Casey Burns barefoot on his Zorro Zoysia lawn

Casey Burns barefoot on his Zorro Zoysia lawn

by Tom Linehan

Casey Burns on 49th Street has an alternative for St. Augustine – Zorro Zoysia. Scrape up what’s left of the St. Augustine in your yard and replace it with this hearty turf that can actually survive an Austin summer of direct sun.

Two years ago Casey decided to give up on trying to water his yard to keep it from dying. It was a battle he decided he couldn’t win. He set about doing some research on a grass that could survive eight hours of direct sunlight. He came up with is Zorro Zoysia. With normal watering it can take the Austin sun and heat even when we are under Stage 2 water restrictions.

Zoysia requires direct sun and actually grows thinner in the shade. Although the black and white photo doesn’t quite convey how the grass looks, you can tell it is a pretty thick turf with no weeds and fairly evenly distributed. It’s tough; there was no mailman path in his yard.

Casey says the cost of the grass is comparable to the cost for Bermuda grass, which I am told is cheaper than Buffalo Grass – the other drought-tolerant grass that has been suggested. Casey bought three palates of the grass from King Ranch Turf Grass and did all of the work of putting it down himself. He just did the front lawn (1,600 square feet requiring three palates of the zorro zoysia) but plans on doing his backyard as well.

I can attest, it is an attractive yard that is tough and yet pleasant to walk barefoot on. Casey offered to have me try it out myself barefooted but that was not necessary. It was obvious we were standing barefeet-friendly grass. It reminded me of grass you would find out on a golf-course, and in fact, Casey tells me many golf courses are using it.

The particular type of zoysia he chose – Zorro Zoysia, stays greener longer during the year as opposed to other varieties. Casey said, it usually goes dormant around November and comes back in February. That might be a problem for those of us who are more mowing-averse, but he said he only has to mow about once every 10 days.

I am sure many of you are like me are ready to give up on St. Augustine. I plan on looking into Zoysia. If you have experience with it and want to comment, please click on the comment link below.