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Dying Zoysia lawn- Replace popup sprinkler heads or Mow to Thatch level??

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by bigtexaus, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. bigtexaus

    bigtexaus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2


    Our lawn is dying/dead. Very brown. We have a hunter system with 40+ pop up heads but our ZOYSIA grass is about 2" think and the heads do not clear the grass and therefore are not spraying effectively.

    Should I replace all heads with much taller heads (Say 4" pop ups) or mow shorter? The zoysia only has like 1/2" of green at the top so the places where I weedeatered to 1" high left brown dead thatch and no green blades... so I am afraid to cut too short and kill the grass.


  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,000

    This is a common problem in my area. The lawn has been kept way too thick. I recommend cutting the lawn way down, as in 1/2". This is what happens when zoysia is not kept at less than 1" by mowing with a heavy duty reel mower. You will not kill the grass by cutting it low. Provided the lawn is watered(no problem, you have irrigation) and fertilized after being cut that low, it will regrow in a month to a very dense, attractive turf.
  3. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    That is unusual, as in Arkansas, we put in 8 inch pgp's or the 1800 series in turf on swing arms so the heads don't freeze in the winter. The zoysia turf here is kept at 2-3 inches and we scalp it back in the spring before green up or dethatch. Some regions can keep their zoysia cut lower as the growing seasons are longer, but we keep them at 2-3 inches until fall.
    GreenDoctor gave you excellent advice by cutting it short enough to match the lower sprinkler heads. I wouldn't redo the heads as the cost will be more than cutting lower and fertilizing, unless you do this yourself. Most times, to change the heads, you are going to have to change out the adapters from 1/2 inch to 3/4 on some heads. This will be costly and labor intensive! After you do this, give the lawn 1/2 lb of nitrogen per 1,000 sq.ft. and or some 33/0/0. The heat is on so instead of applying 3 lb. per K, then apply 1.5 lbs. per K. Make sure that water is on if you aren't restricted in your area. Ammonium Sulfate at 2 lb. per K wouldn't hurt either to keep it greener. The rates above are at 1/2 lb. rates for zoysia grasses.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    We keep our zoysia lawns around 3 inches or more here too. Any shorter they look like crap. Any longer they look like crap.

    All in all I really dont care for the grass type. Whoever sodded this lawn 3 years ago didnt get it completly flat which makes matters worse. It is green tho and looks attractive especially from a distance. We did the fert at green up and it helped alot. It needs another half rate app now but it has been way too hot out for me to feel comfy doing it. Any one with experience dropping fert when the heat index is 100 plus on zoysia ?
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,000

    With the heat and humidity most months of the year here, I am probably fertilizing zoysia at times when it will kill it. First of all, fertilizer is only applied to grass that has been receiving at least 1" of water per week. After application, it is watered in immediately. No irrigation? I do not touch lawns that are not irrigated. The other thing is that zoysia lawns are reel mower cut here. I hate what a lawn looks like when it is cut with a rotary mower. The fertilizer program I use on zoysia is 3/4 lb N per month of growing season, 1/4 lb K per month, P if indicated by soil test and lots of micronutrients. When a lawn has been cut down because it was improperly mowed previously, my program is 1/2 lb of N, P and K on the initial application. 1/2 lb N , 1/4 lb K on the 14 day follow up. No irrigation? Forget it.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009

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