Caring for Your Warm-Season Turfgrasses in the Four State Area of Southwest Missouri
Posted on August 8, 2022 by Jeremiah Sooter
Last month you probably recall what turfgrasses grow best in the four states. In keeping with that theme in August, you’ll learn how to best care for your warm-weather turfgrasses.
Helping guide you on the pros and cons of each of the two most popular warm-season turfgrasses in the four-state region:
- Bermuda turf
- Zoysiagrass turf
What You’ll Discover About Your Turfgrass Lawn
Afterward, you’ll better understand your lawn’s specific water requirements. How your turfgrass lawn grows, spreads, and seeds? What’s the best mowing cycle? How and when to weed and feed your turfgrass lawn, and when it’s best to conduct lawn aeration for your turfgrass.
As far as drought tolerant turfgrasses go, Bermudagrass is a homeowner’s best friend. Originating out of Africa, Bermuda was a weed cultivated for lawns and golf courses for the unusual manner in which it grows.
Bermuda spreads in two ways, above and below ground. It branches out and begins to spread with runners known as stolons and rhizomes.
Stolons creep along above ground. Individual stolons have numerous grass nodes that form along the outstretched branch that root in barren areas on your property. On the other hand, rhizomes grow below ground and branch out from the mother plant.
These rhizomes and stolons give Bermuda grass unique characteristics that can lead to this turfgrass’s inevitable pros and cons.
As mentioned before, Bermuda is a drought-tolerant grass, which many homeowners are often grateful for during dry summer months in the four-state area. With a Bermuda lawn, you can expect it to fill in quickly. It also performs well in direct sunlight and extreme heat and is resilient if damaged.
Because it propagates quickly, it can aggressively spread into gardens and flower beds.
Although drought-resistant, it will go dormant if it goes without water for extended periods. Bermuda is known to underperform in shaded areas and go dormant and brown during the winter.
Saturate Bermuda to a depth of six inches and irrigate as needed to help conserve water during droughts.
As a bonus to Bermuda lawns, homeowners benefit from mowing to heights ranging from one to two inches. Also, Bermuda is a hardy grass that requires the blades on a mower to be well sharpened. In addition, there’s no need to bag the grass blades as it provides added nutrients to Bermuda.
Weed and Feed
You can treat your Bermuda lawn for weeds using a pre- and a post-emergent herbicide to control broadleaf weeds. If you nurture your Bermuda lawn on a weekly mowing schedule and water at least twice weekly, your Bermuda lawn will thicken quickly. Because Bermuda is also to be weed resistant and known for choking out invasive weed species.
Bermuda lawns respond well if fertilized in late-Spring after the last frost. Then continue to fertilize your property every six weeks until the first week in September.
Another particular advantage is that Bermudagrass does not need aerating. A three-year study in Oklahoma found that aerating Bermuda reduces its ability spread and grow.
A Zoysiagrass lawn is another popular choice among homeowners in the four-states. If you’re looking for other warm-season turfgrass alternatives, Zoysiagrass is an excellent option. Introduced in the mid-1900s for transition zones throughout the midwest, Zoysia’s origins are out of Korea.
Like Bermuda, Zoysia grass also spreads using stolons and rhizomes. But grows best in the full sun for at least six to eight hours daily. However, it can tolerate and still succeed in shaded areas of your lawn.
When it comes to growing warm-season turfgrass, Zoysia can tolerate high-temperature and cool-temperature days. Making it unique in that it will remain green longer into the Fall season than Bermudagrass.
Because it, too, is highly durable, Zoysia will tolerate moderate amounts of lawn traffic.
Although tolerant of many environmental conditions, Zoysia does not grow fast. For example, if temperatures dip below 55 degrees for longer than two or three days, a Zoysia lawn will begin to brown and go dormant.
Since Zoysiagrass is an excellent choice for drought-tolerant lawn grass, it can go for an extended number of days without being watered. A general rule of thumb is to water once a week in the morning to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, in about 1-hours time, which helps reduce diseases from spreading.
Zoysiagrass spreads best if mowed once weekly to no shorter than a half-inch. In September, it can help to raise the deck on your lawn mower blade a ½-inch to 1-inch in preparation for your lawn to go dormant. Luckily, Zoysiagrass clippings do not need picking up, because, like Bermuda, it too gains vital nutrients from grass clippings.
Weed and Feed
If properly cared for, a Zoysia lawn will aggressively protect itself from invading weeds. Although in the winter months, while Zoysiagrass is dormant, weeds can become problematic. So be sure to apply a herbicide in the Fall to help fight against invasive weeds.
You can also take additional protective steps by applying insecticides. Diseases are easily avoidable with proper care and timely application of lawn fertilizers, but take care not to apply before May or after August.
Although lawn aerating Zoysia is not generally recommended, it can benefit your Zoysia lawn if it has areas of excessive traffic. Aerating those areas will allow water and fertilizers to penetrate the roots to improve establishment.
More importantly, you’ll find that Zoysiagrass benefits more from de-thatching when the thatch exceeds a ½-inch depth. Therefore, you can either use a rake or a vertical mower.
Where to Turn For Lawn Care Maintenance?
As you can see, lawn care maintenance takes a lot of patience. However, if you would like assistance from an expert in lawn care services, reach out to the team at Ground Up Services LLC. They have an experienced team of professionals that have served the four-state region for over 15 years.
Ground Up Services can also help you with any additional yard and drainage service requests, including:
- Drainage Management
- Yard Regrading
- Basement & Foundation Waterproofing
- Landscape Services
Give the team at Ground Up a call today at (417) 439-1009, or schedule your next service appointment now!