Plugging Zorro Zoysia for shady area to match bermuda?

lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)January 22, 2013

I just moved to a new house west of Austin and the builder left us with huge garden bed underneath a group of live oak trees which I very much appreciated for future planting.

There's a patch of bermuda that doesn't look like it would get sufficient sunlight to stay thick, I'm wondering if fine bladed zoysia like Zorro would blend in with bermuda the best? I've never grown fine bladed zoysia before so I don't know how well they blend together.

I have no intention of replacing bermuda right away. I'll just suffer like the rest. Cursing at it as it invades garden beds. I will just plug in shade tolerant zoysia over the years as trees that I planted get bigger (probably 30ft tall in 10 years since Montezuma cypress grows pretty fast).

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The fine bladed Zoysia are the closest match to Bermuda, but calling Zoysia Shade Tolerant is a bit of a stretch. True it is more tolerant of shade than Bermuda, but htta is not saying much.

If you are going to do this my advice is plant the plugs on 6-inch centers as Zoysia is very slow to spread, and wait until it warms up and you see Bermuda grass greened up to increase your chances of success.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:13PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Thanks TW. I found this study over shade tolerance. Interesting to see that Princess 77 and Rivera do fine under shade condition.

Summary. Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass
are two of the most commonly used turfgrass
species on golf course fairways and
tees in the southern U.S. Shade from trees
is common on golf courses and limits turfgrass
growth. Additionally, turfgrasses are
often subjected to traffic, which damages
turf. The objectives of this study were to
evaluate the effects of shade and traffic on
bermudagrass and zoysiagrass cultivars.
Five cultivars of bermudagrass and seven
cultivars of zoysiagrass were maintained
under typical golf course fairway conditions.
Plots were grown in either full sun
or were shaded with a 50% light reducing
fabric. The cultivars containing the highest
coverage after two years of growth in
continuous shade were Cavalier, Diamond,
Meyer, Palisades and Zorro zoysiagrass, as
well as Princess 77, and Riviera bermudagrass.
The cultivars having the lowest coverage
in shade were Patriot and Tifsport
bermudagrass and Zenith zoysiagrass.
Princess 77 and Riviera bermudagrass, as
well as Cavalier, Meyer, and Zorro zoysiagrass
had the highest coverage when trafficked
regardless of shade treatment. Selecting
cultivars well-adapted to shade and
tolerant of trafficking will help golf course
and sports field managers improve playing
conditions while reducing maintenance inputs
and costs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shade and Traffic Tolerance of Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass � Year 2 Results

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 1:47PM
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I'm not sure I trust shade studies that use partial sun blocking fabric. I know it's a standard practice, but I question if grass receiving 12 hours of continuous 50% sun is the same thing as grass receiving 6 hours of sun, then 6 of shade.

Also take a look at Tifgrand and Celebration Bermuda, both of which are supposed to have above average shade tolerance for Bermuda.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:54PM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

I have celebration bermuda under oak trees in my front yard. It is still dormant but when it does green up you are free to come out and see it.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Lou I was going to say look at Celebration or TifGrand as they are just as good as any Zoysia with respect to shade tolerance, not too mention should be less expensive.

Where are you at now Lou. Last I heard DFW? Both Celebration and TifGrand are available in TX now.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:20PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

TW - We live somewhere between Spicewood and Bee Caves on highway 71. Just moved into the new house last month after living with wife's parents for 6 months nearby Marble Falls.

Another reason to look at zoysia is less expense on maintenance like much less fertilizer and can rely on organic fertilizer rather than synthetic since we're out in the hill country where there are a lot of dry creeks that feed into Lake Travis. I figure if I plug in pieces, they would eventually take over whenever there's not enough sun but don't provide enough fertilizer for bermuda to take over.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:05PM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

A lot of people I know around Lakeway use Palisades Zoysia. but at 190.00 a pallet and celebration around 100.00 I don't see a cost benefit when adding fertilizer into the equation.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:51PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Lou you are a candidate for Shadow Turf. In this picture it is growing under a very dense English walnut tree. The only direct sunlight it gets is about from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. Then the trees across the street provide 100% direct sun blockage. The walnut tree is trimmed up to about 6 feet. The grass looked excellent to me.

The grass was plugged about 18 months before I took the picture. The spots you can see which are not fully filled in are on the north side of the tree and really get no sunlight. Still, they were 1-inch plugs at first and they have spread considerably. The lawn is in Abernathy, TX just north of Lubbock.

Shadow Turf sends rhizomes underground like bermuda. It is fine bladed and mixes well with the hybrid bermuda. When common bermuda gets into it, it looks weedy.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 1:14AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)


I agree with you that Shadow Turf looks pretty good. Just wish they would go by big pieces or pallet instead of small plugs at high price!

Perhaps later. Just have to wait and see how bermuda does by fall before I decide on anything. I have to figure out how I want to maintain bermuda. Weeds are definitely the biggest problem based on my observation in the old neighborhood...

Apundt, I'm not looking to redo entire lawn, just plug in and let them fill in eventually over the years. Not much difference than what we did at my parents' house. They hardly ever fertilize or water lawn. They look just fine whenever they get enough rainfall. The soil is pretty good now after many years of mulch mowing everything. That's how zoysia took over. St augustine suffered massive death after that terrible drought in 2010. Bermuda could not take over due to shade. Zoysia took over right away. They apparently spread everywhere underneath st augustine that we never noticed. It was pretty impressive.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 7:42PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Lou, I planted the Shadow Turf plugs a lot closer than they recommended. I put them in in May as I recall. Nothing happened until just after 4th of July. They were very poor looking. Then, all of a sudden, I had zoysia popping up for about 10 feet in all directions. It was thin at first but thickened up quickly. It is as aggressive as bermuda in spreading, but it cannot hold up to the extreme climate like bermuda can. That makes bermuda the dominant species in my area and likely yours.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:32PM
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How are the prices of shadow turf now days. Last time I checked it was highway robbery and rape.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:13AM
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