Empire Zoysia 1.5" with Tru-cut

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by Florida Gardener, May 22, 2012.

  1. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Most of the time is is a price issue because not everyone is blessed with slow growing turf like Hawaii

    There is no way to cut low in southern lower 48 unless you use Primo or cut twice a week or more.

    Cut frequency = (mowing height /2) / growth rate in inches. You can use a little simple algebra and determine the cut height based on weekly mowing. We typically assume 1/4" per day but it is likely 3/16ths from May through Sept when a good fertilization and irrigation program.Excessive irrigation and water will push the growth more.
     
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    How true. There is no way I would suggest keeping zoysia at 1/2" in the lower 48. 1" or 11/2" would be doable because you're not taking off too much at once. There are some lawns that I hit with Primo Max because the soil is better than average and the client does not mind watering. In most cases, I am under pressure to keep the lawn as dry as possible without killing it. Water is expensive here.
     
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    There is also the fallacy that short grass uses more water. Bigger blade uses more water. I have that beat into my head in Irrigation Audit school. I know it is not what most of us are taught. Water frequency has more to do with root depth. Primo directs plant energy to the roots.

    I like to rely more on XXtra Iron and nitrogen fixing biologicals for color. I feed on the bottom end of the nitrogen recommendations of 3 pounds per year.

    Disclaimer, I am more experianced with Bermuda not Zoysia so I am comparing notes and hoping to learn something.
     
  4. There are plenty of homes around here that get cut 2x/week and kept at .5-.75". I'm not saying its a majority, but it's not scarce.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    That is fantastic, you have educated homeowners with money. People say reel cutting is more expensive. Is that really the case or is it the fact to keep it cut low you have to cut twice a week.

    In reality, when the muching mowers first came out, the recommendation was to mow twice a week. Few did it, they just raised the mowers.

    St Augustine takes a bad rap for being more water intensive but you can mow it less frequently, and keep it higher.

    It is a trade off.
     
  6. It's the cost of maintenance which costs more to run them. I double the cost if I have to use my reel. So a $25 lawn is now a $50 lawn. If I have to cut twice a week b/c it needs to be kept at <1", it is just a $50 lawn 2x/week.

    Like I said before, you CAN cut empire with a SHARP rotary, but it should be kept at 1.5-2". Most 21" mowers will leave a sloppy cut at 1.5", so that may not be acceptable.

    Unless the homeowner is really picky, St. Augustine should not need to be cut more than 1x/week, and this is coming from someone who lives in rainland in the summer. Floratam should be kept at 4"+, so if you are cutting lower than that, you are doing a major disservice. Dwarf varieties can be cut shorter, but again, no need for 2x/week. If it does really need that, there is too much water(from the system on top of rain) and nitrogen being put down. Which is usually from a dumb homeowner.
     
  7. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    Too much N, as in more than 1/2 lb per month of growing season just causes problems in zoysia unless the grass needs it to maintain growth. My N rates are variable according to the site. If I do not need high N to maintain color and growth, I do not use it. My soils must be just bad for growing grass because even with constant irrigation, there are many sites where the grass does not grow more than 3/4" in 14 days unless I am fertilizing. Otherwise, my color comes from chelated micronutrients and the non fertilizer biostimulants as is used on golf greens. This is yet another reason for going to all liquids. I would have to keep 5 or more analysis and hope that one of them fits the site conditions. Urea is notorious for pushing lots of soft, drought prone top growth. My preference is for ammonium nitrogen, specifically ammonium sulfate. Grass gets greener on lower total N with that.

    I also notice that correctly mowed st augustine is a real water conserver. If I have zoysia and st augustine in the same neighborhood and on the same soil. Zoysia wilts first if it is dry or hot. If people would stop doing things backazzwards and mow zoysia low, st augustine high, things would be great.
     
  8. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    Which is why the mowing prices I get are not comparable to the lower 48. Apples to oranges are being compared. $50 a cut sounds in line with what I see for lawns under 2,500 sq ft.
     
  9. Totally agree. I use that same logic(cutting St. Aug high) with freezes. The guys cutting lower than what they should would have crappy looking St. Aug for weeks. The places that get cut high bounce back right away. Obviously, if we have freeze after freeze, not the case. But if it's just one freeze, what I said has worked for me.
     
  10. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Urea is super cheap and it does not produce good color in my book. Having said that, I do use it at low rates as we discussed here and there.
     

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