I need some Advice, plz. "Emerald Zoysia"

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by shortgrass01, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. shortgrass01

    shortgrass01 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 160

    I have a customer with 20+k sq ft of Emerald Zoysia. I been walking this lawn for 3 years now, I began cutting it with a mclane reel mower
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    which the customer purchaced for his lawn, this machine doesnt do well at all on this type of lawn. It bumps along and snips and grabs,tears of the top of the grass and always out growing the previous cut by the following week. It leave the lawn burned and brown on top for a few days. In all fairness when this mclain is newly serviced it does great, but it doesnt take but a month before it back to the same ol lack luster, burning up the belt, burning the bbed knife up becuase it is cramped down too tight to make it cut that tuff-tuff Emerald Zoysia. In the spring it does great when the grass doesnt grow fast.

    I cut this lawn weekly in growing season.

    Last year I mowed with my honda 21 inch, and it does great it kept its color and lasted long enough before the next week cut. The honda wanted to gouge below 2in in areas that arent dead flat. The mclane just rode over the lawn and wasnt heavy enough to stay down into the lawn.

    unlike with the mclane, it never was able to cut enough and the only way was to double cut back to back days.

    My current problem is with my honda; the track marks left behind were ugly, seeing as I was cutting at 2.5in lawn is just bulky and left tracks. I cant cut this lawn low enough to the ground so the tracks wont appear. If I can get a good start and get it lowered before the summer it stands a chance of staying low. It is just so thick and springy it just holds up the weight of the mower..leaving the tracks behind, even though I turn 90' every time I cut. so it looks like a checker board, but with one inch tracks left as a depression in the lawn.

    Customer is a one I dont want to lose, But I dont know any way to make his lawn look like a fairway, as he wants without cutting 2 times a week?
    He puts out his own application and he loads it up! and waters like mad. so it grows like mad.
    I have told him we had to stop all this feeding the lawn, that it is out growing the cuts.

    So I am here looking for advice, on Emerald Zoysia in the south. How to mow it inside 2 inches? My main problem is the tracks my honda imprints into the lawn. Is the only soultion to mow twice a week to keep it low-low, Id have to almost double his bill ??!

    Thank you

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  2. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    couple things come to mind. If he wants it to look like a "fairway" it will have to be maintained like one and that means cutting more than once a week in season and cutting at a lower height. Also the sponge like aspect of the lawn may mean you have a lot of thatch, which is common in zoyzia. If there is excessive thatch verticut it in the spring or anytime it is actively growing for that matter. Adjust your water and fert to minimize the thatch. Blindly throwing ideas out there without me being on the property in person but it's a start.
     
  3. shortgrass01

    shortgrass01 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 160

    Thanks for responding: Never been dethatched, and core areating just makes it grow faster and springs up weeds(nutsedge)

    He doesnt want his yard tore up, " Eye Candy " and if it isnt done a regular basis, it just out grows what you do to it.
    Aye, I will show a couple pictures and see if I can get some more helpful advice.
    Here are a couple pictures, when I cut it with the mclane and a overhead view.

    these dont show the tracks of the honda push mower, but just for this post is it realistic to try to mow closer?

    PICT0009.jpg

    Zoysia.jpg

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    Zoysia.jpg
     
  4. shortgrass01

    shortgrass01 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 160

    I am getting about 100. per visit, as of last year and all I did was mow. I get to ride the front, which is Bermuda mix, and the back and side I have to walk and clean up and edge dumped endless amounts of grass. 10 CUFT wheelbarrow, gets dumped 6 times on a summer cut.
    before last year and the down turn, I was getting 125. per visit, but I was doing edging and weed eating, more gleamed the debris and blow cleaned more often. Lat year we tried to lower the bill, to save cost. his yard when down hill a bit because he was to pick up after me and didn't have time like he planed. So he wants to improve the over last year and back to the look of when I first started. I really hate the mclane to be honest, it is a toy compared to my professional knowledge of tuff equipment. Even then, professional equipment wouldn't handle this with much up keep.

    so where is the realistic balance for a residential emerald zoysia lawn of 20+k sq ft of junk?
    ps, before you balk at the price I'm getting, I get a years worth of work and many add on's for extra income. Each visit last about 2 to 3 hrs.

    I'm just trying to keep a good customer; a good customer. so if you have any experiences with Emerald Zoysia I could use some extra insight.

    thank you
     
  5. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,436

    To solve these problems you will need to change the cultural practices.

    From what you stated the customer is over watering and fertilizing the grass which is causing excessive top growth and is not healthy in the long run. Zoysia is not naturally a fast growing grass like bermuda. You need to obtain the knowledge or find someone for proper fertilization/watering.

    Zoysia does benefit from core aeration since it becomes very dense over time. The aeration is not causing the nutsedge it is most likely the excessive watering. If nutsedge is a problem bring in a knowledgeable person to take care of it. The excessive growth is most likely due an excessive amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer.

    If tire tracks are an issue consider a mower with a striper. If he likes the golf course look this should be right up his alley. You will have to move up from the 21" and it seems you need to if it takes you 2-3 hours at $100 for 20,000 sq ft.

    I would not cut below 2.5" nor would I bag the clippings, they are beneficial to the lawn. I use mulch kits on my nice lawns and the clippings are not noticeable.
     
