Late Zoysia Sodding and First Florida Freeze

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by vivona, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. vivona

    vivona LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I live in Central Florida. I had my entire yard cleared of turf in October. The contractor was to install new Jamur Zoysia the next day, but he skipped town for reasons unknown. After two weeks of trying to find him, I had to finish the job with another contractor. That delay resulted in my new lawn being laid on November 22nd.

    The Jamur Zoysia has been down for three weeks and has received 1/3 of an inch of water every day. It looks nice and green and is beginning to root down. Most sod pieces do not pull up.

    Now comes the problem. It will be in the low 30s overnight most days this coming week, with Tuesday forecasted at 28 degrees. Daytimes are in the 50s and 60s.

    Is it likely the turf will be damaged by the cold? Is there anything I can do, within reason, to prevent damage?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,800

    Take it with a grain of salt--I am from Michigan--can you irrigate a few minutes, every hour, over night? You need a very flexible irrigation controller. What temp is your city water? Suppose it is 60 degrees.(Our water here is about 45). That would help. And if it freezes it will protect the grass like in the strawberry fields, in Plant City. I am not sure if a tarp or a thermal pool cover or both would help. With a cover there is a risk of overheating or of carbon dioxide build up during a sunny day. Fungus is a possibility. Best to remove tarp if temp gets above 45.

    I suspect the zoysia will turn brown and recover if a few weeks, if nothing is done.
    Local advice is always better. Let us know what happens.
  3. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 595

    Don't they do that in orange groves down there? Seems like a good idea.
    Even better idea

    Yes, let us know!
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,800

    I am a few hours late--but do you happen to have an electric blanket? Lay it on the grass and the gentle heat will ooze out from the blanket under your tarps. Electric blankets usually have several thermostats to protect from overheating, to make them safe to use. They are usually washable too.

    But of course you live in Florida--why would anyone need an electric blanket in the Sunshine State?
    Tell us what it looks like in the morning. Thanks.
  5. vivona

    vivona LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I should mention that I am talking about 5,200 sq ft of turf. I had given thought to buying large tarps and covering the lawn. It would have cost about $500, plus stakes, and a lot of work. I don't know how effective it would have been, though. Plastic tarps aren't much of an insulator. As to electric blankets . . . that would certainly help, but I don't want to think about costs for that. :)

    My sod supplier recommended irrigating the lawn at 5AM which would be when the temperature would be just before its lowest point of 25 degrees. We have a lot of shrubs covered with sheets that would be watered along with the lawn, and I don't know if it would be good to get them wet. I don't see me getting up at 5AM to pull the sheets off so I can water the lawn, but I may try that around 8AM.
  6. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 595

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  7. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,506

    Electric blankets!?! You crazy northern guys. It already took root. Don't water it. It may or may not go dormant but it will be fine. Regular water schedule once a week. We just had rain so you are good. It may yellow, but it will come back when temps come up. Zoysia is forever.

    P.s. grass is not a fruit so forget the freezing spray thing.
  8. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    I would agree with Patriot on this....regular watering schedule is fine if it has taken root. If it has not then watering in the early morning would be my best solution to get it back up to temp. With as prone as zoysia is down here to Brown Patch that offers its own issues too.

    I would not recommend water early at night - again fungus issues but also as Patriot said, it is not a fruit, and you could do more damage I think by keeping the leaf moist and wet and then it freezing then if you would allow it to dry out during the day, freeze and then bring it back up to temp.

    I am not sure about the electric blanket idea - it is cold down here - keep that for yourself! If you have extra Christmas lights - that would be a option that would help - be have done that with several of our shrubs with great success.

    Good luck -
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,800

    Well what happend so far, Vivona? I would expect that for any bushes you have covered in sheets or cloth covers--it would not hurt to get them wet. Go ahead and irrigate. Ten minutes three times per night would probably work. Did you determine the temp of your water? Is it well water? River water? Can you use your hot water faucet? Night watering should not cause any fungus problems at those low temps, (with the possible exception of snow mold.)

    Do you have a helicopter? LOL!

    I am not familiar with Florida conditions, but Mike's idea of using Christmas lights is a possibility. Go take the lights off your palm trees and lay them out on your lawn in a triangle shape--sort of like a huge 5000 sq ft flat Christmas tree. Cover with Visqueen if you want to be sure. Blow some warm air under there with your daughters hair dryer. Just throwing out some ideas. Cold won't kill zoysia. Maybe you will have a green Christmas tree shape in your yard.
  10. vivona

    vivona LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Monday night it went down to 25. On Tuesday I watered about 1/4" of water during the day. The second night it went down to 30. The grass is still green, but shows a little bit of browning in areas. I suspect that it wasn't damaged, though freeze damage usually takes a few days to show up.

    My sprinkler system uses city water which is normally about 75 degrees, but it would be much colder on a cold night and probably reach ambient by the time it hits the ground. I didn't want to irrigate during the freezing temperatures because that might subject the sprayheads to icing up. I have read that having the grass moist before the temperature drops helps prevent damage from the drying out effect of the cold.

    It is interesting that many of the Floratam lawns in the neighborhood are already brown, but my Zoysia lawn is still predominately green.

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