Zoysia installation, maintenance

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by lilmarvin4064, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    I'm considering getting into growing some Zoysia lawns. I know my cool-season stuff, but I'm still learning about the warm season stuff. I hear that most people sprig the zoysia, but it seems easier to find zoysia seed around here. Does anyone have experience with either method of planting?

    I'm in Zone 7.
    This is what I'm thinking off, tell me if I'm way off...
    Core aerate and/or slice seed in May, add a higher P fert (starter) 18-24-12 or 10-10-10, 20-10-10 etc.

    Do I need a pre-emergent? if so what is the best one for zoysia? I usually use dimension on fescue.

    Apply 14-0-14 or 19-0-19 or similar fertilizers throughout summer, preferably ammonium sulfate, and potassium sulfate?

    taper off the nitrogen a month or so to prepare the turf for dormancy.

    Do you get good results with overseeding dormant zoysia with ryegrass? Or would improved bermuda be a better choice? Or I could always just paint the turf green for winter.

    Any thoughts or suggestions from you warm season guys?
  2. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    I'm not a pro, but I am right in the middle of creating a zoysia lawn, so I'll pass along what I have learned over the last year.

    Seeding is far less expensive then sprigs, plugs, or sod. But, sowing zoysia is not in the least like sowing anything else. From the stand point of doing it for someone else, I think you could be creating a customer service nightmare. It comes up SLOWWWWW. While it is often praised for its drought tolerance, I have discovered it won't spread well until you really lay the water to it. Your customer has got to really want a zoysia yard, and has to be committed to nurturing it for the first two years of its life.

    What I have read from the seed companies as well as the sprig and plug companies is that you always want to use a balanced fertilizer, never fertilize in the spring until the grass breaks dormancy, and fertilize less often than you would for cool season grass.

    I was very disheartened this Spring. I planted the Companion Zoysia seed the end of July last year. When it went dormant in early November, the coverage was barely 50%, so all winter we looked at bare dirt and brown grass. I was just about ready to hit it with RoundUp and plant TTTF. But since I had almost 900 dollars worth of seed on 3/4 of an acre, I decided to give it another year. Before it broke dormancy, I hit it with crabgrass pre-emergent w/o fertilizer. The crabgrass was a serious problem the previous late summer/early fall. I treated my clay/rocky top soil with "LazyMan" clay buster. I had a lot of volunteer clumping fescue. I should have hit it with RoundUp while the zoysia was still dormant, but I didn't get it done. As it was just starting to green up, I used Bayer's Revolver, which kills fescue, but now WSG's. It had fully broken dormancy by mid-May. In early June, I core aerated and top dressed with 1/4 inch of compost and 1/8 inch of sharp sand. Then I applied slow release 12-12-12. I am watering twice a day, which some would argue is too much and that I am not promoting deep root growth. In my opinion I need root growth period. I'll worry about "deep" root growth once I have complete coverage.

    With all the nurturing, the lawn really took off. My coverage now is about 90% and it feels like the most expensive carpet you've ever walked on. But, there is absolutely no thatch, just very dense packed healthy green blades.

    I am a half zone north of you (6b), and I plan to core aerate and top dress again before the end of the month.

    From what I have read, the only thing you want to inter-seed with is turf type tall fescue, and then only after the zoysia is well established (3 or 4 years). I would not inter-seed with any other WSG (ie: no bermuda).

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