ZOYSIA GRASS CUT DOWN
Every spring we discuss cutting our Zoysia by doing a “Cut Down” or “Buzz Cut”. A cut down is the process of cutting the grass extremely low. You will remove most all that is green and some of the decaying material from last year’s growth and the natural winter decline. In the past years, we have worked to fine tune our service programs to avoid this labor intensive and messy project. Most lawns will only need what is called a buzz cut. This is a tight cut with a goal of 1 to 1.5 inches. The primary reason for this is to reduce thatch buildup. This also shortens the grass to allow for a seasonal growth spirt that will affect the appearance of the lawn all year.
When you cut Zoysia this close, the lawn will be mostly brown. It will look like the lawn will die. You are truly scalping the lawn on purpose. Because it will look so bad and many landscapers just do not understand it is a critical part of caring for Zoysia we have found it extremely difficult to get them to cut the way it should be done. Assure them you know they will cut all the green away leaving very little behind except runners. It will recover in a few weeks and if the lawn had not been mowed at the correct height in the past this is the only time of year and way to get rid of that “Shaggy” look. Just like a bad haircut it will grow back. Do not assume your landscaper knows this needs to be done. Many simply do not understand how important this is. If it does not get done in the spring the look of your lawn will suffer.
Many of you will not be required to do a cut down or buzz cut but for those that do we have some changes in your watering program that should help to expedite the “grow in” of your Zoysia.
For those lawns that need a buzz cut or a complete cut down watering after the process should be done as though the lawn was a new install. Water every day for 10 minutes per zone. Practice this for 7 to 10 days or until you see green grass beginning to grow again. Then reduce the watering to your normal frequency. The cut down is extremely stressful and keeping the stems and runners moist during the recovery is critical. We have found in this situation a daily short watering is the best way to ward off additional damage.
This extra watering may generate more weed growth but we will work diligently to correct this as soon as the turf is strong enough to handle herbicides.
Temperatures will also play a key role in how quickly the lawn recovers. Zoysia grows extremely slow in cool weather. We recommend waiting to do your cut down or buzz cut until the overnight temperatures are averaging 70 degrees. The forecast is that March temperatures will be about average to slightly above average. You may want to plan your cut down for around mid-March.
When doing a cut down or a buzz cut we do recommend that you bag the grass that is removed. There will be a lot of material removed and leaving it on the ground will smother the grass resulting in excessive damage.
March is when we do the granular spring feeding. We would prefer to fertilize after the cut down or buzz cut is completed. We will do our best to communicate with all our Zoysia customers prior to doing your granular fertilization application. If you have any questions or concerns please call our office or if you rather we can schedule a consultation.
Zoysia cut down from four inches to 1 inch.
We thought we would share the progression of a lawn getting its spring cut down. This lawn had gotten extremely tall. So to get where the owner wanted to be, it needed to be cut down before we could start our services.
This photo shows the height of the lawn in mid-March.
This photo shows the lawn prior to the cut down. While is doesn't look bad it would be in horrible condition by July due to scalping and not being able to raise the mower higher.
This photo shows what the lawn looked like after cut down. Believe it or not this was a beautiful sight as you will see next.
This photo shows the height of the grass post cut down.
This photo shows the lawn after three weeks of out care. It will just keep getting better. The best part is this lawn will look like this until we get the first cold snap in the fall. Next year it will only need a buzz cut which is much easier and less costly.
Proper care of a Zoysia lawn includes this mowing practice to remove thatch and stems. If you ever look closely at Zoysia you will see it grows on a stem, and the blades grow at the top of the stem. If you can imagine a tree with its trunk and canopy way up in the air. Bring that down to one inch and that is how Zoysia grows. The big difference is that you can cut the Zoysia stem off at the soil level and it will grow back in better shape then when you started. The longer that the stem gets, the worse your grass will look.