Emerald vs. Zenith

Emerald vs. Zenith

flounder – posted 10 May 2007 14:36

I live in Durham, NC. I am trying to decide if I should go with either Emerald or Zenith Zoysia sod. My yard is 500 sq ft and flat. Mostly sunny (5-7 direct). I only have a Brill manual reel mower. The sod folks tell me both will be fine, but I know there has to be a slight difference in hardiness, pest and disease resistance, and maintenance. Also, my mower will only go to 1.8″ high. Is this too low for newly installed Zoysia? I know you can cut it down to 1/2″, but I don’t want to shock it right away. Thanks for any thoughts.

TexanOne – posted 10 May 2007 15:50

Zenith will have to be cut higher than ½” no matter what you read. Zenith seems to prefer a cutting height of around 2” – 3”, or it will eventually burn and die out. I recommend you go with Emerald of the two choices given.

flounder – posted 10 May 2007 17:30

thanks for the info. i don’t actually plan on cutting it to 0.5″. i just can’t go more than 1.8″. although, the Brill is only 17 lbs, so it may sit up on the grass/thatch…not sure if this is good or bad.

TexanOne – posted 11 May 2007 14:29

The Zenith may do just fine for you in North Carolina cut at 1.8” – not sure. From my 8 years of experience with Zenith in Texas, Zenith suffers very much from hot, dry weather conditions and poor-quality irrigation water. Zenith also seems to perform better if the stolons and rhizomes are shaded from intense sunshine with higher mowing (>1.5”).

I had a beautiful 4,000 sq ft Zenith lawn for several years, but most of it has died out and was taken over by the much more adaptable Texas Common St Augustine. Zenith may be a premium turfgrass in the mid-Atlantic and southeast states, but it’s certainly marginal in a hot / arid climate such as western Texas.

About 15 years ago, a misinformed nursery worker sold me several yards of “fine-textured buffalograss” that I installed on the east side of my house (morning sun / afternoon shade). After a few years, I discovered this buffalograss was actually Emerald Zoysia and it performed very well – much better than the Zenith. However, you and I have drastically different climate / water conditions, so my advice may be like comparing apples to oranges…

Hopefully someone with experience in your region will jump in and offer some tips and advice for you. Good Luck!

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