Zoysia green up in the Tennessee springtime

Zoysia Grass I receive hundreds of calls and emails this time of year about one specific item “When is my Zoysia going to green up”.  I tell people once the ground temperature starts to get into the low 60’s.  Once this happens massive green up appears.  Tennessee and the various areas surrounding it can have massive swings in temperature starting in March and continue through late April.  I have seen it frost in late April and damage and delay Zoysia green up.  All I can do is give a educated guess when it might happen in the Spring from my previous experience owning a sod farm.  Zoysia green up changes every year, sometimes earlier and some later.  We all are anxious for the warm summer nights and being able to stroll barefoot in our plush Zoysia yards.  We spend all winter dreaming about that wonderful feeling on the bottom of our feet called Zoysia.


Mowing in Different Patterns to Keep Your Grass Healthy and Looking Good


There is more to mowing your grass than you might be aware. For example, you need to mow your yard in different directions each time you mow. This is important for two main reasons: First, it keeps the wheels of your mower from compacting the same area of the ground repeatedly. Second, it encourages the grass to grow properly. This is why many homeowners like to mow different patterns into their yard. Doing this not only completes the task of mowing in different directions, but it keeps your lawn looking good. Take a look at these four main lawn-mowing techniques to try out on your yard.

Shading Technique

The shading pattern gives the optical illusion that some strips of grass are darker than others. Obviously, your grass does not turn colors, but the way you cut it causes the light to fall on certain strips of grass differently, creating an illusion of dark and light grass. This pattern is simple because grass lies down in the direction that you are mowing. Simply alternating the direction you are mowing will achieve this pattern.

Stripe Pattern

This method is very similar to the shading technique. To achieve this pattern, simply start in one corner of your yard and move in a straight line until you reach the next corner. When you turn around, tilt the mower off the grass so that you don’t disrupt the pattern. Here is where the main difference between the stripe pattern and the shading technique comes into play. Overlap your previous line by three inches or more when you turn around. Continue doing this until you have completed the whole lawn.

Checkerboard Pattern

Unlike the first two patterns, the checkerboard is a little bit more elaborate. This is the same pattern that is often used in baseball parks. Start by mowing your yard in the stripe pattern above. When you finish your lawn, turn so that you are sitting at a 90-degree angle to the stripes you just mowed. At this new angle, re-mow your lawn to achieve the checkerboard pattern.

Harlequin Diamond Pattern

The harlequin diamond pattern is much like the checkerboard technique. Once again, you start with mowing basic stripes throughout your whole lawn. Once you finish, turn your mower so you are turned at a 45-degree angle to the stripes you just mowed. Now re-mow your yard, and you will have a harlequin diamond pattern.

Using these four different patterns, you can be sure that your lawn not only looks good but is healthy too. Try doing a different pattern every time you mow your lawn to achieve the maximum benefit for your grass. If you really like one particular pattern, you can use it every time, but try to reverse the pattern. For example, if you are using the shading technique, alternate which areas of the grass are dark and which areas are light each time you mow. If you do the stripe pattern, start mowing your lawn in a different corner to change where the stripes fall.


Save Your Lawn with Drought-Tolerant El Toro Zoysia


Zoysia is a dense turf grass prized for its ability to handle heavy foot traffic, a variety of sun and shade, poor soil, and drought. It’s soft, green, and makes for an attractive lawn for planting zones 5 all the way to 11. All that aside, its best feature is its drought tolerance. Among all of the zoysias, El Toro Zoysia sod is among the best.

El Toro Zoysia’s Blades Save Water

One unique feature of zoysia is that its leaf blades very readily roll up under drought conditions. While other grasses do this, El Toro Zoysia does it earlier. This means that it starts conserving moisture while other grasses are still losing it to their environment.

Zoysia’s Root System

Another characteristic that helps zoysia thrive through dry conditions is its root system. Many varieties of grass have a relatively shallow root system, which limits them to extracting water from the topmost layers of soil. Unfortunately, these layers are also the first to lose water to gravity and evaporation. El Toro Zoysia sets deeper roots, so it can keep drawing water from the soil while other grasses have long since gone dry.

Zoysia Keeps Water in Soil

Though it isn’t often taken into consideration when it comes to determining how drought tolerant a plant is, zoysia is also helpful when it comes to reducing erosion. This is for a number of reasons:

  • Zoysia can thrive in areas other grasses give up. This includes worn-down areas and on slopes, where erosion can be a persistent problem.
  • Zoysia’s deeper roots hold soil in place. Grasses with shallower root systems generally aren’t as good at fighting erosion as those with deeper, denser systems.
  • Covering soil slows evaporation. With its dense growth habit, El Toro Zoysia shades soil and keeps it from blowing away as dust.

