Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede & Paspalum
solodogg
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Location: Apopka, FL
Grass Type: Empire Zoysia
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Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by solodogg » Fri May 17, 2019 8:15 pm

Empire Zoysia - who the hell sells this stuff as needing less water?!?!

Story: home built early 2016, Empire Sod laid down in January that year. Builder had their landscaper drown the grass in weed killer trying to keep them from filling in the large gaps between the pieces of sod. Ugh...whatever, 2 years of trying to get the yard to recover later, and here we are.

I am still battling Kyllinga and crabgrass in some areas (and have St. Augustine trying to take over the back...imma let it), but the biggest issue has been setting up the irrigation properly. This season, I replaced all of the U-series Rainbird nozzles with R-VAN’s in attempt to get more even coverage and a lot less misting. I have been watering at 3/4” per zone 3 times per week (in a 2-day watering restriction area), and the grass still curls up and looks sick at the first sign of 85 degree weather. I have done multiple catch cup tests to ensure even coverage, and have tweaked the settings on a monthly basis since installing the new nozzles back in February, and yet here we are with the same issues I had prior to the swap out.

Any ideas? Everything I have read talks about how heat and drought resistant Empire is, yet the St. Augustine yards look beautiful with only 2 days of watering per week. The only areas that seem to be thriving for me now are the ones that have less than 6 hours per day of sunlight, anything more than that and the grass is curled up by noon.

HELP!!!
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Christech11
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by Christech11 » Fri May 17, 2019 10:34 pm

Since you’re in a newer build have you been able to look at what’s under your grass? I say this because my grass looked great in the spring but once we consistently hit 85 degrees, my Bermuda would dry out super quick and would look like dried out hay up against green Bermuda.

It turned out I had a giant 5x8ft concrete blob in the middle of my yard. I contemplated taking it out for 2 years and finally did this spring.

If you’re putting that much water on your Zoysia I would do some investigating and make sure there isn’t any debris under your grass.


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viva_oldtrafford
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by viva_oldtrafford » Sat May 18, 2019 5:10 am

Send a soil sample and get a look at what’s taking place down there. It could be a low CEC (probably not, but maybe). If I had to guess simply based on your descriptions, nematodes might be the issue. They love sandy soil and will eat all of the finer roots so that the plant has nothing to use in the uptake of water.

So grab some cores (get quite a few because it’s 2 tests) and ask for a nutrient analysis (ensure cec is included in that test) and have a nematode assay done.

Probing the soil to make sure you have no hidden treasures isn’t a bad idea either. If you do probe, get a core and put a drop of water on the core, if it beads up, you have a hydrophobic soil - another, easier, issue to correct.
Last edited by viva_oldtrafford on Sat May 18, 2019 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

caddyshack4reel
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Grass Type: Empire Zoysia
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by caddyshack4reel » Sat May 18, 2019 7:04 am

Have you tried any wetting agents? (Lesco Moisture Manager)

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jayhawk
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by jayhawk » Sat May 18, 2019 7:53 am

Just speculating possibilities.....fungal "root rot"

Something is not right, empire is not that needy

UFG8RMIKE
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Location: New Port Richey, FL
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by UFG8RMIKE » Sat May 18, 2019 7:58 am

All good advice.

I have new empire in sandy soil in central Florida and it looks great watering 2x a week. I have a couple high spots that will dry out quicker than the rest of the yard if I only water once a week. Working on leveling project soon.

My biggest issue is that the sod we got has a bunch of common Bermuda that’s now spreading.

.
Last edited by UFG8RMIKE on Sat May 18, 2019 8:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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SCGrassMan
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by SCGrassMan » Sat May 18, 2019 10:44 am

If you have irrigation, I’d set cups out all over and see how much water you’re putting out.

