Help this newbie with trying out Zoysia please


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Hi everyone. First-time a poster and a relative newbie to lawn knowledge.

I'm thinking about Zoysia for our backyard. Currently, just dirt as I've killed off all the weeds and previous Tall Fescue.
It seems like 90% of the lawns are Tall Fescue around here.

I live in the inland area of Southern California. Specifically around the Riverside area. Zip code 92883 if you want to look at my temperature data for the year. In the summer, temps are regularly over 100 and can peak at 110 a few times. In the winter, we can get an occasional dip into the 30s at night, but nighttime temps are usually in the 40-50s and daytime in the 60s-70s, with heat waves a few times up into the 80s and 90s in the day. My backyard gets full sun, not much shade, all day.

I have irrigation, so water is not an issue. A couple of questions:

1. Can it survive the 110-degree peaks in the summer.?

2. Will it go dormant in the winter here since our temps don't get very low for long periods?

3. I can't seem to find it as sod here unless somebody has some sources that I don't know about. So I was thinking about mail-order plugs. And of course, the first company that comes up when searching is Zoysia Farm Nurseries: Testimonials: Southwest

I remember seeing their ads in magazines decades ago.

4. Any difference between the 1" vs 3" plugs?

The cost won't be much for this as it's about 650sq feet.

5. What's the easiest way to get the lawn level if I'm doing this myself?

I don't think I want to do seeds.

6. Looking at the pics below, if I use sod, should I add more dirt to get closer to the level of the concrete, or will the sod bring it up high enough?

7. If I use plugs, should I add more dirt?

Thanks in advance everyone! I can get more pics for you if needed.

You can zoom in with this link if desired.



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Zoysia will die in 110 degree temperure. Saint Augustine Sod would be better for quicker growing in hot temps. You want a slight slant so the excess water will run off. It would be in your best interest to take soil samples to the local university and have it tested before planting anything. Don't worry about raising the soil to the curb because the grass will grow equally as high.​

 
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Got it. Did the soil sample. Interestingly, no CA university to soil sampling anymore. But...aren't all the golf courses in the SoCal desert areas, like Palm Springs, Zoysia?
 
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If you can maintain golf course conditions you can too, however, to grow Zoysia in golf course conditions requires a near-perfect soil pH, with complete nutrient availability and water management. When I say water management I mean modifying water pH with an acid injector before it hits the ground. New golf courses transport their soils in from other locations for matching the best soils with the grass they use. You compare your yard with a golf course-maintained landscape as most people do without knowing a thing about golf course maintenance. Let me make a suggestion to you. Walk around your area you live and look at what people use the most with the most success. That's your answer.
 
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Thank you very much for the information. I appreciated it. You've been the most informative of any of the information anybody has given me. In my area, as I mentioned in my post, the only thing anybody ever uses is Tall Fescue. It's the only thing sold locally at most sod farms as well as big box stores. I want to avoid Tall Fescue again because of it's tendency to clump and look ugly in small spots where it may die off. Occasionally people will use Bermuda, but I don't like the look or feel of Bermuda at all..
 
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Zoysia will die in 110 degree temperure. Saint Augustine Sod would be better for quicker growing in hot temps. You want a slight slant so the excess water will run off. It would be in your best interest to take soil samples to the local university and have it tested before planting anything. Don't worry about raising the soil to the curb because the grass will grow equally as high.​



I took a look at St. Augustine. It doesn't appear to be a substitute for Zoysia in terms of its "feeling". Meaning, it appears to be a stiff, hard sort of blade. Not soft at all.

I'm trying to find a grass that will not "clump" like Tall Fescue when area's die out for one reason or another (like if I half to pull a clump of weeds out), but that can handle the occasional 110 degree day. In the summer here, temps of 100-105 are common. 110 is rare.
 
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The VERY BEST grass for you is Hybrid Bermuda. Without any doubt or discussion. It needs less water than any other grass except Buffalograss, which looks like thin Bermudagrass. Yes, Zoysia and St Augustine do just fine in our hot summers and all four ( Bermuda, Zoysia, Buffalo and St Augustine ) will go dormant in the winter. Zoysia stays dormant longer than the others.
The only evergreen grass that does well in SoCal is Tall Fescue, it just needs at least twice as much water.
Almost any independent retail nursery can order St Augustine or Bermuda sod for you. Armstrong Garden Center definitely.
 
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The TIF series of Bermuda are famous around here in the Southeast. They do not look like common Bermuda. I see a newish one called TifTuf Bermuda that is highly drought resistant in terms of maintaining its green color under drought conditions. I am not as familiar with its provenance. Zoysia, like St Aug or Burmuda, grows in part above ground from stolons unlike fescue. TifLawn and Tif Green are two hardy versions of Bermuda that have respectively a short and shortest fine blade. Stolon growth is a big deal for some soil types like our acid clay. Night temps play a bigger part if you live at a higher or mountain sized elevation. We are not quite 600f above sea level at the local airport. On the other hand, the fescue makes thatch and as it is removed a common trick is to aerate and reseed at that time for a smooth appearance. No matter what I have tried in terms of heat resistant fescue, it burns away by the end of our long season. Titan has some interesting fescue hybrids that may have addressed your concerns.
 
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