El Toro Zoysia sod is especially helpful when it comes to topsoil erosion. Soil loss can still occur while seeds are beginning to sprout and take root. Sod covers topsoil threatened by erosion right away.

Zoysia and Weeds

Weeds aren’t just unsightly, they steal space, nutrients, and water from the plants that are actually wanted. Zoysia’s density and tenacity tend to crowd weeds out, keeping them from establishing a foothold in a lawn. This won’t just give you a better-looking lawn with less effort, it’ll protect your soil quality by reducing the amount of herbicide you need to keep it looking good.

El Toro Zoysia gives homeowners everything they want in a lawn– it’s soft, dense, attractively green, and bounces back quickly in Spring. It’s also an environmentally friendly choice. Not only does it tolerate a wide range of adverse conditions, including drought, it can actually help improve soil and maintain soil moisture by fighting erosion and keeping weeds away. If you have a lawn that’s fighting a losing battle against dry weather, or a yard with difficult-to-seed, erosion-prone areas, El Toro Zoysia sod can breathe new life into your yard.


Zoysia Grass Lawn: Reel Mower vs Rotary Mower


Keeping your lawn full and green is not a task to be entrusted to crab grass. Zoysia, a resilient grass popular in the southern United States, puts a home’s best foot forward. But how should it be maintained? Should it be cut with a reel or rotary mower? After all, mowing a lawn is half art, half science. You provide the art; read on to get the science.

Where Did Zoysia Grass Come From?

Zoysia grass is a family of warm-season turf grasses native to the Orient. The three basic species are the Matrella, Japonica and Tenuifolia species. All other forms of zoysia grass, like the hardy Emerald and the plush Cashmere, have been synthesized from these godfathers. Shared family traits include:

• Drought resistance
• Slow, steady growth
• Salt tolerance
• Uniform color

How Should I Maintain My Zoysia Lawn?

In return for zoysia’s gorgeous green turf, you have to sate it with about an inch of water per week. It should be mowed when it reaches approximately three inches in height, and trimmed to 1-2 inches. Keep it shorter in the spring and longer in the fall. If you procrastinate until the grass grows too high, you may slice into the stems rather than the leaf.

So long as you mow on schedule, you can toss the clippings back onto the lawn as a natural nitrogen fertilizer. If thatch builds up, either top-dress the turf with ¼-inch of topsoil or run over the lawn with a dethatcher. Do not mow when the grass is wet, since damp thatch is a breeding ground for fungus and disease, which cause brown spots.

Should I Use a Rotary or Reel Mower?

A rotary lawn mower is the de facto unit in suburbia. Usually powered by 2-cycle and 4-cycle gasoline engines, rotary mowers have helicopter-like blades that chop off the tops of grass through brute force.

A reel mower, in contrast, cuts grass like a pair of scissors. When pushed along by homo sapiens, a reel mower slices through the leaf and leaves a clean cut.

Although zoysia grass can be trimmed with either type of mower, reel mowers are recommended. Their clean cuts prevent the tops of the grass from turning brown or yellow. When maintained with a sharp reel blade, Zoysia grass looks like a majestic, green carpet. The reel mower also prevents clipping clumps and stops scalping.

Can I Get By with a Rotary Mower?

Sometimes a zoysia lawn will spiral out of hand – or foot. You might need the power of a rotary mower. No matter how tall the grass grows, you should never cut more than one-third its height at a time. Keep the rotary blades sharp. Some gardeners recommend a two-blade system, where blades are swapped and sharpened every 6-8 cuttings. Rotary mowers can regularly maintain a zoysia grass lawn, but choose softer grass species like El Toro or Cashmere.

Your lawn is the smile of your home – and no smile should be tainted with brown spots. Cut your zoysia grass lawn with a reel mower to create your welcome mat of rich green grass.

Increase Your Home Value By Installing Sod


Our economy is certainly facing a host of troubling circumstances, not the least of which is the continuing downward spiral for home values. In times of crisis, the best solution is not to panic, but to get proactive. One of the smartest things you can do to arrest this worrying trend is to make changes to your home and surrounding property that will sharpen their appeal and enhance their value. 

Smart Small but Dream Big

You don’t have to spend a million dollars to increase your home value. You can start small by making a few changes to your lawn, such as installing sod. Believe it or not, this is actually one of the easiest – and smartest – things you can do to begin improving your home value.

