones marketing. There is good sod, proper nutrition and pest suppression, proper cultural and mechanic procedures including cutting and irrigation....that is what makes a miracle grass.

Landscape Poet
10-16-2011, 08:46 PM
Seville is a notorious thatch builder and can get terribly spongey in the sun. It wouldn't be a bad idea to roll it with a a sod roller every few months.


Or topdress with green sand or a quality compost....over watering and fertilization can lead to this from what I have heard too but I do not have documentation backing that up.

You have it about right on Floratam.

jvanvliet
10-17-2011, 06:49 AM
Floratam for all the faults people claim it has, does have the ability and has shown the deepest root depth of the SA cultivators if I remember a presentation put on by U of F last winter at the county extension.

The biggest factor other than shade tolarance for me other than the quality of the sod is will it match up with the existing lawn well. Palmetto tends to do that very well with Floratam, while offering better cold tolerance.

The biggest factor anyone should concern themselves with other than a quality install (properly removed the old/proper shade tolerance and environment)....is a quality L &O company that can address issues before they become issues and for those that do arise....they can be resolved quickly.

All the SA varieties I have used have the ability to be a attractive turf grass if properly managed ....... We can not stop the homeowners choice after install. If they fail to provide proper irrigation...the turf will not be a attractive lawn.......If they fail to provide nutrition and pest suppression......it will not be a attractive lawn......If they mow or hire someone to maintain and they cut it too short......they will not have a attractive lawn. If they do all the above properly...they will have a attractive lawn for as long as these procedures are kept in place. Remove one of them and they just increased the likely hood of their lawn experiencing some type of failure.

Hell even Bahia that most of us despise can be a very attractive turf ...if properly irrigated, nutrition and pest control provided, and maintained properly.

The choice of which turf cultivator of SA is important....but other than shade issues as.....I feel the other factors are much more important.

In Edit - there is not a '' miracle grass" unless you buy into someones marketing. There is good sod, proper nutrition and pest suppression, proper cultural and mechanic procedures including cutting and irrigation....that is what makes a miracle grass.

Agreed, mostly; I recall an extension presentation that mentions Palmetto as developing a deep and massive root system that results in a highly drought tolerant lawn, and as you said, the additional benefits are that it is tolerant to extreme temperatures and adapts well to a changing landscape environments such as maturing trees on the property and blending well with Floratam.

We are seeing extensive damage from pathogens in the Floratam lawns down here and, in my estimation, it offers no more resistance to cinch or fungus than Palmetto or Bitter Blue, but then I don't think I've ever seen any of our properties left untreated and so don't have first hand experience with the turf's ability to overcome and recover.

With the stress from fungus, and grubs on the way can cinch infestation be far behind? Here's where proper IPM is critical.

Can't say I know to much about Captiva other than what I've read, but I believe all would agree Seville is a limited application turf, ie shade or partial sun only.

As far as cultural and mechanical practices are concerned, I agree with you 100%. Any turf can make an attractive lawn with proper hydration, fertilizer, pest control and cutting, and so one might reasonably argue that turf selection is largly a matter of preference. (I like the feel & look of Palmetto and believe it holds up better to foot traffic). :drinkup:

rob7233
10-17-2011, 03:00 PM
"Agreed, mostly; I recall an extension presentation that mentions Palmetto as developing a deep and massive root system that results in a highly drought tolerant lawn, and as you said, the additional benefits are that it is tolerant to extreme temperatures and adapts well to a changing landscape environments such as maturing trees on the property and blending well with Floratam."

Regarding a massive root system lending to increased drought tolerance...
that is a touted claim promoted by Sod Solution which has not been backed up the U/F research findings. Field users have had increased claims of a variety of problems with the use with Palmetto. IMHO, after it's all said and done, Floratam still looks pretty good after all. Not saying it doesn't have issues but being proactive goes a long way. You just can't believe all the marketing.

Keith
10-17-2011, 03:21 PM
Agreed. Completely. I see Sod Solutions is now promoting Captiva. Confirms to me it's an "iffy" variety that needs promoting. I did not realize they were behind Sapphire as well. I would have never wasted my time with it.

jvanvliet
10-18-2011, 06:51 AM
Regarding a massive root system lending to increased drought tolerance...
that is a touted claim promoted by Sod Solution which has not been backed up the U/F research findings. Field users have had increased claims of a variety of problems with the use with Palmetto. IMHO, after it's all said and done, Floratam still looks pretty good after all. Not saying it doesn't have issues but being proactive goes a long way. You just can't believe all the marketing.

