BUY157_Maintenance

MARCH through MAY

Mowing

After the grass first turns green in the spring, mow the lawn using a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping the grass. Mow the grass to between 1-1/2” to 3-1/2” tall, removing no more than 1/3 of the blades’ height at a time.

Also, practice grasscycling, which is simply leaving the grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings decompose quickly and can provide up to 25% of the lawn’s fertilizer needs. If prolonged rain or other factors delay mowing and clippings are then too plentiful to leave on the lawn, they can be collected and used as mulch. Whatever you do, don’t bag them — grass clippings do not belong in landfills.

Fertilization

To determine your soil’s nutrient composition, submit a soil sample to a soil-testing lab, if you haven’t so already. In absence of a soil test, apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area three weeks after the grass turns green. Use a complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (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).

To determine the amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 50 by the FIRST number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 12-4-8 fertilizer, divide 50 by 12. The result is 4.17 pounds of product to be applied per 1,000 square feet in order to supply 1/2 pound of nitrogen.

Irrigation

Proper irrigation now may help prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer. A dark, bluish-gray color, footprinting (when footprints on the lawn remain after 30 minutes) and wilted, folded or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water. Zoysiagrass needs a weekly application of 1” to 1-1/4” of water per week. On sandy soils, it requires more frequent watering — for example, 1/2″ of water every third day.

Water the soil to a depth of 4” to 6”. Probe the soil with a screwdriver to determine moisture depth. Depending on your irrigation system, it may be necessary to irrigate an area for three to five hours in order to apply 1” of water (it takes 620 gallons of water to apply 1” of water per 1,000 square feet).

Because clay soils and slopes absorb water slowly, irrigate these areas until runoff begins to occur, and then shut off the water. Wait one-half hour or until the water has been absorbed, and then continue irrigating in this start-and-stop process until the desired depth of moisture or amount of water is obtained.

Weed Control

By the time dogwoods are in full bloom, apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass and foxtail.

In May or at least three weeks after the grass turns green, apply postemergence herbicides as needed — only if weeds are present — 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 at a time. Be sure the product is labeled for use on zoysiagrass. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs and armyworms, and control them if necessary. To determine if white grubs are present, apply a soapy flush solution. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Thatch Removal

After the grass turns green, vertically mow to remove thatch if it is more than 1/2″ thick. Do not attempt to remove too much thatch at one time.

JUNE through AUGUST

Mowing

Mow before the grass grows taller than 3”, removing no more than 1/3 the blades’ height at a time. Recycle nutrients by leaving the clippings on the lawn unless they are unsightly or in clumps.

Fertilization

If needed, apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in June, July and August. In absence of a soil test, use a complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (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).

To determine the amount of product required to apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, see the formula specified in the March through May guidelines.

Do not apply nitrogen after September 1.

Irrigation

Follow the same guidelines for irrigation during June through August as described above for March through May.

Weed Control

Apply postemergence herbicides as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Do not apply postemergence herbicides unless weeds are present, the grass is actively growing, and the lawn is not suffering from drought stress. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs, and control them if necessary. August is the best time to control grubs because this is when they are small and close to the soil surface. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Thatch Removal

Vertical-mow to remove thatch if it is more than 1/2″ thick. Do not attempt to remove too much thatch at one time.

SEPTEMBER through NOVEMBER

Mowing

Mow the lawn with a rotary mower following the March through May guidelines until several weeks before the first expected frost. As winter approaches, raise the mowing height to 1/2″. Recycle nutrients by leaving the clippings on the lawn unless they are unsightly or in clumps.

Fertilization

Fertilize with 1 pound of potash (K20) using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60), 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50) or 50 pounds of sul-pomag (0-0-22) per 1,000 square feet. To determine the amount of product required to apply 1 pound of potash per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the THIRD number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 6-6-12 fertilizer, divide 100 by 12. The result is 8.3 pounds of product to be applied per 1,000 square feet to supply 1 pound of potash.

Do not apply nitrogen after September 1.

Irrigation

Dormant zoysiagrass may still need to be watered periodically when warm, windy weather prevails. Follow the same guidelines for irrigation during September through November as specified above for March through May.

Weed Control

To control winter annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as chickweed and henbit, apply preemergence herbicides as needed. Remember that preemergence herbicides will not control existing perennial weeds.

Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.

Insect Control

Check for white grubs and armyworms; control them if necessary. Read the insecticide label, and follow the directions carefully.

DECEMBER through FEBRUARY

Mowing

Dormant zoysiagrass does not need to be mowed. Pick up debris (rocks, sticks, leaves, etc.) from the lawn.

Fertilization

Do not fertilize during this time.

Irrigation

Dormant zoysiagrass may need to be irrigated periodically to prevent desiccation (drying out), especially when warm, windy weather prevails.

Weed Control

Apply postemergence broadleaf herbicides as necessary to control chickweed, henbit and hop clover. Selective herbicides can be applied in November or December to control annual bluegrass (Poa annua) and several annual broadleaf weeds.

Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.