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Saving my Empire Zoysia Lawn

Posted by EmpireZoysiaNut 9 (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 12:06

Four years back I had the desire to replace my Floratam lawn with Empire Zoysia here in central Florida. I love the look and texture of the grass and the promises that were made from the installers. Although I did follow their guidance, I only had a beautiful lawn for a year and a half. So here is my plan.
First I am getting a soil analysis done to check the PH and other nutrient levels in my yard. I do have some weed issues, so I intend to do a pre-emergent as well as treat the existing weeds (various types). I am going to mow the dormant lawn to about an inch. I can't do a core aeration this year, but I am going to manually aerate the yard. I will then add lime (if needed), and (once actively growing) specific nutrients to try to reach desired levels. I use Talstar on the lawn for pest control, but I am also going to use a grub treatments this year. (This is tough because of the different pest cycles.) I have been seeing evidence of armadillo and moles, so there must be a food source!

Any suggestions or tips for success reviving my lawn? Thanks for any advice you may have!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Saving my Empire Zoysia Lawn

What's wrong with it?

How have you been watering (frequency and duration)?
How high/low have you been mowing?
When were the last two times you fertilized and what did you use?
Is shade a factor in this landscape?

Can you post a picture preferably taken on a cloudy day?

RE: Saving my Empire Zoysia Lawn

The last two fertilizers used were a 10-0-20 (or similar ratio) in the fall, and in the summer I think it was a 15-0-15 (or similar ratio). In early summer I used a slow release nitrogen. I never did add anything to adjust PH and was advised not to when the lawn was installed. (Actually, the only thing I was told was to water to establish and the lawn will take care of itself. Yes I knew that couldn't be true but it would be nice.)
I have been watering twice a week during the growing season (Duration varies by zone, but the average would be about an hour. The problem with irrigation is that the zones cover the shrubs and flowers as well as the lawn, so the plants are beaten down by the sun during the summer and can't go as long as the lawn without water. I have to redo my drip irrigation to allow for separate watering, but a lightning strike took out my controllers and they need to be replaced.)
Mowing height has been about two inches, but to be honest, the lawn did not grow very much last year. I just scarified the lawn this past weekend and got my soil sample to get tested.
The one area shade is a factor is directly adjacent to the house on the northern side of the property. (I will likely have to fight with that area forever, but I am more concerned with the rest of the lawn.) Other than that there is enough daily sun. The areas that have mostly died out are actually in direct sun.
Part of the problem is fungus, and part is from pests. I have noticed (last summer) browning of the leaf blades in the center of the front lawn where the grade has a bit of a low spot. I did use a systemic fungicide last year, but I think I will have to spot treat as well this year.
Weeds have taken over in the worst areas.
Dollar weed has returned to the same spots that had them in the past, Spurge has choked out the lawn a bit along the road and driveway, and I have greenbelt on all sides. I have a barrier of mulch along the rear portion of the yard, so the weeds are not as bad there. The pre-emergent from last year did little to stop the warm weather weeds, and since I did not use one for the winter, I am dealing with them now. My issue last year is that the weeds took over after the temps were well into the 90's and I couldn't treat them because I didn't want to do more harm to the lawn.
As for pests, I have seen grubs, mole cricket tunnels, grass hoppers, spittle bugs, a few billbugs, and lets face it, its Florida, just about everything else! I use Talstar twice a year, and I am planning to treat for grubs a few times as well.
The lawn has not started its green up yet. I'll try to get a picture on the next cloudy day.

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