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May 1, 2017

QuestionMy Zoysia lawn has a great crop of tiny oak trees growing in it.  Is there anything I can do to kill the oak seedlings, without hurting my Zoysia lawn?  Hand-pulling them would be a tedious process, since they seem to be everywhere.  I have never had this problem before, what caused it and how can I prevent it from reoccurring?



Many parts of the state had bumper crops of acorns last fall.  When you have a good crop of acorns falling, you typically have a good crop of oak seedlings.  Some sprouted last fall, and others are popping up this spring.  If you keep them mowed, that should take care of the problem.  When they first germinate they produce what are called cotyledons, or seed leaves.  If these seed leaves get mowed down before they produce another set of leaves, there will be no extra food produced and the plant will die.  If they have produced several sets of leaves it may take several mowings to eradicate them.  Herbicides used for broad leaf weeds, such as 2,4-D can also work, but shouldn’t be necessary unless they are well-established.  White oaks produce acorns every year, while red oaks take two years to produce their crop. I think both trees have ample acorns this year. Fruit set is determined by the growing season and the weather. 


February 1, 2017

QuestionMy husband was wondering if he could put out Roundup on dormant Zoysia grass to kill the weeds that have come up so far this winter.


AnswerNO! Round-up could do damage even to dormant Zoysia grass.  Zoysia grass looks the most straw-like during the winter of almost any lawn grass we grow but it has green near the soil line.  The only grass that Round-up can ever be applied to in the dormant stage is Bermuda, and then only when it is good and dormant.  If you have broadleaf weeds now, consider using a product containing 2,4-D.


October 24, 2015

QuestionI live in Rogers and have a zoysia grass lawn. We have a sprinkler system but turned it off about October 1 when the grass stopped growing and it hasn't been mowed since then. My question is: Since we've had no rain in the last 6 weeks, should we turn the system back on? I know my sister in Little Rock is still watering 4 days a week. Even if we continue watering, I don't think it would induce the grass to start growing again. Your opinion is greatly appreciated. 



I am watering weekly as well and praying for rain. I would assume you have shrubs in addition to a zoysia lawn, and while we may not have much growth now, they still need water. We were at 92 degrees this week, and I am mowing every 2-3 weeks. I turn off my sprinkler after a killing frost.


(May 2012)

QuestionWe are having a problem with dead patches in our lawn. We have had a lawn service for 3 years who fertilize every 4 months and apply weed pre-emergence once a year. I understand dead patches from weed killer, but it keeps getting worse. My husband attached a grass catcher to our mower, this being the 3rd summer. My question is whether the weed pre-emergence or the grass catcher could be causing the problem or even both of them. I have heard that grass clippings should be left on the ground - also, that the clippings should be raked up.......I hope you can help with my thoughts & concerns.

AnswerDead patches in lawns can be caused by a number of things, from over-application of fertilizers and herbicides, to insects and diseases, and in cold winters, winter damage. Shade is also a factor in how well a lawn grows—grass does not do well in the shade. The type of lawn grass you are growing can also impact how much traffic it can take and how much fertilization it needs. I like to recycle lawn clippings. As long as you are mowing frequently, and not removing more than one third of the lawn grass at a time, you shouldn’t have to bag your grass clippings. The grass clippings can actually add nutrition back to the soil. If the grass gets tall in between mowing leaving behind heavy accumulations of wet grass, then bag or rake, since the clumps of dead grass could damage your lawn, and they are unsightly. Fertilizing every 4 months is a bit odd for a fertilization program. Normally we recommend waiting until the lawn is totally green and then fertilizing. If you grow St. Augustine or Zoysia, you could get by with one application of fertilizer per year, or you could apply one more application midsummer or late summer depending on the amount of moisture we have and how hot it is. Bermuda grass will tolerate fertilizer every month from May through August, but you will mow like crazy, so you may want to only fertilize twice a year. Take a sample of your dying grass to your local county extension office to see if they can determine the cause.

(April 2012)

QuestionWhat I thought was crab grass in my yard has been identified by a yard professional as Dallas grass, which I had never heard of. Apparently, it doesn’t grow from a seed. My questions are: where does it come from and, short of digging it up, how do I get rid of it?

AnswerDallisgrass is a perennial grass. While it does bloom and set seed, which it can germinate from, it comes back from the root system each year, making it a more tenacious weed than the annual crabgrass which comes up only from seed each year. You didn’t say what type of lawngrass you are growing. If you have Bermuda or Zoysia grass, then wait until the Dallisgrass and lawn have fully greened up and treat with the same herbicides you would use to kill crabgrass—two brand names include Weed-Hoe or Weed-B-Gon Crabgrass Killer for Lawns. It may take more than one application, but you can control it.