Thank you.

It's easy to get sucked into the hype especially when growers do the presentations. Here is the extensions take on the St. Augustine cultvars;

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh010

:drinkup:

rob7233
10-19-2011, 11:06 AM
ONE of the primary function of the Extension is to provide an outreach to homeowners for U/F, which is Florida's Land Grant University.

Sometimes, when the folks at UF need info to publish, they have to seek out other experts in the field for information. In this case, it was the grower or developer of this turfgrass since they had no research generated data of their own yet.

A good example was Floratam, the grower said it was shade tolerant but through UF research (and it took 5 years to do so) they later found out different. As a result of their own trials and many field reports, that Floratam is best used in full sun applications.

This is why when funding is available to do the research, UF often revises findings since the original, conventional wisdom was found to be incorrect.

Just yesterday, I was sitting in an Extension presentation where I could tell the presenter was not nearly familiar with the subject matter as I was. Everyone has different areas of interest they're into. Even the PhD.s at UF don't always have the answers or as up to date as you might expect. Also, you'll find plenty of outdated info on the net ie.,Chinch bug resistance of Floratam even from reputable sites.

Bottom line: Do your due diligence and educate yourself as much as you can.
The Bad news is: You'll never stop learning !

jvanvliet
10-19-2011, 07:06 PM
Good advice. I'm in the property maintenance business ten years and I've learned there is always something else to learn, and I'll never be to old to learn.

Gotta start somewhere, the extension is as good a place as any. I usually take the stuff with a little grain of salt specially when they have the manufacturers & producers making presentations.

Keith
10-19-2011, 10:27 PM
Anyone remember FX-10? The miracle St. Augustine. Resistant to chinch bugs, roots down about 4 feet. What a flop that was.

ArTurf
10-19-2011, 10:56 PM
Just wondering why it seems most in the Florida forum talk about St Aug and do not mention bermuda or zoysia near as often? Wouldn't these varieties do well with less problems than St Aug.

Florida Gardener
10-19-2011, 11:17 PM
Just wondering why it seems most in the Florida forum talk about St Aug and do not mention bermuda or zoysia near as often? Wouldn't these varieties do well with less problems than St Aug.

I have one property with Empire Zoysia and I have come to the conclusion that it is better than St. Aug. You can kill any weed that pops up, no chinch problems, becomes very dense. The one thing you have to be on top of is fungus, but 2/3 non-issues is a winner in my book.

Bermuda is another story......(if being maintained at low heights and if using a hybrid variety, which is what it is on the estates around here).

Florida Gardener
10-19-2011, 11:21 PM
I have one property with Empire Zoysia and I have come to the conclusion that it is better than St. Aug. You can kill any weed that pops up, no chinch problems, becomes very dense. The one thing you have to be on top of is fungus, but 2/3 non-issues is a winner in my book.

Bermuda is another story......(if being maintained at low heights and if using a hybrid variety, which is what it is on the estates around here).

I am actually starting to get sick of St. Aug. You can't kill CG and CG seems to pop up even if I am cutting high as heck. If you could kill CG in St. Aug, I prob wouldn't mind it as much, but that is a big drawback to me.

unkownfl
10-19-2011, 11:25 PM
Zoysia grows kinda slow so it would kill our profits... Besides that it's only nice 8-10 months out of the year. Its a N hog and it gets fungus pretty easy. Hates shade and so does Bermuda. We have this stupid thing that almost every property has to have 3 shade trees on a 60x100 plot with a 3000sqft home, 400 sqft of beds, and a 2 car drive way with a side walk across the front. Not much turf that isn't shaded especially when the houses are 15-25ft apart and fenced in so there is all kinds of shade. If its new construction sure there is plenty of sun for a few years but then you have issues with it. Bermuda has most of the same issues as above unless its common and then the HOA consider it a weed. It gets everywhere when the lots are so small. The lots are uneven and then builders would have to pay extra to have the lawns top dressed and it takes time when they build a home in 40 days they cut every corner they can. Almost all of our St Augustine stays green all 12 months.