How Installing Sod Can Dramatically Raise Your Home Value

Here are a few ways that a gesture as simple and cost effective as installing sod on your property can dramatically raise your home value:

  • Installing Sod Immediately Heightens Curb Appeal

    A patchy, brownish bit of lawn does nothing for the aesthetic value of your property, nor does it improve a visitor’s impression of the neighborhood your home is located in. Planting a full course of sod is a great way to get your lawn back up to speed. The faster you “green up” your property, the faster your home value is enhanced.

  • Superior Landscaping Gives An Excellent First Impression

    When it comes to attracting a potential buyer for your home and ultimately sealing the deal, you ought to be well aware that a first impression is often the only impression you have the chance to give. Many home buyers will already have their minds halfway made up on selecting some other property. If the first glimpse they get of your home property is a shabby or neglected lawn, they won’t spare much further thought for the rest of it.

    This is why the state of your front lawn is so critical. The better shape your lawn is in, the sooner potential home buyers are reassured that you are doing your part to keep the rest of your property in tip top condition. Installing sod is an essential part of the landscaping process.

Showing Your Pride And Confidence In Your Home Will Enhance Its Value

In the long run, showing a bit of pride and confidence in your home will only enhance its appeal to potential buyers, as well as its final market value. Landscaping is an excellent way to quickly beautify your property. A well-kept and artistically arranged lawn can even help to disguise, or distract prospective home buyers from, minor faults such as cracks in your driveway, or spotty patches on your walls that were left over from the last time you painted your home.

So, when it’s time to upgrade your lawn, start small but dream big. Installing sod is an excellent first course of action to get your home value up to speed.


When Is the Ideal Time to Purchase Sod?


Most people have heard the expression, “Sit back and watch the grass grow.” It sounds like a pleasant experience, but the reality is somewhat different. If you try to grow grass from seed, you will be looking at bare dirt and a scraggly lawn for quite a while. It is much better to simply lay sod. It will be more effective and efficient, and you will instantly have a beautiful lawn that you can be proud of. Here is a guide to the ideal time to purchase sod.

The Ideal Time Is Spring

The truth is that sod can actually be laid almost any time of year other than winter. However, laying sod is an investment that requires you to take steps to ensure the best chances of success. Although you can achieve success most times of year, laying sod in the spring will optimize your new turf’s chances of thriving.

There are a few reasons that springtime is the ideal time for laying sod. The most important is that it gives your new turf the longest possible time to establish itself. If you wait until fall to lay down your new sod, it will not have long to establish itself before winter arrives.

Summer also presents problems for laying sod. The hot weather can make it more difficult for the sod to establish a root system, and it will not be able to grow as effectively as it will during cooler times of year.

You Must Take Steps for Success

Even if you choose the spring to increase your new turf’s chances of success, there are a number of things you must do to boost its chances even further. The first thing you must do is prepare the soil for the new sod. You should till the soil to remove any weeds and aerate it. Any rocks, large roots or stumps should be removed. Also, make sure to grade the soil to ensure your new turf will drain properly. The soil should be tested to ensure that it has a proper pH and the right amount of nutrients. Any imbalances in these areas need to be corrected before the sod is laid down.

Because sod is a living thing, it must be laid down as soon as possible. Make sure you use a sod dealer who can get the sod to your home within 72 hours of its harvesting. When the sod arrives at your home, it should be laid out as quickly as possible. It is best to get sod delivered in the morning so that it can be completely installed by the end of the day.

Once the sod is installed, it should be watered twice a day for the next two weeks. Make sure to water it lightly so as not to drown it.

If you take these steps, you will soon have a lovely new lawn that looks and feels amazing. Make sure that you lay it down during the spring if you want to give your sod every opportunity to thrive. When you treat it right, it will look great for years to come.

Fescue Sod Care Guide

fescue sod

You’ve done your research and decided to invest your money in a beautiful fescue sod lawn. Knowing how to properly care for and maintain your new sod will ensure that your lawn remains beautiful and problem free for many years.

First Things First

The first and most important thing to know is the proper time to lay the sod. Laying sod in the wrong season can create unnecessary extra work for you. Fescue is a cooler weather grass and will fare better if it is laid in the spring between April and May or in the autumn between September and October. The cooler night-time temperatures encourage the grass to grow a strong, healthy root system.