(Oct. 2010)

QuestionOur yard was sodded with Zoysia this year. The yard was somewhat shaded, so we had the trees trimmed up 10-12 feet so sun could shine through. We have had no rain but we do have a sprinkler system and do water every other day, however the sod is dying. I guess we will have to re-sod next spring. What do you suggest for a yard that has 3 large oak trees in it-- Zoysia, St. Augustine or what? The yard before the drought was green.

AnswerIt has been a tough season for gardening and continues to be dry. How much are you watering every other day? For newly laid sod we normally water a little bit every day to establish roots, then start increasing the amount of water but applying it less frequently. I suppose it is possible the grass is going dormant early, but you will have to gauge how well it comes back next spring before deciding to re-sod. St. Augustine is probably the most shade tolerant of the warm season grasses, followed by centipede and Zoysia.

(June 2008)

QuestionWhat is the best time of year to install a new zoysia yard?

AnswerZoysia grass can be grown from seed or sod, but most people sod their lawn. Sodding can be done twelve months out of the year, but I prefer to do it from spring through early summer to take advantage of the actively growing months, which should aid in faster root establishment.

(June 2010)

QuestionWe live in Mena. Our side lawn was pretty much destroyed by the uprooting of a dozen mature trees by the April 2009 tornado. In November 2009 we replaced the lawn with Zoysia turf. The adjoining front lawn has St Augustine. Bermuda grass is prevalent on all sides at the edges and interspersed in places. It moves aggressively into bare spots. In order to fill in areas where there is still no turf I am encouraging the Bermuda grass. THE QUESTION: Is Bermuda grass the turf of champions as it is so often portrayed or the invasive weed that my wife would like to ban from the lawn so as to protect her gardens? How would Zoysia, St Augustine and Bermuda grass coexist? We both recognize its aggressive nature -I as a benefit; she as a liability. I do not believe that I would be willing or able to ever gain complete control over it, so would prefer to take a "if you can't fight it, join it " attitude.

AnswerBermuda grass is the most aggressive grass when grown in full sun. It is the least adapted to shade. If you have full sun, I would encourage it, since it will grow nicely and would be hard to kill. It will blend in nicely with Zoysia, but St. Augustine is much more coarse in texture and actually doesn't like competition or traffic. I would make sure you keep a buffer zone between the lawn and the flower beds to help manage its spread and keep it from becoming a problem in the flower beds.

(April 2010)

QuestionI have tried and failed numerous times over the years to get either Zoysia or St. Augustine sod to grow on the north side of my home (in the alley between our home and the house next door). My wife and I have decided to consider a ground cover of some type in lieu of grass. Could you possibly point us in the direction of some appropriate types of ground cover for this area which has little, if any, sunshine, year round?

AnswerSeveral choices come to mind, including moss as mentioned in earlier columns. If you want a grass look-alike there is Mondo grass (Ophiopogon) and Liriope or monkey grass--if there are strong borders limiting growth you can use Liriope spicata--the running form, but it can be invasive; the clumping form is Liriope muscarii. Other options include Ajuga, pachysandra, and Creeping Jenny- Lysimachia nummularia--I really like the golden form. Mazus, pratia and ardesia are other choices.

(September 2007)

QuestionWhen I bought my house seven years ago, the front yard was sodded with zoysia. The zoysia flourished for the first couple of years. Now the zoysia is slowly being replaced by Bermuda. Around some of the edges only a few sprigs of zoysia can be seen however, the center of the yard still contains a majority of zoysia. Is there anything I can do to invigorate the zoysia and slow the growth of the Bermuda?

AnswerBermuda tends to be a strong performer in full sun. It is more drought tolerant than zoysia and will perform better in adverse conditions. If more shade encroaches in the yard, the Bermuda will begin to play out. Zoysia needs less nitrogen and can be mowed at a higher setting than Bermuda. There are no chemicals that will kill out one versus the other, so you may just want to learn to live with it.

(September 2006)

QuestionWe are confused. We thought our zoysia grass should be left longer as winter approached. However, we had an article recently in our local newspapers home improvement section that espoused that grass should be short, without scalping, at this time. Please enlighten us.

AnswerYou are correct, the article is wrong. It is possible the article was a wire service story and was dealing with cool season grasses, which are beginning their growing season. For those of us in the south with warm season lawns, we start mowing low in the spring to get rid of the dead over-wintered tops of the lawn. As fall and winter approaches, we gradually raise the height of the lawn to increase root production, and thus winter hardiness. Low mowing or scalping now would expose the lawn to potential winter damage.

(February 2005)

QuestionMy husband was wondering if he could put out Roundup on dormant Zoysia grass to kill the weeds that have come up so far this spring????

AnswerNO! Even though zoysia grass looks the most strawlike during the winter of almost any lawn grass, it has green near the soil line. Round-up or glyphosate products could do damage. The only grass that Round-up can ever be applied to in the dormant stage is Bermuda, and then only when it is good and dormant. If you have broadleaf weeds now, consider using a product containing 2,4-D.

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