Originally Posted by Greg Amann
Our experience with Ultimateflora on sandy soils in central Florida has been awful.
In the four years we have been watching it, it never develops a thick vertical root system. In full sun it constantly exhibits drought stress.
I am seeing where sod companies sold a customer "Empire". When in fact the growth habits even as long as 4 years later make me think it is "Ultimateflora". In the Villages I have seen them side by side and there is a distinced difference.
We treat both Empire lawns and Ultimateflora. We have Empire that is cut at about 3/4 of an inch and all the clippings are removed. It looks like a golf green. Three houses down the street we have one that is cut at about 3 inches and it is fluffy but beautiful.
We warn the people when we pickup a yard that we feel is Ultimateflora. It is usually someone who has resodded in the last 4 years and has already tried at least 2 other companies.
We are starting to see Jamur show up here. I like the color the best of all the local zoysias. It is more of a blue/green. So far, drought resistence and spring green up look good on it.
I picked up my first UltimateFlora Zoysia lawn this week. The chemical company that treats it is a good company, has lots of experience in handling zoysia very well, better than most IMHO.
The lawn as a whole has some serious issues...many of which exhibit what Greg stated. In full sun it appeared that it was in drought stress. Did not appear to be recovering from Brown patch incurred in winter where as Empire or even St. Augustine would no longer have any signs of BP if properly managed this far into the season.
The root system is also as Greg has described. The chemical company had take a plug out in two locations to inspect. Upon listening to the tech for the company explain it sounds like one area it was almost as if the lawn had never really grabbed. The other area the roots where reported to be less than a inch deep (this was the better of the two).
I will report that on this lawn, it does appear that the Ultimate is doing much better than Empire would in full shade. Although not really thick, the property does have a acceptable stand under a large tree which provides dense shade. Dense enough shade that if I was being called for SA installation I would of recommend Seville or at least Palmetto.
We will be reel cutting the lawn so I am hopeful that we can get it to be much denser by doing so, however it does concern me on the root system being so lackluster. The home owner has stated that they would be open to replacing the areas in full to good sun with empire if all else fails which may be ultimately the best solution but I refuse to suggest that until all other attempts have been made to save the existing turf.
The chemical tech and myself spread a 40 lb bag of sand in one of the week areas to see if it helps density at all. Irrigation audit was done and it appears that coverage is good to very good in areas where the ultimate flora "appears" to be in drought stress.