Friday, February 06, 2009

Compadre Zoysia - First in the Park Too

In late December The Darwin City Council committed to the establishment of a modest sized park in the Stuart Park area of Darwin with Compadre Zoysia. While the park in Duke street had been talked about for sowing earlier in the year, seed was not available until December to actually sow the area. This late sowing had some issues to be concerned about as it was very close to the monsoon period, and the potential for a major wash out from heavy rain.

The grassed areas of the park were sown just prior to Christmas, 2008, using hydroseeding, with Gimbell's, a locally based experienced contractor from Darwin doing the job. The hydroseeding included a normal mix of shredded paper and tackifiers, along with Compadre seed at recommended rates. A very even cover of hydroseed material was achieved, and germination was quite prompt, with seedlings seen after about seven days, and a good green tinge in about 10-12 days.

The hydroseeding provided some help in preventing erosion and wash outs in a parkland area with a slight slope, although a small area was adversely affected. Some rectification of that was achieved using a compost berm above the area, slowing water flow across the slope, and most of the area now has grass seedlings. Compost berms are excellent in achieving water flow reductions in tropical areas where most of the rain comes from heavy episodic storms that can dump a large volume in a short period. They are not used as regularly as they could be in this that in itself is a big plus.

Germination and emergence continued with regular application of small amounts of additional water by the irrigation system to ensure the surface remained moist in the critical first 3-4 weeks, even though there was regular rain, but not necessarily every day. Some weed control was also carried out by hand to pull small grass weeds, by the parks staff of the Darwin City Council. These weeds were relatively few, but it important to ensure the zoysia seedlings are not swamped by grass weeds in its early stage.

Adequate fertiliser was applied in the first two weeks, and some additional slow release turf fertiliser will be applied to ensure there is adequate nutrition in the establishment phase.

Now, at about seven weeks from sowing the area looks very good. There is a very small wash area, identified above, but considering the heavy and prolonged rainfall over the past seven weeks, the area is in terrific condition after this time. Seedlings are just showing signs of lateral growth and the area would be expected to now develop a strong lateral network and thoroughly bind the topsoil. Thickening of the stand will develop over the next 7-8 weeks, with complete cover probably by about 16 weeks.

This has been a well executed project and shows the potential for Compadre zoysia in urban parks across north Australia, and consolidates the concept of using this variety. Many parks are designed to have shrubs and trees and ultimately, shade. Common options such as couch and even bahia grass, do not tolerate shade well, whereas zoysia will tolerate 50% shade, maybe even more if the turf area is not excessively used. It is also capable of remaining as a good turf surface with reduced irrigation amounts and lower nutrition, particularly in comparison to couch. That ultimately saves local councils quite a lot of money.

So far, so good with this evaluation project. It augers well for the variety. And congratulations to those involved from the Darwin City Council and Gimbells for a job well done.

For more information on Compadre zoysia.............
contact Above Capricorn Technologies or read more on this blog, or look at other photos.

area view at 2 weeks

These two photos show the sown area after about two weeks with an obvious green seedling tinge, and the compost berm used for erosion protection

< Seedling density at 7 weeks

Green parkland appearance at 7 weeks>

It is developing very well, and should be really great in another 7-8 weeks.

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