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Converting Existing Lawns To Zoysia Grass

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Converting Cool & Warm Season Lawns To Zoysia Grass

Tips and instructions on how to convert an existing grass lawn to a Zenith zoysia grass lawn using seeds. These instructions apply to establishment of zoysia grass in warm season and cool season grasses. Please read the warnings about using herbicides with zoysia grass.

Seeding zoysia grass into existing lawns without first completely eradicating the existing grass is not recommended as it is hard for the smaller and slower growing Zoysia seedlings to survive competition from your existing grass. IF you do NOT want to kill your existing lawn.. then you should consider planting zoysia grass plugs and NOT seeds. Planting zoysia grass plugs will take longer to covert to a complete zoysia lawn, but eventually the zoysia grass will overtake existing grass.

Tilling the soil multiple times is the best planting method for converting or planting new lawns -- see our informational site http://www.grassing.com for information on site preparation and the seeding of grass.

Excellent alternatives to chemical lawn removal can be found here: http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/how-to-remove-bermuda-grass-00400000052080/.

Herbicide Warning

  • Do not seed zoysia grass if a pre-emerge herbicide has been applied within the previous 60 days
  • Do Not Over Water
  • Reduce fertility as suggested once turf cover is accomplished
  • Do not use herbicides until after about 12 weeks of growth has occurred.

If you choose to apply a glysophate such as Roundup be sure and follow the label instructions to avoid problems with your soil and pollution of ground waters. There has been some controversy concerning the use of glysophate herbicides and other herbicides. It has been found that besides the obvious dangers of using chemicals, that these chemicals will cause "Super Weeds"  -- weeds that become resistant to chemical eradication.

Note that an existing warm season grass may be harder to kill with a glysophate such as Roundup and you may end up with a mixed lawn if the lawn is not totally eradicated through multiple treatments and patience!

Planting Zoysia Grass After Existing Lawn is Eradicated

Aerate to bring soil to the surface. A hollow tine aerator is best (core aerator), but if not available a spike aerator will suffice. Vertical mowers can be used to help make little slits in the soil that are good for seeds making proper soil contact.

Apply lime and fertilizer as needed to adjust pH to 6.0-7.5 and lime as needed. Obtain a soil test to determine pH.

Plant at 45 to 90 lbs per acre (1-2 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. - 50 to 100 kg/H).

Using a drop or broadcast spreader, spread 1/2 of your seed one direction and 1/2 in another to provide good coverage. (First broadcast East-West, then North-South). A slit seeder can be used for more precise planting.  These can be rented from some rental companies.

Roll after seeding if possible to smooth area and insure good seed/soil contact.

Do NOT cover seeds more than 1/4 inch with soil. Light is a key factor in germination and ideal planting depth is 1/8 inch. The seeds will NOT germinate broadcast on top of the soil.

Irrigate to keep soil moist (2 to 3 times daily for the first 14 to 21 days or until seedlings are observed.).

After seedlings have emerged, irrigate to keep good moisture in the soil to a depth of 1 inch. DO NOT OVER WATER! Too much water can cause seedling diseases and kill your new grass.

FERTILIZER SUGGESTIONS:
Four (4), Eight (8) & twelve (12) weeks
after planting apply 400 lbs per acre (about 9 lbs per 1000 sq. ft) of a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 fertilizer.

Avoid application of fertilizers high in nitrogen in the late fall. For established turf (2 years and older), apply the equivalent of 1 pound of nitrogen every 2 to 4 growing months using a balanced fertilizer. You should determine the correct fertilizer based on a soil test. Contact your Cooperative Extension agent for help on this.

MOWING ZOYSIA GRASS

  • Mow lower areas if possible with a reel mower. The grass can be mowed with a rotary mower at higher levels. Begin mowing at 2 inches (50mm) height as soon as grass or weeds can be cut. If using a rotary mower you may want to continue cutting at 2 inch height. Reel mowers can be gradually reduced to 3/4 to 1/2 inch over time.

  • Zoysia generally requires 10 fewer mowings per growing season than the average Bermuda grass lawn.

  • Always use "SHARP" mower blades for best results. Zoysia is a tough grass that requires a clean cut to look good. Only sharp blades will give you this look.

MORE RECOMMENDED ZOYSIA READING:
Read about Zenith
Read our suggestions on planting Zoysia from seed.
Read When to Plant seeds of Zoysia.
Need Zoysia plugs? Buy at: www.lawnplug.com
Plug Info at www.lawnplugs.com

SEED USE NOTICE:

Please note that we ONLY recommend Zoysia seeds for use in bare soil areas. Planting seeds into existing grasses has a HIGH FAILURE rate. If planting into an existing lawn (grass and/or weeds) we recommend that you consider using Zoysia Grass plugs instead of seeds. - Zoysia seeds also are difficult to achieve germination in low light / shady areas. Use plugs in these areas for best results.

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