Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Zoysia matrella - Maybe Still the Best Turf for the Tropics

Zoysia matrella has been around quite a long time as a premier turf in the tropics. Available only in vegetative material, and often more expensive due to slower growth on turf farms. This alone sometimes puts potential users off, and they switch to another turf type.

Using a zoysia matrella turf will save you money. Slightly more expensive to install initially, whether as turf sod, plugs or as sprigs, the savings accrue once it is installed. Less mowing, fewer disease issues, lower fertiliser needs, lower irrigation demands [ not the lowest, but near the lowest] are some of the tangible factors that swing the balance towards this type of turf, and in fact, most of the zoysia varieties. Some of the less tangible factors are noted below as well.

The preferred mowing option is to use a cylinder mower - it gives the best result. An ordinary rotary mower is satisfactory, particularly if not cut at a low height, and many homeowners use that type, as well as many commercial operators. Most commercial hire companies have verticutters or dethatchers for hire.

Relatively few varieties are available and one that is still among the better types is the interspeciifc hybrid commonly known as Emerald. It is a fine leaved, dense turf, and resistant to weed invasion once a dense cover is established.

The form available in Darwin is close to Emerald, but never verified as to what if any variety, although it has been around the region for at least close to 50 years. It is highly shade tolerant, especially if you leave the turf a little higher, is not itchy when sitting on the turf or children rolling or playing on the area without a shirt on, or playing rugby. Very wear resistant too. And with modern slow release fertilisers, thatch is considerably reduced.

Thatch control is an ongoing management requirement. But on a very high profile public area in Darwin where we are advisors, the area which is well fertilised, is only dethatched at most once a year, and was not done at all for the first 6-7 years. Regular dethatching does help improve performance in all zoysias, and removes the puffiness.

The following photos are actually at our home, with the turf a bit longer than normal, but hey...........it has not been mown for about six months! Yes......definitely overdue, especially for someone working in the turf industry.

It is a great turf option.

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