Thomas J. Koske | 4/22/2005 12:46:53 AM
Zoysiagrass can make the most beautiful green to dark-green lawns, but it also can be a big problem. It is considered high maintenance turf, according to LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske.
Zoysiagrass is a warm-season grass that came from eastern Asia. From a distance it resembles bermudagrass with a seedhead similar to that of centipedegrass. Like bermuda, it can have good salt tolerance, but will exhibit fair to good shade tolerance as well. Zoysia lawns have fair to excellent freeze tolerance, but usually go strongly dormant-tan all winter.
The best cultivars are from vegetative stock. These are sodded, plugged, stolonized or sprigged. Plugging and some sprigging may require two years of growing because of the slow growth of many older cultivars. Most zoysia lawns are solid sodded.
Several species of Zoysia are turfgrasses, but we use only the japonica and matrella species here and in most places, Koske says.
Seeded japonica cultivars include Compatibility, Companion, Zenith, Zen, Sunrise, Park Place, Korean Common. They produce good quality but not great quality lawns, according to the horticulturist.
Vegetative japonicas include the old Meyer Z52 (Amazoy miracle grass) and the more improved El Toro, Crowne, Empire, GN-Z, Palisades, Belaire, JaMur, Empress, Omni, Y-2, Midwest and others.
Vegetative matrella types, which are medium-fine to fine bladed, are Matrella, Diamond, Cavalier, Zorro Blade and Cashmere.
There are also interspecific zoysia hybrids with fine texture. These hybrids are Emerald, DeAnza, Victoria and Zeon.
Zoysia breeding goes on at several agricultural experiment stations in the United States, and selection is still occurring from Asia.
Zoysias produce thick, uniform lawns of tough grass. This tough, thick growth requires sharp mower blades and a thatch reduction program. Thus, the maintenance on a zoysias lawn can be medium-high to high.
Zoysias can have billbug problems and several diseases like nematodes, rust and brown patch. Damage from pests or general wear is slow to occur because of its slow growth and shallow roots.
Fertility for fill-in growth is medium-high, but on mature sod, it should be more like that of centipedegrass to avoid excessive thatch. Zoysia does, however, prefer a soil that is only slightly acid with a pH of 6-7. Apply a total of 1.5 pounds to 2.5 pounds N and K2O per 1,000 square feet per season applied as a split application (spring and late summer). The extra potassium is important to zoysia.
As with all lawns, Koske says you should mow when the foliage has grown back 50 percent. Mowing heights run 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches, with the taller cut required in shaded lawns. For best appearance, use a sharp reel-type mower. If mowing with a rotary mower, choose the taller cut and sharpen blades three times each season.
Related yard and garden topics are available by contacting an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com.