The Q&A Archives: lawncare

Question: my lawn is zoiysa grass but was not mantained properly last year. As a result, theres alot of crabgrass and brown spots still. It is usually pretty green by now. Will lawn lime solve my problems along with regular mowing?

Answer: Don't apply lime unless a soil test indicates the need for it, but do feed your lawn to help it return to its thick and healthy state. Here's how to take care of zoysia:

Mow the lawn when it first turns green in the spring using a reel mower set at 3/4 to 1 inch or a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping the lawn. Mow before the grass grows taller than 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Recycle nutrients by not collecting clippings unless they are unsightly or in clumps.

Apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet three weeks after the grass turns green. In absence of a soil test, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8). Submit a soil sample to determine nutrient requirements, if you haven't already. (Contact your county Agricultural Extension agent for details.) Apply lime if suggested.

To determine the amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, divide 50 by the first number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 5-5-15 fertilizer, divide 50 by 5. The result is 10 pounds of product per thousand square feet.

Water to a soil depth of 4 to 6 inches. Probe with a screwdriver to determine moisture depth. Zoysiagrass needs a weekly application of 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water. On sandy soils, it requires more frequent watering, for example, 1/2 inch of water every third day. It is often necessary to irrigate an area for three to five hours to apply 1 inch of water. (It takes 620 gallons of water to apply 1 inch of water per thousand square feet.) Because clay soils accept water slowly, irrigate these areas until runoff occurs; wait one-half hour until the water has been absorbed, and then continue irrigating until the desired depth or amount is obtained. A dark, bluish gray color, footprinting, and wilted, folded, or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water. Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer.

Apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass. and foxtail by the time the dogwoods are in full bloom. Apply postemergence herbicides in May as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge, and lespedeza. Products containing two or three broadleaf herbicides are usually more effective in controlling several different broadleaf weeds in a lawn. Be sure the product is labeled for use on zoysiagrass. Apply only if weeds are present and wait until three weeks after the grass turns green.

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