Q: How do I know if I got authentic EMPIRE Turf?
You will know you are getting the “real deal” if you buy your EMPIRE from one of our Authorized Distributors. Visit the “Where to Buy” section of our website to find an Authorized Distributor near you. While it is possible to buy real EMPIRE from someone not on the list, we will not be able to verify if it’s the real thing.
Q: Should I fertilize my new EMPIRE Turf lawn and if so, what kind?
You should use a starter fertilizer that is low in Nitrogen and higher in Phosphorus and Potassium. This “transplant friendly” regimen will help reduce the shock and minimize disease.
Q: Are there any other chemicals I should put on the newly installed grass, like herbicide for weeds, insecticide for pests or fungicide to prevent fungus?
Insecticide and broad-spectrum fungicides are fine to put down on newly installed EMPIRE. Wait on any herbicide applications until the grass is rooted in or established. Putting down herbicide before establishment can be harmful to the grass.
Q: When will my new lawn be ready to mow?
Mow within 10 days of installation and bag clippings for the first few mowings. New installations are often uneven and care should be taken not to “scalp” any high spots.
Q: You recommend lowering the mower and giving the EMPIRE Turf a “buzz cut” to mow off the thatch layer once per year. Should I do this with a new EMPIRE Turf lawn?
Not until it is a mature lawn. Your EMPIRE Turf lawn shouldn’t have much thatch since it is coming from a turf farm, so this method of de-thatching is not needed. Plus, your new lawn is in a “shocked” state, having just had roots cut at the sod farm. It will be trying to send down new roots into the soil. Scalping the lawn will add extra stress to an already stressed turfgrass. You should wait until your lawn is mature, approximately one year old before beginning to “scalp” the lawn the first mowing of spring.
Q: What height should I mow my EMPIRE Turf lawn?
You should maintain your EMPIRE lawn optimally between 1 – 2 ½ inches. Heights above 2 ½ inches will begin to reduce turf quality and encourage thatch buildup. Thatch can lead to turfgrass disease and creates the perfect environment for insects.
Q: How much water does my EMPIRE Turf lawn need?
An established EMPIRE Turf lawn needs approximately 1 inch of water per week, either from natural rainfall or irrigation. EMPIRE in shady areas will not need as much water. However, for soils with heavy sand content, it’s possible that the grass will need more than 1 inch per week because the soil wont hold enough moisture.
Q: You say EMPIRE Turf needs about 1 inch of water per week during the active growing season. Is this always the case?
This is primarily the case but it does depend on what soil type you have. Some very sandy soils that don’t hold water well may need more than one inch per week. Turfgrass health always begins with the soil you have and we recommend you get a soil analysis done every couple of years to know if you need to make any amendments. There are steps you can take to help your soil retain more water.
Q: Does EMPIRE Turf use less water than other grasses?
EMPIRE Turf doesn’t use less water than other grasses. What makes it more drought-hardy is that, when it stops getting water it will go into dormancy and not die like other grass varieties can. When the water returns, EMPIRE will green back up in a number of days. EMPIRE Turf will probably need about 1 inch of water per week in the active growing season either from irrigation or natural rainfall to look good, much less to simply survive.
Q: What kind of fertilizer do you recommend and when should I put it down?
A local lawn care store in your area might have some specific recommendations that they know work well with EMPIRE, but generically, we recommend a fertilizer in the spring with a 1-0-1 ratio (like a 15-0-15) and in the fall, a fertilizer with a 1-0-2 ratio (like an 8-0-16.) Again the numbers are Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potassium. These are generic recommendations that are meant to work for a wide area, from California to Florida. Again, it’s always good to check with a local lawn care professional about specific fertilizers for EMPIRE in your particular climate and soil conditions. We always recommend getting your soil tested every couple of years to know if you need any amendments. The health of the grass starts in the soil.
Q: I have brown areas showing up in my lawn? What are these?
Like any other turfgrass, when conditions are right, EMPIRE Turf is susceptible to turfgrass disease. You might have a disease or fungus in your lawn if patchy brown areas begin to show up. We recommend two applications of preventative fungicide per year, in the spring and fall, to ward off disease. But sometimes, in cool, wet conditions, lawns can still get disease. If you believe you have a lawn disease, you can apply topical fungicide to the lawn. In order for it to be fully effective, you will have to repeat the step once or twice more, each time waiting 2-3 weeks in between applications.
Q: My lawn company tells me my EMPIRE lawn needs to be de-thatched? What is this?
EMPIRE Turf has a dense, tight canopy which is a good thing because it helps to choke-out weeds and promote overall turf health. However, because of this dense canopy, new grass grows over the old which becomes thatch (the dead brown grass that is under the healthy green top.) De-thatching is a good idea. One way to avoid having to use an actual de-thatching machine is to “scalp” your EMPIRE Turf lawn once per year. This should be done to mature EMPIRE lawns only. Usually the best time to do this is the first mowing of the year when chances for the last freeze are over and EMPIRE is ready to come out of dormancy. Drop you mower a notch and cut that thatch layer off and either bag or rake away the clippings. This will make your EMPIRE green up faster and will take care of most of the thatch for the rest of the growing season.
Q: What is the difference between EMPIRE Turf and St. Augustine grass which is found throughout the South?
EMPIRE is a zoysia japonica a wide-bladed variety that is very durable and drought tough. St. Augustine grasses run only on top of the ground using stolons. EMPIRE has stolons and does spread above ground, but also runs underground with rhizomes. It has a robust defense mechanism called dormancy when water is shut off for a long period of time. St. Augustine grasses will hold their color longer when the water is stopped, but when they start turning brown, they are dying.
Q: Does EMPIRE Turf stay green year-round?
No. EMPIRE Turf is a warm-season turfgrass variety meaning it will go into dormancy when the weather turns colder in fall and winter. The duration will depend on a number of factors like your location, rainfall amounts, etc.
Q: How well will EMPIRE handle shady areas?
EMPIRE Turf has a moderate shade tolerance. We usually recommend that it needs 4-5 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. I will require more than that if is filtered sunlight through branches. Like all grasses, EMPIRE needs sunlight to survive and will begin to thin out if it isn’t getting the sunlight that it needs. Other considerations are the amount of tree roots beneath the grass and the competition for nutrients.
Q: Is EMPIRE resistant to pet urine?
No grass is immune to the effects of pet urine. Some varieties will recover from damage faster than others. There are supplements on the market now that can be added to your pet’s food to help neutralize the high pH levels in urine that can damage grass. However, we haven’t tried these and aren’t sure of their effectiveness. They make a wide variety of different varieties that you can find at your local pet store or online.
Q: If I put EMPIRE in a lawn and the neighbor has another grass type, will EMPIRE take over their grass?
EMPIRE Turf is very rugged variety that spreads with both above ground stolons and below ground rhizomes. That said, it is not as aggressive a grower as a bermudagrass. EMPIRE should not encroach into your neighbor’s lawn if maintained properly.
Q: Does EMPIRE Turf like full sun?
EMPIRE Turf, like all grasses, love full sunlight. Remember when EMPIRE Turf and other grasses are grown on sod farms, there isn’t a tree anywhere near the fields to provide shade. EMPIRE and other grasses will perform in sunlight. It is shade that causes issues for turfgrass.
Q: Do chinch bugs infest EMPIRE Turf?
No, EMPIRE Turf is naturally chinch bug resistant. Chinch bugs don’t seem to like the taste of EMPIRE.
Q: How do I identify insects that I see in my yard?
Watch the video below on insect identification or check with a local extension agent or lawn care professional.