Zoysiagrass is a warm-season grass that spreads by rhizomes and stolons to produce a very dense, wear-resistant turf. It is best adapted to the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions of North Carolina, but some of the more cold tolerant cultivars can be grown in the western part of the state as well. There are three major species of zoysiagrass suitable for turf including Japanese lawngrass (Z. japonica), mascarenegrass (Z. tenuifolia), and manilagrass (Z. matrella). Zoysiagrass can often be confused with bermudagrass. However, zoysiagrass has hairs standing upright on the leaf blade whereas bermudagrass does not. Zoysiagrass is also stiff to the touch and offers more resistance than bermudagrass.
Apply ½ pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet three weeks after the grass turns green. In absence of a soil test, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8). Submit a soil sample to determine nutrient requirements, if you haven't already. (Contact your county Agricultural Extension agent for details.) Apply lime if suggested. To determine the amount of product required to apply ½ pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, divide 50 by the first number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 5-5-15 fertilizer, divide 50 by 5. The result is 10 pounds of product per thousand square feet.
Check for white grubs and control them if necessary.
Water to a soil depth of 4 to 6 inches. Probe with a screwdriver to determine moisture depth. Zoysiagrass needs a weekly application of 1 to 1 ¼ inches of water. On sandy soils, it requires more frequent watering, for example, ½ inch of water every third day. It is often necessary to irrigate an area for three to five hours to apply 1 inch of water. (It takes 620 gallons of water to apply 1 inch of water per thousand square feet.) Because clay soils accept water slowly, irrigate these areas until runoff occurs; wait one-half hour until the water has been absorbed, and then continue irrigating until the desired depth or amount is obtained. A dark, bluish gray color, footprinting, and wilted, folded, or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water. Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer.
Mow the lawn when it first turns green in the spring using a reel mower set at ¾ to 1 inch or a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping the lawn. Mow before the grass grows taller than 1 ½ to 2 inches. Recycle nutrients by not collecting clippings unless they are unsightly or in clumps.
Replant large bare areas using sod or plugs planted on 6- or 12-inch centers. Applying a preemergence herbicide that does not interfere with root growth after plugging helps prevent weed encroachment.
Vertically mow after the grass turns green to remove thatch if it is more than ½ inch thick. Do not attempt to remove too much thatch at one time because zoysiagrass has a slow recovery rate. It may take several years to get thatch under control.
Apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass. and foxtail by the time the dogwoods are in full bloom. Apply postemergence herbicides in May as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge, and lespedeza. Products containing two or three broadleaf herbicides are usually more effective in controlling several different broadleaf weeds in a lawn. Be sure the product is labeled for use on zoysiagrass. Apply only if weeds are present and wait until three weeks after the grass turns green.
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seedhead a spikelet, with seeds alternating along head
leaves rolled in the bud
short fringe of hairs, 0.008 inches (0.2 mm) long
warm season turf
sharp-pointed; hairy above with at least a few long hairs near base, leaf blade stiff
0.08 - 0.16 inches (2 - 4 mm) wide
continuous; edges hairy
split with overlapping margins; sheath may have tuft of hairs at throat
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