Here’s mine from two spots in the same zone:


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Drought tolerant just means it doesn’t completely die with lack of water. Doesn’t mean it will look good or not go dormant.
2019 Lawn Journal:
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=7338

solodogg
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Location: Apopka, FL
Grass Type: Empire Zoysia
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by solodogg » Sat May 18, 2019 12:17 pm

Christech11 wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:34 pm
Since you’re in a newer build have you been able to look at what’s under your grass? I say this because my grass looked great in the spring but once we consistently hit 85 degrees, my Bermuda would dry out super quick and would look like dried out hay up against green Bermuda.
I have probed the yard in quite a few of the areas, and have found nothing substantial to worry about. A few chunks of concrete from when the slab was poured about 5' out from around the parameter of the house is about the worst I have found so far. These builders don't seem to do much very good, but from watching then work on the new lawns, it does appear they at least attempt to pick up the larger items before back filling/leveling.

viva_oldtrafford wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:10 am
Send a soil sample and get a look at what’s taking place down there. It could be a low CEC (probably not, but maybe). If I had to guess simply based on your descriptions, nematodes might be the issue. They love sandy soil and will eat all of the finer roots so that the plant has nothing to use in the uptake of water.

So grab some cores (get quite a few because it’s 2 tests) and ask for a nutrient analysis (ensure cec is included in that test) and have a nematode assay done.

Probing the soil to make sure you have no hidden treasures isn’t a bad idea either. If you do probe, get a core and put a drop of water on the core, if it beads up, you have a hydrophobic soil - another, easier, issue to correct.
SoilSaavy test is en route actually, they seemed to test for more nutrients than UFL does. Nematodes are definitely a concern, especially since much of the neighborhood seems to be experiencing the same issues I am. I've thought about purchasing some of the Beneficial Nematodes from Amazon to see if that would help things out at all, but haven't seen many people use those other than the reviews from their site. As far as the soil goes, definitely not hydrophobic, it actually absorbs water too quickly being such a fine sand (which was part of the reason for switching to R-VAN nozzles to slow down the precipitation rate a bit).

caddyshack4reel wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 7:04 am
Have you tried any wetting agents? (Lesco Moisture Manager)
I have not, also have never heard of these. What are the benefits?

jayhawk wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 7:53 am
Just speculating possibilities.....fungal "root rot"

Something is not right, empire is not that needy
I most definitely had the same thought. Fungicide was put down earlier this morning at a curative rate over half of the yard experiencing these issues. If it works, i'll do the other half also.

SCGrassMan wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 10:44 am
If you have irrigation, I’d set cups out all over and see how much water you’re putting out.

Drought tolerant just means it doesn’t completely die with lack of water. Doesn’t mean it will look good or not go dormant.
I have the Orbit catch cups, and have tested twice since installing the new nozzles (once immediately after installation, a second time after balancing coverage as best as possible). Uniformity could use a little work in a few areas, but for the most part they have decent coverage...at least nothing like you're seeing in your yard. The worst zone for me in the Hydrorain calculator had me at 68%, and the best was at 82% uniformity.


Thanks everyone for the thoughts and comments thus far...it's definitely going to be an interesting year trying to get this lawn to recover before deciding to scrap it and installing St. Augustine.

solodogg
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by solodogg » Sat May 18, 2019 4:10 pm

Same location, same time as yesterday. Only change is a 45 minute irrigation session this morning...


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I’m starting to think switching to 20-30 minute irrigation on a daily basis is going to be the better option for me and this yard.
Last edited by solodogg on Sat May 18, 2019 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

viva_oldtrafford
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by viva_oldtrafford » Sat May 18, 2019 4:34 pm

solodogg wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 4:10 pm
Same location, same time as yesterday. Only change is a 45 minute irrigation session this morning...


Image

I’m starting to think switching to 20-30 minute irrigation on a daily basis is going to be the better option for me and this yard.
This screams nematodes to me. Keep an eye on it. Perhaps the longer run times are the fix (maybe cec is too low), but getting an immediate response after an irrigation, followed by the unexplained “heat stress” is definitely a nematode related issue. I had high sting counts on 2-3
of my greens last year...I could do everything and get very little feedback. Pulled cores; sting were 7x threshold...applied indemnify, and now it all looks the same.