  6. shortgrass01

    shortgrass01 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 160



    Thanks for your reply:
    allow me to be argumentative with you a sec.

    a striper in my opinion with do nothing more that add weight to what I am already pushing. lol
    I use blades on my Honda that are steak knife sharp when I enter his lawn. The clipping lay on top of his grass like static cling, I cant hardly blow them into the sod. It never looks clean at all when I am done, if i dont bag while mowing.. The clippings have to be collected or it would be cowody ugly if i didnt..
    I have to ask you, Have you ever maintained a Emerald Zoysia Lawn? seriously..no offence..
    Maybe if I hooked up a double blade deal under my honda, maybe it would purify the clippings.. but even then they wouldn't blend in the sod.
    the grain is so tight, it is like walking on marbles. In the picture above it is cut at just under 2 inches if I remember right. Last year we went to 2.5-3 inches. The gain just grows up higher and pulling it back down is next to impossible while it is growing. This year before it start to green up, I am yanking it down to the ground. That should produce about 200 cuyards of dead clippings.. Yeah, yuk..

    But When I say it out grows my cuts, yeah it grows fast! 3 days later it needs cutting again if it is cut short under 2 inches it really shows! I noticed last year bring up the height that it didn't out grow my cut near as fast. Weather it due to sharp blades keeping it from going into growth mode, vs the damage tearing of the real mower leaving behind a burned top, I don't know. I think it has a height it likes to grow at and cutting just below that keeps it from over growing.

    I agree about the sedge, and watering.. but the nodes are still under the sod as this is a new lawn of about 5 years. when it is aerated the sedges crops in places once there was none. Bad bad problem here in this area.


    If tire tracks are an issue consider a mower with a striper. If he likes the golf course look this should be right up his alley. You will have to move up from the 21" and it seems you need to if it takes you 2-3 hours at $100 for 20,000 sq ft.

    Zoysia wont stripe when cut low to start with, you see a stripe hours after your done, but the next day its gone! Id have to drag that top dresser you use behind my machine to get it to stripe, lol true story!

    you see the picture above, that was taken just after I cut in the summer. I cut it with the reel mower at its best, tuned up and freshly balanced.

    What is a move up from a 21'?? Do you mean a bigger stronger mower? I hate to buy a piece of equipment for one problem yard.. ugh

    My plan is to stop him from putting out applications and allow me to monitor the watering times.. He's the type, he will just hit the manual button on the water when I am gone. He wants a dark green lawn when Emerald doesn't get the same color as Bermuda. so he loads it up, for it to only eat through it in a few weeks.

    If I was completely in charge it would look like a fairway... but it wont come easy and it wont be cheep. IMO

    thank you
     
  7. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,898

    I would tell your customer that his Emerald zoysia only needs fertilizer twice a year per SC Extension office. I use 24-2-11 with 6%iron on Zoysia. Works wonderful. One inch of water per week is plenty. Tell him to do do a half-inch watering twice a week. This is actually more beneficial than doing a third-inch watering three times per week. When it comes down to mowing, the argument is simple: mow twice per week regardless of mower, or use plant growth regulator on his lawn.
     
  8. shortgrass01

    shortgrass01 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 160


    0 I have done hinted about Growth Regulators, Thank you for lending me your exsperince here.. my 4th year walking this lawn and by far my hardest lawn to manage. he switches direction on his ideas as to how he wants it kept.. so, I am doing my best to keep him a good customer..
     
  9. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,436

    Growth regulators should not be necessary as Zoysia in not a naturally fast growing grass. Once again if you correct the basic cultural practices you should be on track. Once a week mowing should not be a problem. As far as the striping goes, even if it did not stay for very long it would cancel out the tire tracks which is what you are trying to do. A mulch kit on a good commercial mower does not leave visible clippings under normal conditions.

    The equipment upgrade I was suggesting would be something along the lines of a commercial grade walk behind. Maybe get something you could use on different properties along with this one. If you have been doing this for 4 years it might be worth it if you could do it in half or less time. It would justify itself in time savings over the long run.

    Suggestion: Gather info on proper watering/fertilization, etc and have him read it. You may need to be more assertive in getting these thoughts across.
     
  10. shortgrass01

    shortgrass01 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Posts: 160

    I have to bring to your attention; for future knowledge. In my search of a solution I read; Emerald is hybrid that grows faster than the rest of the other zoysia. This information isn't easy to find, Emerald Zoysia is different in the growth rate. I can my quote my source if needed..

    I've had many conversation with this customer and he is aware of all the options but he is a lawn fanatic and I think he is feeling buyers remorse for getting the Emerald.
    Someone he trusted talked him into getting is because it was suppose to be the Cadillac of lawn grasses, which is a right out LIE.
    zenith zoysia or Meyer zoysia and maybe empire zoysia are the best of the Zoysia here in the South in my opinion.
    My favorite is the Tifway Bermuda's, by far the best grass in the ever in non-shady area's.

    Mowers, Yes He needs an hydraulic mow for sure, but most of them come in 42/48' wide and very difficult to get inside gates. I Bought a second hand exmart walk behind, nice machine but found my self using it as a brush hog because I couldn't get it in the back yards. I sold it before I tore it up.

    Edit: Maybe a stronger honda motor than what i have, but I dont need it as a rotorary mower.. Sharp blades is all you need. I have even cut his lawn with my lowes mower with sharp blades. Although with a wider mower, double cuts wouldnt take up much xtra time.

    I think I am just going to load him up with extra cuts... until get gets his head screwed on straight. I really feel if I could be in control of the cultural practices I could have it the way he wants it. I just Hate it when someone pays me more than they are paying for there house payment per month. :dizzy:

    Thank for your time Arturf
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010

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