Care For A Newly Sodded Lawn

The first three weeks are the most critical time to your new lawn. The grass will spend its first weeks extending its root system down into the soil. For these first two to three weeks, you’ll need to water the sod every two or three days. This deep watering is critical for encouraging the roots to reach deeper into the existing soil. Watering early in the day will ensure that the surface of the grass has plenty of time to dry before nightfall. Wet foliage after dark can sometimes encourage fungal growth.

You should not walk on or mow your new sod for the first week. After that, light foot traffic is fine. Your new lawn should be kept mowed at a height of one to two inches.

Ongoing Care and Maintenance

Although fescue requires less maintenance than most other types of grass, it does require regular mowing and watering to keep it at its best.

After the first three weeks, you’ll need to supplement watering if you do not receive at least one to two inches of rain per week. Remember to water in the early part of the day to discourage fungal growth.

Regular mowing not only keeps your lawn looking its best, but is also necessary to keep your grass strong and healthy. Fescue should be kept at a height under three inches. When fescue is left to grow taller than three inches sunlight cannot reach all the way through, causing your grass to become weakened over time. Make sure that you keep your lawnmower blades very sharp. Dull blades cause the grass to be torn rather than cut, which also weakens the plant.

Fertilizing Your Lawn

Once your lawn is established it will benefit from a light application of high nitrogen fertilizer in the early spring and again in the fall. These are the periods of fastest growth for your fescue. Providing fertilizer at the right times will reward you with a lush lawn.

Fescue sod is a great choice for a trouble free and low maintenance lawn. Following these tips and instructions will ensure that you have that lush, green, healthy lawn that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Four Reasons You Should Bag Your Zoysia Grass Clippings While Mowing

Bag Grass Clippings

Zoysia grass is a warm-season low-growing grass that is an extremely popular choice for lawns across the country as well as a favorite for golf courses. Homeowners love this grass for its beauty and low maintenance needs, and it is a definite favorite for those who have no wish to spend every weekend mowing the lawn. However, when you do mow this type of grass, there are several reasons you should consider bagging the grass clippings rather than keeping them for the purpose of mulching.

1. Control Spreading

Planting a zoysia grass lawn is one of the easiest things you can do. This is largely due to the fact that this grass is so hardy that you are only required to plant plugs with no need to seed the lawn. The zoysia grass will have no problem at all crowding out any other grasses you may have already growing in your yard. This is a great asset for getting your lawn planted with a single type of grass, but the zoysia grass has no intention of stopping there. As a very invasive grass, it will grow anywhere it can reach. This often means the takeover of your flowerbeds, vegetable garden and sometimes the lawns of your neighbors. Establishing good borders for your zoysia grass and bagging your clippings will help keep any spreading in check.

2. Clumping Difficulties

While you won’t find yourself spending all your time mowing your yard when you choose to plant zoysia grass, you may still have to deal with clumping issues when you finally do need to mow. When your mower leaves behind large clumps of grass rather than small little clippings, it can cause considerable damage to your lawn. If those clumps are left to sit on the lawn, then it can cause the live grass beneath it to be subject to disease, rot and ultimately death. Bagging your zoysia grass clippings will allow the grass that is left after a mowing to grow and thrive in a healthy manner.

3. Thatch Issues

This is a condition that simply refers to dead grass that is caught between the live healthy grass and the soil. When the dead grass is allowed to build up, your lawn will begin to feel unpleasantly spongy beneath your feet. This condition will also leave your lawn unable to absorb the sunlight, fertilizer, air and water it must have in order to stay alive and be as healthy as possible. You can stave off this problem simply by raking your lawn after you mow and bagging the grass clippings.

4. Beautiful Landscaping

Many homeowners choose zoysia grass to accentuate the rest of their beautiful landscaping. Just as many golf courses do, homeowners who want their lawns to be as sharp as possible will always bag the grass clippings and leave behind only the freshly mowed healthy grass.

The simple act of bagging your zoysia grass clippings after the infrequent mowing that is required will allow you to enjoy your mostly maintenance-free lawn without having to exert much effort. Invite your family and friends over for a backyard barbecue and have a great time showing off your beautiful lawn.

Fungicides on Fescue sod During the Summer Months is a Must for Maintaining a Beautiful Yard

Fescue Sod Fungacides

Proper fertilization, mowing and watering helps fescue lawns withstand disease. It is always better to perform proper maintenance to prevent diseases than use fungicides.

