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Zoysia Tenuifolia Experiment

An experiment by Bago in Italy, carried out over a period of twelve months. This is the translation of that experiment.

Thank you to Bago for the professional manner in which he produced this experiment. You can also visit his website: www.digg.it Click on Esperimento Verde in the right hand side menu.

Center Of Garden - 12cm Spacing

Zoysia Matrella, variant Tenuifolia (also commercially known as Mascarene Grass, originally from the Mascarene islands) or simply Zoysia Tenuifolia is a grass from the Micro thermal family which thrives in high temperatures, growing only between 25° and 35° C. It tends to become dormant when the temperature drops below 10°. It does not tolerate cold winters and dies at temperature below -10°. For these reasons the planting of the Zoysia at the 44th parallel north is to be considered in all effects an experiment.

On the 10th of July after having worked the soil and adding 2 cm of silica sand to improve drainage of my clay-rich soil, I planted 660 plants, purchased from Erbavoglio Hi-Turf produced by Pacini Maurizio nurseries, with a planting spacing of 21 cm.

I began to photograph my yard every 2 weeks to keep a record of my efforts and to document growth. As can be seen in the photos on the right, after about 2 months of growth the central part (in which the plants were only 12 cm apart) is practically filled in.

It is important to note that I do not have a green thumb or have ever had one. Other grasses planted in my yard were always full of disease, vary rarely mowed and suffered all other imaginable forms of neglect. To have a decent lawn you would have to dedicate all your weekends and if you didn’t have time to care for the lawn, weeds would take hold.

The first two weeks I watered by hand twice a day. After two weeks from planting the Zoysia, I decided to install a watering system, to allow me to go on holidays with peace of mind. I therefore installed a Rainbird (3500).

Up until I left for my holidays (one month after planting) I watered daily. Thereafter I reduced watering to 20 minutes every 2 days (7-10 liters every square meter). On returning from holidays I reduced watering down to (30 minutes every 3 days) to force the Zoysia to look for its own water and stimulate and strengthen the root system for the challenging and difficult winter ahead!

Diagonal Strip Of Garden

Overall View Of Garden From House

Corner Of The Garden
(Slower Growth Due To Lack Of Soil)

It is important to add that the edges of my yard have very little soil (between 10 to 30 cm) and previous grasses suffered during the hotter months in those areas.

For now the Zoysia is growing slower in those areas however, as you can see in the photos on the left. (The dark disc is the irrigator).

Most likely these areas would require another 2-3 months of warmer weather to fully fill in to reach the end of summer 2010, but I am not preoccupied about time. I hope that winter will not be too much of a test.

Zoysia Tenuifolia is splendid both visually and tactilely, there are certainly times when I ask myself if it is real or fake, as it is so thick and luxurious!

At this point my Zoysia HAS TO survive, because I cannot accept another mediocre, infected lawn in need of treatments and remedies.

I am very curious to see the yellowing affect due to dormancy, when it will begin, the process and when it will come back to life next spring!

After the second month some of the plants began to grow considerably in height but little in width, therefore, not sure whether to mow or not to mow, I decided to trim the plants down by half. Armed with my scissors I cut around 4 cm off the top half of the plants!

The last comparison below, was to note over the period of one month (the second month after planting) how the new runners grew, began to take root and sprout leaves.

Growth of Runners Over One Month

I will continue to document the experiment and hope it will be a success and predict the use of this magic grass.

Update – 10 July 2010

View from the driveway, July 8, 2010

I am celebrating the first year of my lawn, which in the last few weeks prior to its first birthday. The lawn has finally achieved a form true to the fame of Zoysia!

As you can see there are still bare areas corresponding the initial planting, however I am very pleased with the results.

By the end of May I kept the lawn mowed very low, and now I have also begun to walk on it, it is a true spectacle!

Due to its thickness the lawn seems fake.

After 12 months there is no difference between the central areas where I planted the thickest plants, so if you decide to try do not go to too much trouble to use thicker plants as it won’t change a thing!

In the comparison below you can see the evolution of the central zone.

The Central Area Where Plants Planted Closer

Here below, however, are the comparisons for the entire period, including snow!

Vertical Comparison Over Twelve Months

Considering that it was one of the coldest winters on record and that summer arrived late I would say that the results far exceeded my expectations and now the scorching heat will complete the job!

Comparison Of Garden As Seen From The House

Both Zoysia tenuifolia and Ophiopogon Japonicus Nana have many Common Names which has always made it difficult to establish which plant to purchase, until now that is!

Here is a comprehenisive list of Common Names for our two products:

Zoysia Tenuifolia
  • No Mow Grass
  • Minmow Grass
  • Petting Grass
  • Korean Grass
  • Temple Grass
  • Velvet Grass
  • Mascarene Grass
  • Korean Lawngrass
  • Japanese Lawngrass
  • Manila Grass
  • Bump Grass
  • Clumping Grass
  • Snake Grass
Ophiopogon Japonicus Nana
  • Dwarf Mondo Grass
  • Mini Mondo Grass
  • Mondo Grass
  • Dwarf Lily Turf
  • Fountain Plant
  • Monkey Grass
  • Dragon's Beard
  • Snake's Beard

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further details about these wonderful grasses.

We supply Zoysia Tenuifolia in 90mm, 100mm, 125mm and 140mm Pots, and we now can supply in Trays which measure 330mm x 330mm.

Dwarf Mondo 01 Korean Grass 02 Dwarf Mondo 03 Korean Grass 04 Korean Grass 05
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