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Replace tall fescue with zoysia?

Posted by nyc_sod z7 Marietta (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 8, 09 at 15:59

I currently have tall fescue in Marietta GA z7A. A friend of mine keeps telling me that I should get rid of the fescue and go with zoysia. I currently battle crab grass on the edges of the lawn even though I applied Halts pre-emergent.

The only thing I don't like is the brown lawn in the late fall and winter (I'm originally from NYC). I do like the fact that zoysia is heat/drought tolerant especially here in GA.

So what do you think?

Thanks for your comments.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Replace tall fescue with zoysia?

Go for it if that is what you want. You already know the dormancy issue. Zoysia is a lower input grass than Fescue. Just get it done now as it is the best time, and will leave it time to root before November when the Zoysia goes dormant.


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RE: Replace tall fescue with zoysia?

Don't do it, Zoysia is a nightmare to maintain for the average homeowner in the transition zone.

Unless you have irrigation, willing to learn how to maintain Zoysia, willing to spend $$$ on sod ($2 to $3k plus labor) and the time for the measley 6 months that is going to be green. Don't do it, get irrigation and keep your fescue lawn green year round.

If you must have a warm season grass, then go with Bermuda. Zoysia is the professionals or avid lawn care homeowner. Even Bermuda is better left for the Golf Courses.

Keep your Fescue and be happy.

For the record, I just sprayed roundup on a failed Meyer Zoysia lawn infested with common bermuda and fungal diseases that the homeowner battled for the past 3 years - he had irrigation as well.

A Kentucky Bluegrass lawn is set to take its place in the fall.


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RE: Replace tall fescue with zoysia?

Actually, bermuda is a maintenance nightmare compared to zoysia. I prefer coarse bladed zoysia as it is more drought tolerance than fine bladed (and need reel mower to cut fine bladed better). Zoysia needs a lot less fertilizer. Needs to be mowed every 7 to 10 days while bermuda does best when mowed 2-3 times a week. Bermuda is much more aggressive and can take over plant beds in a blink. For average homeowners, coarse bladed zoysia is probably the best choice all around since majority of them do not fertilize enough for bermuda nor mow enough.


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RE: Replace tall fescue with zoysia?

Zoysia is a lower input grass than Bermuda or Fescue. It only requires 2 fertilizer applications per year, any more and you will have thatch problems.

Only needs mowed once every 7 to 10 days because it grows much slower.

Very drought tolerant and only needs 1/3 the water of Fescue requires to keep it alive and green during the hot summer.

If you use a good cold tolerant variety like Meyers (Z-52) you should have a green lawn from April to October in your area.


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RE: Replace tall fescue with zoysia?

Texas Weed wrote:

"Zoysia is a lower input grass than Bermuda or Fescue."

In its native climate it might be, but certainly NOT in the transition zone.

"Only needs mowed once every 7 to 10 days because it grows much slower."

This is incorrect if you follow the 1/3 rule. It is recommended that Zoysia be cut at 1 1/2 inches and with a reel mower, which most if not nearly all homeowners do not have. At that height and with ideal summer conditions, Zoysia will easely grow 1 inch in 1 week or more.

"Very drought tolerant and only needs 1/3 the water of Fescue requires to keep it alive and green during the hot summer."

This is the biggest misconception out there. At the recommended mowing height of 1 1/2 inches, soil moisture will be depleted MUCH faster than a Fescue lawn cut at 4 inches high; the recommended height.

"If you use a good cold tolerant variety like Meyers (Z-52) you should have a green lawn from April to October in your area."

Get real! Meyers is a 50 year old variety that it's prone heavy THATCH and disease; and takes forever to recover from damage. Most Zoysia grasses here are always "under construction" despite good irrigation and fertilization schedules. The only good looking Zoysias here are at the Golf Course; where it can be pampered and maintained by professionals and virtually unlimited budgets.

There's no real benefit to replace Tall Fescue with Zoysia, especially if you already have irrigation.


If you don't like Fescue and have irrigation, then you could try Kentucky Bluegrass; which will stay green year round in your climate, create a dense turf, and spread via rhizomes just like Zoysia - not to mention it is actually dark green vs bright green Zoysia.

Recommending Zoysia as a home lawn in the Transition zone is like recommending Bentgrass in the North.

Some Zoysia varieties produce one of the nicest turfs of the warm season grasses if not the nicest in my opinion, but under the proper management and climate.


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