Need help. Getting rid of zoysia and replacing with...

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by GrassGuy309, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. GrassGuy309

    GrassGuy309 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I have a new client interested in removing all the zoysia grass from their lawn and replacing it with a more desirable turf grass. I live in Indiana so typically we go with cool season grasses. It is a house in a subdivision built in a golf course. It is well irrigated and has very steep hills.

    First off, how do I get rid of the zoysia?
    Second, what kind of grass do I replace it with?
    Third, sod or seed?
  2. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    I am about to do something similar and had the same question and surprisingly there wasn't much help from this site.

    For Terre Haute (I used to live just south of there) you will want cool season grasses such as tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, or perennial ryegrass or a mix of them. A commonly used mix is tall fescue and kbg. To find out what cultivars perform the best in Indiana, take a look at the NTEP website. They grow and evaluate different species of turfgrasses all over the country.

    Your seed supplier or local univ. extension should be able to recommend the best mixes or blends for your area. For my area TN/KY border, I know the best tall fescues were LS1200, Bullseye, and Faith. They were some of the best performers overall in the nation and probably done well in IN also. I'm not really up on the KBG cultivars but I hear Midnight mentioned alot as one of the best performers.

    As far as killing off the existing lawn and re-seeding, here is some info I dug up from another site...

    The best time to sow cool season grass seed is in September. Planting grass in the spring doesn't allow enough time for the tender roots to grow deep enough to survive the summer heat and drought. Consider putting up with what you currently have and make plans for the fall.

    In planning for fall, I'd suggest a spring application of lime right now (20#/1000). Buy your grass seed mid summer. Check out John Deere Landscape for premium fescue. They always sell the leading seed varieties.

    I have the best results on a "junky" lawn when I kill everything off first. By September your weeds will be mature, so up the concentration of Roundup a bit. Make sure you don't spray Roundup during or immediately after a long dry spell because the plants won't take their "medicine" very well. Wait until you've had a bit of rain and things are doing well before you spray. Wait at least 7 days to see if you got everything, and if not, re-apply the Roundup.

    About 3-4 days after the last application of Roundup is when you can begin renovation. I would apply your grass seed at the rate of 8#-10# per 1,000 sq. ft. That is a high rate, but you are going to a lot of work so I feel it's a good hedge. Then apply your starter fertilizer (18-24-12) as per package recommendations along with lime at 20# per 1,000 sq. ft.

    Lastly I would aerate. On jobs like yours I would use my tow-behind aerator because it is a little more aggressive than the walk-behind ones. Translation... I'd tear up the place with the aerator. If it looks bad after you are finished, you've done it right.

    If you have large areas of open dirt, you could cover it with straw. Just remember that straw has lots of weed seeds and they will happily come up along with your premium grass seed. If you could cover the bare spots with another choice, say a thin (1/4" - 1/2") layer of mushroom compost, you'd be better off.

    Now all you need is rain and time. When the grass is tall enough (4"+) to mow, then mow it at 3.5" high. Thirty days from seeding (01-Oct) I'd apply another round of high nitrogen fertilizer at the rate of no less than 1# of N (nitrogen) per 1,000 sq. ft. If it is still warm by the middle of November I'd give it a second app. of high nitrogen fertilizer (32-3-4). It should stay nice and green all winter. In the spring you'll have the greenest lawn on the block. Just be sure to plan on a 5-step fertilizer program and you should be fine.
  3. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    Sod cutter and you will need cut it deep to remove the zoysia grass
    Or you wait till greens up then spray roundup on it then drill seed in.
    Or after roundup till the lawn up re seed the lawn or sod it
    What ever grass works well in your area Myself I'm a fan of turf fescue
  4. GrassGuy309

    GrassGuy309 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I've been reading a lot about killing zoysia and people are saying that it's nearly impossible. That even after 3 bouts with roundup it can still come back. I'm not sure how much of an option tilling would be because of the irrigation system. I usually use a fescue blend around here but most of the yards I am called to work in are average typically. This new job is immaculate and in a very private subdivision. Really needing to prove ourselves here to hopefully pick up some new dr. and lawyer clients.
  5. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    I did a lawn last year was 40k I sprayed it one time with a strong mix. The lawn has a irrigation system was pain working around the heads.
    I ran tractor rear tiller at a idle and chunk the zoysia grass out. Then went in removed it with a Skid steer the chunks
    So far haven't seen any zoysia coming back this year. I'll be first to see it since I maintain the grounds.
    Did same thing to one yesterday but in this case couldn't spray it So I remove about 6''- 8'' of soil and Zoysia sod, I will haul in new top soil. The Zoysia grass is still in dormant stage.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Don't do it, especially in spring. You mentioned steep hills, a problematical factor.
    Potentially you could kill zoysia with glyphosate, Strip it with a sod cutter, resod with Kentucky bluegrass.

    If it is steep, the sod removal with a machine will be tricky. And the labor to pick up sod rolls with wheelbarrow will be high. The new sod will have to have wooden stakes to keep it from sliding down hill during rain.
    If you try to seed--you may have soil erosion during heavy rains.

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