Zenith is the progeny of three parent plants which have yellow-white flowers. Each parent was selected for superior attributes such as leaf texture, color, disease resistance, drought tolerance, fall color retention, uniform color when dormant, and early spring green up.
Zenith is in the Japonica family, as is Meyer Zoysia, and is similar to Meyer in many respects, including blade width and color. It is somewhat less dense, thus making it easier to mow and providing a better opportunity for interseeding with tall fescues for year-round color. Zenith grows well in full sun or under light shade, and is presumed to have good cold tolerance.
When compared with turf produced by Japonica seed imported from the Orient, Zenith is far superior in appearance with a finer blade, brighter color, better rust resistance, much better fall color and earlier spring green up.
Planted shallow on a newly prepared seedbed and watered frequently, Zenith germinates readily, producing a stand of seedlings in as little as 10 days. Like all Zoysias, it grows and spreads slowly, and therefore seeding rates of one to three pounds per 1,000 square feet are recommended. Even so, users are cautioned to not expect an establishment rate com-parable to seeded Bermudas, ryegrasses, fescues and other fast growing grasses.
Cost Comparison: Zoysia sod would be a bargain at $400.00 per 1,000 square feet, plus the cost of installation on a prepared, fertilized seedbed. The cost of Zenith seed for the same area is in the $30 to $60 range.
· best adapted turf for the transition zone
· low water requirement
· low nutrition requirement
· winter hardy
· less frequent mowing required -- from 1 to 2 inches -- with either reel or rotary mowers
· dense turf resists weeds
When to Plant
The best time to plant is after the last frosts are expected and when soil temperatures are up to 70 degrees F (22° C). Seeding is safe in late spring and summer up to 60 days before expected frost in the lower South and 90 days before frost farther North.
Seedbed Preparation & Planting
Prepare a level, loose seedbed free of sticks and stones. Lime as needed to produce a pH of 5.8 to 6.5 (add 50 lbs. dolomitic limestone per 1,000 square feet if pH is not known). Apply 10 to 15 lbs. of 5-10-15 or similar analysis fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. All grasses perform better where lime and fertilizer is tilled deeply into the soil.
DO NOT USE ANY TYPE PRE-EMERGE WEED CONTROL FOR AT LEAST 90 DAYS BEFORE SEEDING. ROUNDUP SPRAYED TO KILL EXISTING VEGETATION DURING SEEDBED PREPARATION IS SAFE.
Broadcast the seed uniformly at a rate of one to three pounds per 1,000 square feet (45 to 100 lbs. per acre). Rake lightly to mix the seed into the top one-quarter inch of soil (adequate light speeds Zoysia seed germination; therefore the seed do not want much soil cover). Roll if a roller is available.
Water up to four times daily to keep the surface CONSTANTLY MOIST. Many weed seeds germinate quicker with less water than Zoysia, so the idea is to get the Zoysia up and growing along with quicker germinating, faster growing weeds that would otherwise suppress it.
To Mature A Turf
Zenith Zoysia is a lifetime lawn. Like all zoysias, it is much slower to mature a turf than are ryegrasses, fescues, bluegrasses and bermudagrasses. Once a good stand of seedlings is up, reduce watering to once daily or less as needed to keep good moisture in the top three inches of soil. About four weeks after seeding apply a high nitrogen fertilizer every two weeks until it is evident that a good turf will soon mature. Cease fertilization 60 days before freezing temperatures are expected.
Begin mowing at a two inch cut-height when there is anything to mow, including weeds. Mowing, plus the dense growth habit of Zenith, will destroy many weeds. 2,4-D type herbicides are safe when used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
When the Zoysia is completely dormant an application of Roundup will kill existing winter weeds and a late winter or very early spring pre-emergent herbicide application can provide a weed-free lawn.
Mowing And Fertilizing
Zenith looks best when regularly cut with SHARP mower blades (reel or rotary) at a height of 1 1/2 inches in full sun, or two to 2 1/2 inches under light to moderate shade. Once established, Zenith will produce good ground cover up to six inches tall with little or no mowing. Never reduce cut-height radically--never remove more than one-third of the foliage at one mowing!
Once a turf is matured Zenith needs a light application of moderate nitrogen fertilizer each summer, or only every other summer on better soils. It can maintain good density and color and need cutting only every 10 to 14 days at low fertility levels. Higher fertilizer levels produce deeper color, but more growth means more frequent mowing.
Clippings need to be removed only when unsightly or very heavy.
Disease and Insects
Zenith has good resistance to most diseases. Some rust may be expected in cool spring weather and other leaf diseases may show up in hot, humid weather, but the grass will usually overcome same if water and fertility levels are minimized. Soil insects such as grubs and mole crickets limit the desirability of zoysias in Florida and the Coastal Plain of the Southeast (they plague other grasses also) and bill bugs can be a problem anywhere. Consult a local lawn expert or the County Extension Service for control advice.
ZENITH MOWING HEIGHT EVALUATION STUDY: One of many observation and comparative evaluation studies on Zenith Zoysia. The above plot, in its third year under light shade on a low fertility sandy loam soil has determined that:
while any cut height from one inch to 2 1/2 inches is satisfactory, Zenith when cut with a rotary mower looks best more months of the year if the mower is set at 1 1/2 inches;
that while once a week cutting produces the best turf, Zenith can go without mowing up to 14 days during the peak of the growing season;
that when compared to Meyer Zoysia Zenith is easier to mow, stays green later in the fall and greens up earlier, is equal or superior in leaf disease resistance and only slightly less attractive when Meyer is at its absolute best; and that Zenith will thrive when fertilized only every other year during the summer.