Fescue yards are subject to four common diseases, including:

1. PYTHIUM BLIGHT – This occurs late in the spring when there are hot days, warm nights and plenty of rain. A white growth will begin at the edge of a dead patch. It is commonly seen on lawns which have had too much seed planted in the fall or spring. Too many new seedlings allow the disease to kill large patches. Fertilizing heavily in the late spring causes verdant growth for the fungus to grow on. Pythium blight can be controlled with fungicides. Controlling it by careful seeding and fertilizer is better.

2. BROWN PATCH – This is most common on fescue fertilized when night temperatures are above 68 degrees. The dead sections start small but can grow together. Do not fertilize fescue heavily in summer and irrigate in the late evening. There are fungicides available to help control it. Be sure to read the label and use the rate and timing as instructed.

3. SLIME MOLD – This is an amazing disease. It looks like oil has been poured on a table sized area of grass. The fungus grows on blades of grass and is gray then turns black. The fungus does not kill the grass. It can be washed off with a garden hose. No fungicide is needed.

4. DOLLAR SPOT – This happens when nights are cool and days are warm. It is linked to a lack of fertilizer and dry conditions. To control it, apply a judicious amount of fertilizer and water deeply once a week. There are fungicides available to help control it. Be sure to read the label and use the rate and timing as instructed.

Applications for Fescue

Perfect conditions for disease to develop include tight time lows are now over 65 degrees and the days are hot. Here are a few tips on how to fight back:

1. Put a preventative fungicide treatment down. This treatment can save a fescue lawn that gets heavy Brown Patch disease. Treatments last about 28 days and should be applied 3 times a year.

2. If a spider web looking fungus is found on the lawn in the early morning – treat it before it spreads.

3. Do not irrigate more than 2 to 3 times a week. Only water starting around daylight.

4. Make sure mower blades are sharp. Dull blades tear the blade, leaving it vulnerable to disease.

5. Do not use heavy nitrogen fertilizer during the late spring or summer. Extra nitrogen helps spread disease.

For fescue, the tough months are June, July and August. To keep the lawn looking as good as possible through the summer, fungicide treatments will be necessary. Without fungicide treatments, fescue will suffer.

Although they are effective, they can be costly. A fungicide costs about $20 per 1000 square feet per application. For a typical 5,000 square foot lawn, that comes to $100 per treatment.


Installing Sod During the Summer and How to be Successful at It

Sod Installation

Sod installation is possible throughout the year. Although it is easier to install sod during the cooler seasons, it is indeed possible to install sod in the summer. However, installing a sod in the summer requires a great deal of water to compensate for the less than ideal climate.

Installation Steps

1) The first step is to create visual representation of the installation area. Sketching a diagram helps with sorting out the width and length of the sod. It also helps find how much sod needs to be ordered.

2) You need to get rid of potential drainage problems. Thus, the next step is to even the ground by getting rid of any great differences in elevation. This includes filling in any areas that might trap water in the future.

3) The next goal is to prepare the land so that the sod successfully takes root. You can do this by rotor tilling the land four to six inches deep. Moreover, if you need more soil added then you should rotor till two inches deep, add four inches of topsoil, and integrating the ground by rotor tilling the soil together.

4) Remove any wood, rock, bricks and any extra debris from the area. The installation area needs to be clear. Use a hand rake to grade the area.

5) Saturating the soil allows it to settle easier. You can find low areas by using a grass roller. In addition, this step firms the area. The goal here is to make sure that the final soil grade is one inch below future hard surfaces so that it is even with sidewalks, driveways or other cemented areas.

6) Now you can plant your new sod. Most people report that installing sod soon after delivery has the best results. Since this installation is taking place in the summer, you need to water the sod thirty minutes after installation. Furthermore, sod installation should first take place along the longest straight line; most people use a sidewalk or driveway as reference.

7) Next, it is important that the rows of sod have a brick pattern. You can do this by arranging the rows in a zigzag order. Position pieces end to end and be sure to avoid any gaps. You can cut sod with a machete or shovel.

8) After having installed the sod, make sure to saturate it with water. This step needs to happen only once. Once it you have soaked the sod, remove air pockets by using a grass roller.

9) The first two weeks are a crucial period for the sod to settle. You will need to water the sod almost every day or, at the very least, enough to keep it moist for these two weeks. You can begin to water it less often once the roots have established. The general rule of thumb is to water one inch per week. However, there will be exceptions depending on the climate.

10) It usually takes around two to three weeks for sod to take root. After the sod has taken root, you can mow and fertilize the sod. Most experts recommend using a fertilizer with a slow nitrogen release for the best results.