Zoysia Maintenance: Spring 2013
Prep Your Zoysia For Spring
Spring is in the air, and Zoysia is ready to come out of dormancy and begin greening up, unless you are lucky enough to live far enough south that it stays green year round. It's now the middle of May, and that means it is the time of year to start helping your Empire or Geo Zoysia make a successful transition into spring time. Follow the steps below to ensure that your lawn will make the transition from winter dormacy to spring green without any issues.
EMPIRE & Geo Zoysia
EMPIRE Turf has been the standard in zoysia grass for years. It has proven to be a successful zoysia grass across the South. It has wider blades than our newest release, called Geo. Geo is a fine bladed variety that has a distinctly different look than Empire with its fine blade and lighter green color. Both are great grasses that are maintained in a similar fashion…with the exception being mowing heights.
Step One: Make sure the last freeze of winter is past. And even if your Empire or Geo lawn hasn’t fully greened up yet, you want to scalp it with the mower. With a standard rotary mower, drop the blade down to between 3/4" and 1", usually this will be its lowest setting. You want to do this just for the first mowing of the year, effectively giving your lawn a “buzz-cut” to get rid of any thatch buildup and brown grass on top. Make sure to bag up or rake away the material to avoid a mess of clippings in your lawn.
Heres where the difference between EMPIRE and Geo comes in. For the rest of the spring and summer, keep your Empire lawn mowed between 1 and 2 inches. Mow the Geo lower. We recommend keeping Geo at between one half and one inch tall.
Step Two: Put down a slow release fertilizer. For zoysia grasses like EMPIRE and Geo, we recommend you put fertilizer down with a 1-0-1 ratio. One part nitrogen, zero parts phosphorus and one part potassium. A great example is a 15-0-15 fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen and potassium at 15% each. Nitrogen will help the grass get its rich, emerald green color back and the potassium is like giving your grass a multi-vitamin. It promotes the overall health of the grass. Keep in mind that this is a very generic guideline. Check with your local extension agents or experts to get their specific recommendations for your soil type and climate.
Step Three: The winter weeds will start dying out with the warmer weather, but summer weeds can be a nuisance no matter what type of grass you have. Step Three for getting your EMPIRE and Geo back in shape is to put down pre-emergent herbicide….the pre-emergent stops the summer weeds before they rear their ugly heads. If you missed the window and weeds are already germinating, you can buy topical weed control from your local lawn care store to apply directly to the weeds.
Step Four: You’ve taken steps to keep out weeds….and you should probably be pro-active and do the same thing for insects. You can treat the problem after the fact, but its highly recommend that you keep the bugs away by preempting an infestation, especially if you have had past issues or were having issues in the fall. While your above ground bugs like ants are a pain, it’s the insects you can see that pose the greatest threat to an EMPIRE or Geo lawn. Step 4 is to put down an insecticide. Look for an insecticide that is broad spectrum and will kill off a number of different pests, particularly Billbugs. If you put down a granular insecticide, make sure to immediately water the lawn to help it get down into the soil.
Step Five: In the spring and summer, especially when it gets hot… people have a tendency to try and soak their lawns with irrigation. Don’t do it. EMPIRE and Geo both need about an inch of water a week either from natural rainfall or in-ground irrigation. Overwatering can make the conditions just right for a fungus to spring up. If you have had fungus or disease in your lawn in the past or have a lot of shade in the yard, you might want to put down a systemic fungicide with an active ingredient to ward off any possible outbreaks. Fungus can really make your lawn look bad, so it might be worth it for peace of mind. Remember, when applying anything to your lawn, the label is the law. Read the container carefully and follow proper instructions.
Follow these steps to have a lawn that will be the envy of the neighborhood this spring and summer.