Florida Gardener
10-19-2011, 11:32 PM
Zoysia grows kinda slow so it would kill our profits... Besides that it's only nice 8-10 months out of the year. Its a N hog and it gets fungus pretty easy. Hates shade and so does Bermuda. We have this stupid thing that almost every property has to have 3 shade trees on a 60x100 plot with a 3000sqft home, 400 sqft of beds, and a 2 car drive way with a side walk across the front. Not much turf that isn't shaded especially when the houses are 15-25ft apart and fenced in so there is all kinds of shade. If its new construction sure there is plenty of sun for a few years but then you have issues with it. Bermuda has most of the same issues as above unless its common and then the HOA consider it a weed. It gets everywhere when the lots are so small. The lots are uneven and then builders would have to pay extra to have the lawns top dressed and it takes time when they build a home in 40 days they cut every corner they can. Almost all of our St Augustine stays green all 12 months.

You should be feeding Zoysia with low amounts of N. Any grass type hates shade. Yea, you can use Palmetto in shade, but it will never be full and thick as if it were in full sun.

I wouldn't agree that St. Aug stays green all 12 months, especially after the last 3 winters.

St. Aug is a cheaper sod to use. But, it has its downsides just like everything else.

unkownfl
10-19-2011, 11:36 PM
You should be feeding Zoysia with low amounts of N. Any grass type hates shade. Yea, you can use Palmetto in shade, but it will never be full and thick as if it were in full sun.

I wouldn't agree that St. Aug stays green all 12 months, especially after the last 3 winters.

St. Aug is a cheaper sod to use. But, it has its downsides just like everything else.

I don't do any Fert but I have talked to people in the area and they said to please customers eyes they have to dump it on for it to be as green as st aug.
I use mostly bitter blue and it stayed green all winter last year especially the stuff in the neighbor hoods and under trees. The Floratam bit the dust for a month or so but I don't use that stuff often unless its a price thing. Another crappy thing is Zoysia is hard to get half the year it seems. If you can find it they want like $180-$200 a pallet

Landscape Poet
10-20-2011, 07:58 AM
I am actually starting to get sick of St. Aug. You can't kill CG and CG seems to pop up even if I am cutting high as heck. If you could kill CG in St. Aug, I prob wouldn't mind it as much, but that is a big drawback to me.

Tell your spray guys to try sodium bicarbonate Diamond...there is a mixture sold somewhere as one of the companies here uses it and treats CG.....I have not heard much on the result but Celsius is labeled for large southern CG....so there are options out there if the company really wants to address it. The issue why I think most do not address it is that the HO's do not really care as long as it is green.....they will hate it if we get another freeze and the CG leaves big holes in their lawn...then they will all be talking about how the freeze killed their lawn again:laugh:

Landscape Poet
10-20-2011, 09:16 PM
I don't do any Fert but I have talked to people in the area and they said to please customers eyes they have to dump it on for it to be as green as st aug.


Do these lawns experience brown patch significantly during the fall months more than say a zoysia lawn that does not have the N dumped on it?

I have seen companies or HO's doing the same thing with nailing it with fert here too....you drive by and it is a dark of green as the SA in the area. I am interested to see some and if they experience higher fungal issues.

unkownfl
10-20-2011, 10:47 PM
Do these lawns experience brown patch significantly during the fall months more than say a zoysia lawn that does not have the N dumped on it?

I have seen companies or HO's doing the same thing with nailing it with fert here too....you drive by and it is a dark of green as the SA in the area. I am interested to see some and if they experience higher fungal issues.

I haven't seen fungus really on any lawns I mow that massey dumps N on. Only problems I see now are shade issues causing really, really thinning of the zoysia. A few have Bermuda in spots but I doubt any customer would ever tell the difference between the two. Most think its the same grass as on the course, and they can't understand how the course stays green all year.... I bag most of my zoysia lawns by side discharging onto the side walk and driveway and then bag into plastic bags. Its hard to mulch in zoysia compared to the st aug. The back yard I discharge into a pile and pick up. I only do this when its raining a lot and I can't make it look good any other way.