Audio Blog: Seasonal Zoysiagrass Maintenance
There are many reasons why zoysiagrass has been the most commonly used turfgrass on golf course fairways and tees in the transition zone for many years. It requires less fertilizer, less water, and has fewer pests while providing a smooth and consistent playing surface for golfers.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to make zoysiagrass the best it can be throughout the season. We’ll look at color response, fertilization, weed control, disease management, and more.
One area zoysia lags behind other grasses is color. Rarely do you see a deep, dark green zoysia surface, but it can be done while also promoting better turf health.
One great way to do that is a tank mix combination with:
- Foliar-Pak Amperage: 64 oz/A
- Foliar-Pak Carbosential Fe Turbo: 16 oz/A
- Ammonium Sulfate (or your favorite source of soluble N): 0.1 lb of N
Foliar-Pak Amperage is a blend of molasses with amino acids from glycine. Amperage helps boost photosynthetic activity, and the simple sugars supply supplemental energy to the plant. The molasses also will increase microbial activity for thatch reduction and mineralization of nutrients.
Carbosential Fe Turbo is both foliar and root absorbed, giving you a residual source of iron. It has added amino acids to aid in chlorophyll production along with sugars and carbs to increase plant energy.
Another great way to enhance color and health in your zoysia is by using fertilizers with MESA from Lebanon Fertilizer. MESA combines methylene urea and ammonium sulfate into a homogenous prill. Since it was introduced, MESA has consistently yielded better color response in zoysia without excessive top growth. Unlike coated products, if MESA is cracked or broken, it maintains the same slow-release properties. ATS carries several MESA blends.
Zoysia has proven to be more cold-tolerant than bermudagrass or any other warm-season grasses. It also has proven to thrive once we hit the summer months, providing an excellent surface for play with little or no problems. The big variable each season for zoysia is the transition period in the springtime.
The timing of spring green-up and growth can vary immensely from year to year, sometimes by weeks, if not months. Turf managers can try to promote growth with traditional nitrogen fertilizer applications, but results are inconsistent, ranging from no response to a flush of top growth. We do have some options, however, that can help during the transition time without risking excessive growth and without breaking the bank.
Foliar-Pak Amperage 5-0-0 with amino acids is one of those options. Amperage is a blend of molasses and amino acids that can aid both soil and plant health. The molasses promotes microbial activity in the soil helping in nutrient availability and thatch reduction. It also provides sugars to energize the plant in low sunlight and cooler temperatures. The amino acids in Amperage increase photosynthetic activity and production of anti-stress compounds while also aiding in green-up.
Another great option is Foliar-Pak Armament Concentrate. In a nutshell, Armament is a very large, consistent molecule that holds many negative charges. These negative charges attract and chelate positively charged cations, increasing the availability and uptake of nutrients already in the soil. In tissue testing, Armament has been shown to increase plant uptake of some nutrients as much as 34%, providing consistent, predictable nutrient availability without excessive growth.
Zoysiagrass doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer inputs or as much water as cool-season grasses. It’s also not susceptible to many diseases or insect problems. So, relatively speaking, zoysiagrass is easier to maintain than some other grasses. However, it would be best if you did a few things during the season to make sure it stays healthy.
In the spring, try to avoid too many herbicide applications during the transition out of dormancy. These applications can slow green-up and, in some cases, thin the turf.
When treating for large patch, use that as an opportunity to add some nutrients into the tank. Foliar-Pak Carbosential Fe Turbo, Amperage, or Armament Concentrate are great additions that don’t cost a great deal.
In late spring, begin scouting for adult billbugs. Treating the adults is an inexpensive way to avoid trouble from the billbug larvae later in the year.
Manage moisture levels. Using penetrants during the season will help alleviate problems in both overly wet and overly dry areas.
Shade will limit zoysia growth. Shady areas should be mapped, and a plan should be made to reduce the shade in the off-season through trimming or selective removal of nearby trees. Applications of Foliar-Pak Foundation Forty can help alleviate reduced zoysia growth from shade during the season.
Reduce thatch through core aeration once the zoysia is fully growing. Typically, this is done in June.
End of Season
Late summer or early fall is a good time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide for Poa annua control. The timing of this application is late August through early October. The earlier, the better, as Poa germinates throughout this period. Kade 4L, Kade 65 WDG, Specticle, or Coastal are all good options for this application.
It’s also a good idea to raise the height of cut and reduce the mowing frequency as zoysia growth starts to slow down. The higher cut allows for more leaf surface and will aid in photosynthesis, while also preparing the plant to avoid winter damage.
Another way to boost winter hardiness is with potassium applications. Our 5-0-30, 2% Mn with Armament is a great product on zoysia in the fall. The manganese in it will also help suppress patch disease. Armament K is another good option for this application.
Fall is also the time of year to make fungicide applications for zoysia patch, typically one or two applications (about four weeks apart) in September. TEB 360 is the most commonly used product for this because it is affordable, but other products like Kalida or Zoxy 2SC can be effective as well.
Finally, penetrants can be useful on zoysia in the fall. They will help maintain good moisture levels in the soil through the fall and into winter. Winter desiccation can be an issue on zoysia, especially in areas that don’t typically get a great deal of snow. Hydro-Pak Diversion and Aquatrols Dispatch are good options for this application.
Want to learn more about any of the products mentioned in this article? Contact your ATS rep with further questions.