If you do go the tode route, make sure the beneficial todes can deal with endoparasitic / ectoparasitic todes. Lance and sting reside in different areas.

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SCGrassMan
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by SCGrassMan » Sat May 18, 2019 9:41 pm

@viva_oldtrafford do you just apply stuff for them or do you test from them?
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viva_oldtrafford
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by viva_oldtrafford » Sun May 19, 2019 4:57 am

SCGrassMan wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 9:41 pm
@viva_oldtrafford do you just apply stuff for them or do you test from them?
Test first. Indemnify is $1,700 for a 17oz bottle (1 acre), so you want to ensure you have them first. Second, you need the right product. Indemnify is a fantastic product for sting nematodes, but it wont hurt lance nematodes, you would need to use a different product.

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SCGrassMan
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by SCGrassMan » Sun May 19, 2019 7:55 am

😲😲😲
2019 Lawn Journal:
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=7338

viva_oldtrafford
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by viva_oldtrafford » Sun May 19, 2019 8:15 am

SCGrassMan wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 7:55 am
😲😲😲
Hah, yep. Indemnify can replaced with exterris stressgard (same ai) to have significant cost savings, but it’s still a pricey fix. For a homeowner, it’s cost prohibitive, but for the golf course / field manager, it’s a vital, necessary tool. Hopefully op just needs a nice dose of OM to the profile!

UFG8RMIKE
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by UFG8RMIKE » Sun May 19, 2019 1:01 pm

When does indemnify go generic? 1700 bucks is absurd.

.

viva_oldtrafford
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by viva_oldtrafford » Sun May 19, 2019 1:40 pm

UFG8RMIKE wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:01 pm
When does indemnify go generic? 1700 bucks is absurd.

.
Very good question. It’s been out for 3 years now, so it still has a while. It shares the same ai as exterris stressgard, so a lot of guys just go that route.

I think the quickest price reduction will come via competition. Right now, indemnify holds the belt for the best / only tool to combat sting nematodes. Once other competitors find an another ai, it will drop.

We lost nemacur (very dangerous, but highly effective) nematacide in 2016, indemnify filled that void.

Greendoc
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by Greendoc » Sun May 19, 2019 3:29 pm

viva_oldtrafford wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:40 pm
UFG8RMIKE wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 1:01 pm
When does indemnify go generic? 1700 bucks is absurd.

.
Very good question. It’s been out for 3 years now, so it still has a while. It shares the same ai as exterris stressgard, so a lot of guys just go that route.

I think the quickest price reduction will come via competition. Right now, indemnify holds the belt for the best / only tool to combat sting nematodes. Once other competitors find an another ai, it will drop.

We lost nemacur (very dangerous, but highly effective) nematacide in 2016, indemnify filled that void.
I never had a nematode problem in lawns until Diazinon got pulled from the market. Normal treatment for Armyworm and Sod Webworm was Diazinon 4E or the 25% EC if a homeowner DIYd it.

Empire is very susceptible to nematodes. Other sign you have a problem is issues with Large Patch and Pythium

UFG8RMIKE
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by UFG8RMIKE » Sun May 19, 2019 7:19 pm

Plz keep us updated on results w whatever u end up discovering and treating with.

.

solodogg
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by solodogg » Mon May 20, 2019 1:50 am

Any thoughts on Nimitz for nematode control if that’s what the issue is found to be? From what little research I’ve done, it seems Nimitz targets more than Indemnify does, at a much lower cost as well. I have 6500 square feet, so one 40lb. bucket of Nimitz will allow 2 of the higher rate apps per their directions.

For the time being, I’ve adjusted the irrigation to 30 minutes per zone daily until the city starts complaining... :lol:

Greendoc
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Re: Help with Empire Zoysia in sugar sandy CFL

Post by Greendoc » Mon May 20, 2019 2:45 am

If you can get it, Nimitz Pro G is a good option

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