Zoysia versus Bermuda

ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)November 15, 2011

I've seen at least 4 different "lawn care" or "lawn mowing" companies doing business in this neighborhood. (Schucks, I'll just refer to them as "lawn companies" so as not to disparage the good ones but also not compliment the bad ones.)

My neighborhood is mostly zoysia lawns, but there are a couple Bermuda lawns down the street and a fair number of cool-season lawns here too. Pretty much everything goes in the Transition Zone of St. Louis. Lotsa variety of lawns from warm-season to cool-season lawns.

One of the lawn company employees I was talking to said he's been cutting grass for 25 years, so I asked him what kind of grass made up the lawn he was cutting down the street, since I wasn't sure myself. He didn't know the name of the grass. He described it as more of a weed. It surprised me that he couldn't come up with the name of the grass, because I later found out it's just plain old Bermuda grass.

My lawn is 90 percent Zoysia and 10 percent Fine Fescue (I have an area in the backyard which is solely Fine Fescue).

However, in back I also have a few small patches of Bermuda grass here and there. The Bermuda doesn't make up more than 1 percent of my total lawn right now.

When the Zoysia and the Bermuda finally meet, which will win? Right now they're separated by some weeds. Will the zoysia take over the Bermuda or vice versa?

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texas-weed(7A)

Your question is a bit tough to answer because it depends a bit on the particular variety.

Generally speaking Zoysia has better cold tolerance than Bermuda, byt there are some exceptions depending on varieties. Since you mention STL I can only imagine th eonly variety of Zoysia would be Meyers which has better cold tolerance than any of the hybrids, and way better than any common type Bermuda.

Now with that said if you do not have a extremely cold winter where the ground does not freeze up, Bermuda will take over as it is much more aggressive and faster growing.

Personally in STL I would not recommend either Bermuda or Zoysia grass as they will be dormant most of the year.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 3:55PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Texas-Weed wrote:
> > Personally in STL I would not recommend either Bermuda
> or Zoysia grass as they will be dormant most of the year.

Thanks for your interesting post. I really don't mind that the zoysia turns brown for part of the year because it really does look great in the summer and spring with little maintenance on my part.

Since you mentioned bermuda is such an agressive creeper, I'll be sure to take steps to slow its spread, I hope, and give the zoysia a chance to invade the bermuda.

I already sprayed some white distilled vinegar on some bermuda. I hope that slows it down and allows the zoysia to butt in.

And I pulled some other Bermuda.

I really do love the look of Zoysia when it's green.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:08PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Since you mentioned bermuda is such an agressive creeper, I'll be sure to take steps to slow its spread, I hope, and give the zoysia a chance to invade the bermuda.

Good luck with that. Bermuda and Zoysia are very similar in growth habits in that they spread by both Rhizomes and Stolons. Some varieties of Zoysia even look like Bermuda.

However there is one major and I do mean one major difference; growth rate. Zoysia is extremely slow to spread. In a good year you are lucky to get 6 to 8 inches. Bermuda on the other hand can cover 10 feet.

Secondly if you discover a way to slow Bermuda down, have it patent protected and sell it as it will make you a very rich person. There is only two things that can stop Bermuda; shade and freezing weather.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 10:48PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

I see what you mean about Bermuda's hardiness. Yesterday I mowed the Bermuda patches using my rotary lawn mower set on its lowest setting, but the Bermuda still looks upbeat and happy. The crabgrass took a licking at that low setting, but not the Bermuda.

I guess I'll have to pull out all the Bermuda instead of just spraying it. Luckily I only have a handful of small patches right now, making up just 1 percent of my lawn.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:17AM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Oh, I forgot to add: The winters here usually dip as low as 1 degree Fahrenheit to 5 degrees F and some winters to minus 1 or minus 3 degrees, but it rarely stays at those cold temps for longer than a handful of days at a time. We have many, many more days of milder winter weather like betwen 10 and 30 degrees.

I have noticed that the Bermuda did spread from last year, but not by 10 feet, thank goodness!

My Bermuda only spread a foot or two, I think. I guess our winters slowed it down.

I'll be pulling all of it though.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:06AM
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texas-weed(7A)

Multiple applications of Round Up will knock Bermuda down. However the Bermuda needs to be green and growing for it to work. Right now in STL neither Bermuda or Zoysia should be green. I assume you have already had a freeze right?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:24AM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

A couple weeks ago for a night or two we got down to between 30 and 35 degrees, but it's since warmed up again. We had mid-70 degree weather just a few days ago, but it's been cooling the last couple days to 55 to 65.

I don't want to use Roundup because I want to stay organic. On the positive side, I think the glyphosphate in Roundup binds to the soil, and doesn't travel far from the application spots like 2,4-D does, but glyphosphate isn't considered an organic way to control weeds like white distilled vinegar, is it?

I don't want to kill bacteria, beneficial fungi, and other microorganisms in the soil.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:00AM
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texas-weed(7A)

I don't want to use Roundup because I want to stay organic. On the positive side, I think the glyphosphate in Roundup binds to the soil, and doesn't travel far from the application spots like 2,4-D does, but glyphosphate isn't considered an organic way to control weeds like white distilled vinegar, is it?

No Round Up is not considered an organic product. As to binding to the soil is a bit of an overstatement. It degrade in just a few days. Round is systemic ((contact) herbicide and is absorbed through the leaves and stems of plants.

To mu knowledge there is no organic methods other than mechanical to control Bermuda. Well boiling water will kill what is above the ground, but not what is below the surface. Not sure about using vinegar, it may get the top growth like boiling water, but will not touch the Rhizomes unless you drench the ground which I think would kill the soil along with the plant.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:44PM
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neilaz(9a)

Pulling out the Bermuda will not work. You will need to dig it out to 8 inches... give or take. If you look at the organic lawn forum you will see roundup being used as a last resort after trying many other remedies. even so many on there due not like the mention of the word Roundup.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:01PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Neilaz wrote:
Pulling out the Bermuda will not work. You will need to dig it out to 8 inches... give or take
=====

Why would bermuda need to be dug out to 8 inches? It doesn't have any tubers/nuts like sedges--just rhizomes and stolons. Bermuda's rhizomes can't go down 8 inches, can they?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:42PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Bermuda Rhizomes can and do grow very deep up to 12 feet deep in warm climates with sandy soils. This is the main reason Bermuda grass is so difficult to irradiate.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:32PM
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