Saturday, December 30, 2006

Empire zoysia can look great

Empire zoysia turf sod can be used to create a fantastic impression at a new house. The photos say it all........ with the before and after appearance!

After is........well, two months after..... the turf was laid.

This is in a new surburban development in Darwin, and has not had any setbacks since the turf was laid. A sand profile, modified with cocopeat was used as the "soil", over the very poor subsoil base seen above on the left..

Modified sand has both advantages and disadvantages, with the major disadvantage being that initially, it is absolutely devoid of any nutrients, and also has little to allow nutrients to cling to and avoid being flushed through. The addition of cocopeat helps that issue and also provides additional moisture storage. But the advantages far outweigh all those isuses, which are easily controlled.

The big advantage is that almost always, sand is free of use a clean turf and it will stay that way! As well, over time, sand does not compact. That usually means that there will not be root development problems, dry spots, hard bare areas etc. Sand is also very porous, allows rapid infiltration of moisture, holds quite a lot of water in the profile, and over time as roots develop, moisture capacity will improve too, due to the organic matter from roots and decaying plant leaves.

Too often so called topsoil available for purchase contains a lot of fine silt and clay particles. These settle, clump together and the profile is very hard, resistant to the entry of moisture and of low water capacity. Sand will be a better option for the growth of a great turf. Especially all of the zoysia varieties.........sand is the best option!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

NT Now Has Top Quality Fertiliser and Plant Nutrition Support

Agsafe the national registered training organisation for rural industries has recently issued a Fertcare Level C certificate to Mr Peter Harrison of Above Capricorn Technologies, Darwin following his successful completion of the training program and exams for this course.

The Fertcare program is designed to lift the skills and knowledge of all individuals involved in the supply and distribution of fertilizers and to assist in optimising environmental stewardship, occupational health and safety, food safety and agricultural profitability.

Mr Harrison’s training was specifically designed to meet the needs of agricultural advisors and crop and pasture nutrition advisers and consultants who are providing detailed plant nutrition advice based on soil and plant testing to the agricultural and horticultural industries

Using the latest adult learning methods, the Fertcare training received by Peter Harrison delivered leading-edge information, support and practical advice to improve professional competencies for advisors and covers detailed and complex knowledge of:
environmental issues, particularly in relation to fertilisers and fertiliser management;
fertiliser environmental stewardship review methodology (FESR);
food safety issues;
soil and tissue sampling;
the regulatory framework and label requirements; and
an awareness of OH&S and stewardship issues in transport, storage, handling and application of fertilisers.

Fertcare training is underpinned by eco-efficiency principles and informs participants on the proper use of fertilisers and soil ameliorant products to achieve optimum agricultural production together with effective practices for improved environmental outcomes.

The formal training is used together with the assessment and recognition of prior competency which includes the assessment of competency in;
soil, nutrient and fertiliser knowledge; and
systematic development of interpretation and
recommendations based on sound science.

The Fertcare Accreditation Level C is seen as a basic requirement for qualified professionals that provide professional advice and support in plant nutrition and fertiliser use in the rural industries across rural Australia, and has been a sought after qualification in other jurisdictions around Australia. Ask your fertiliser supplier or advisor – are you qualified?

Peter Harrison from Above Capricorn Technologies provides independent advice and can assist in developing a sound program for crops on your property. Contact him by phone 89481894 or e-mail to - .

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Compadre zoysia - the new name for zoysia, variety Companion

The holder of the PVR for Companion zoysia has changed the variety name for this outstanding seed sown zoysia line. The material will now be called cv Compadre.

Same stuff, new name........same great turf.

The variety has done very well in tropical Australia, and is also used in the SW and SE of the US as well in many other tropical areas - Asia and especially S America.

Just remember............Compadre...........your close friend, a great companion lawn on your property!


Patten Seed Company's hybrid zoysiagrass 'Companion' renamed 'Compadre'
Lakeland, GeorgiaJuly 21, 2006
What once was your “Companion” zoysiagrass lawn just became your “Compadre™” lawn. Patten Seed Company, owners of the brand, has announced that the improved hybrid zoysiagrass formerly known as “Companion,” will henceforth be known as Compadre in all marketing and product descriptions.

“Recent investigation by our trademark attorneys revealed that the name ‘Companion’ had been used in commerce prior to our use. That made it necessary for us to change the name,” explained Ben Copeland, president of Patten Seed Company. “We believe ‘Compadre’ keeps the same general meaning and reflects the intent the breeder of this selection. ‘Compadre’ is a variety that was intended to be paired with a cool season grass like tall fescue to create a year round green lawn”

Compadre is a two parent cross of Zoysia japonica selections made by the late Jack Murray at the USDA turfgrass station in Beltsville, MD. It is similar to Meyer zoysia (also a Zoysia japonica) in color, texture and density.

Seed Research of Oregon has been successfully marketing Companion zoysiagrass around the world on an exclusive basis since 2000. The company will continue to market Compadre and to build on the momentum Companion sales have enjoyed worldwide.

According to Copeland, Compadre is ideal for use on golf courses, residential and commercial landscapes, roadsides and other sites that require low maintenance. It will flourish from the northern transition zone of the US south and in similar climates around the world.

“Compadre is a rugged performer, making it one of the more environmentally friendly turf grasses because it requires fewer pesticide applications as well as less water and nutrition than cool season grasses grown in the same climates,” added Copeland.

Peter H

A great zoysia turf by seed?.........YES you can!

Most zoysia lawns are laid with turf sod or sometimes by sprigging or plugs. It can be expensive, and even with plugs, a bit slow. Yes, full turfing gives you an instant lawn , but it still needs a few weeks to develop roots and tie itself into the soil. Many people are put off by the cost, and full turfing is relatively expensive.

There is another option........use seed! Yes.....the excellent zoysia turf variety Compadre is a seeded type that can be sown, as seed. Saves money, and can give you lawn cover in about 12 - 14 weeks. There have now been a few areas sown in the Darwin region and they look great. The photos tell a good story.............

The turf is slow to germinate and establish, and it is VERY important that adequate water is provided in the first few weeks.........and not to excess.

We recommend use of low volume sprinklers eg Challenger Mk2 low pressure sprinklers that deliver a few mm per hour. They are inexpensive and can be set up on a low cost 12 mm pvc line that can then be used as drip line in the garden. Or......use a soaker hose. In hot weather, you might even need to run the system for 6-8 hours per day in the first 2-3 weeks, or use a timer in bursts of 1 hour every two hours, to keep the surface moist. After the first 3 weeks, irrigation can be reduced, but keep the new area moist to about 100mm.

After establishment, the turf needs about one half of daily evaporation, say 3-4 mm per day in 2-3 deep irrigations per week, less in the cooler months.

Using Compadre seed will give a great lawn, that will pay off in less mowing, less fertiliser needs and a beautiful appearance.....and it is shade tolerant too.

Call us for more information and your source of seed.

Peter H