Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Mowing Height for Compadre Zoysia?

The non answer is - "it depends"!!

A good option is to aim for around 20 -25mm cut height, a height easily achieved using a common rotary mower.

Some people have used a much higher cut height - 100mm and even up to 150mm.  Personally, I believe that is probably too high, although for less maintained larger commercial areas there can be justification for maybe more than 25mm as a cut height.  Cutting too high all the time often reduces lawn vigour, especially lateral development, so that when cut lower at a different time of the year, the appearance of the area is not good.  A good compromise is to use a cut around  35 - 50 mm, which can reduce mowing frequency even more while having a reasonable appearance.  A word of warning though - zoysia turf can get spongy if cut too high repeatably, and develop thatch, as well as often developing a bit of loss of leaf green colouring due to lower light at the grass surface.  Yes, an area can be left to grow a little, for example, if the owner is away for a period, but getting back to a lower height is desirable, and that may take two cuts to reduce lawn height from 100mm or more, back to 25mm

Compadre zoysia can also be cut much shorter which encourages better lateral development and a dense surface appearance.  To do it well, a sharp bladed cylinder mower is preferred, and a cut of 5-10mm is certainly possible, although a good flat, hollow free surface is essential to have a good final finish and avoid scalping of the surface.

The occasional cut with a rotary mower at 12-15mm is okay though as it will pick up surface debris and reduce accumulation of thatch.  All zoysia turf varieties do have more material closer to the ground and it is surprising how much additional leaf material will be cut once you start lowering the mowing height below 20mm - you can often double the amount of clippings collected.

Compadre sod production
That also raises an important issue - with zoysia turf it is important to collect the clippings and remove them after mowing.  Some types of turf can tolerate leaving the clippings on the surface eg carpet grass and Bahia grass, but it is not prudent to do so for zoysia.  It promotes thatch development, and can boost disease and related problems.  Yes - collect and remove the clippings when you mow.  The exception is when a lawn is still developing and some additional organic material may be useful. But leaving material may be unwise if there are a lot of weed seeds present on the area as can occur in new lawn development.  Use some judgment on this one!

In most warm areas, a 20 - 25mm cut of zoysia turf, and modest fertiliser and irrigation, will allow at least 2 -3 weeks between mowings in the warm season and up to 6 weeks in cooler periods of the year, while still maintaining a great appearance.  You might also get a longer period as well particularly with prudent reduced irrigation, that does not reduce aesthetic appearance.  I do!

1 comment:

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