University of Guam, Western Pacific Tropical Research Center - Research for Guam's Future
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Turf Q & A


Turfgrass Establishment


I want to establish a new lawn and would like to have Japanese grass, where can I buy the seeds?
Growing Japanese grass, also known as zoysiagrass, from seeds is a tedious process. The seeds naturally do not have a high rate of germination and unless you pay a lot of money for very high seed quality, the results will not be satisfactory. Moreover, seeds cannot be purchased on Guam, they have to be imported. The common method to establish Japanese grass is to plug it. Cut mature zoysiagrass into 2 inch by 2 inch pieces and plug them 6 to 10 inches apart in a square-like pattern.

I bought a bag of turfgrass seeds from a local store advertising for 'quick repairs'. The grass grew for few weeks and then died. What went wrong?
There are two type of turfgrass species, the cool-season and the warm-season. The cool-season grasses will grow well in cooler climates. Some of them can germinate in few days which is helpful for quick repairs. Guam's tropical climate is not favorable for their growth. Unfortunately, some local stores sell cool-season grass seeds. If seeded, the grass will emerge and grow for about 2-3 months but will eventually die due to the high temperatures. If the bag label mentioned the presence of Kentucky bluegrass, creeping bentgrass, tall or fine fescue, or perennial or annual ryegrass seeds, do not buy it. These are all cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses should be the only species used on Guam and the ones that can be seeded are bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and centipedegrass.

I heard about hydroseeding, is it a method I could use to establish my lawn?
Hydroseeding consist of spraying a mixture of seeds or stolons, water, fibrous mulch, and fertilizer all at once. This method is very efficient in steep hills to prevent seed and soil erosion. It is also used on big areas. It has several advantages such as improving the moisture level, preventing erosion and extreme temperature, and providing nutrients. It is usually not performed by individuals but is offered through companies. It would be an expensive method to choose for establishing an averaged size lawn.

What method do you recommend to spread the seeds when I establish my lawn?
First, mix the seeds with a carrier such as sand at the rate of 1 lb of seeds per 2 gallons of sand. This allows for even seed distribution. Then, divide the mix into two equal parts and spread one part in one direction (north-south for example) and the other part at the right angle to the first direction (east-west). If the area is big, use a drop-type spreader. If the area is small, a jar with wholes in the cover would be perfect as a hand shaker.

I found an old bag of bermudagrass seeds in a shed, can I use them to establish my lawn?
If the seeds are too old, they will not germinate. Seeds have to be kept in a cool environment and have to be used within few years to give good results. You should look for their potential to germinate by spacing 20 of them on a wet paper towel placed in a plate. Cover the seeds with a second wet paper towel. Set the plate outside in a shaded warm environment and keep the paper towel moist. Count how many of them germinated after 5-7 days. If 15-20 did, you can use the seeds, they are viable. If 10-14 seeds germinated, you can use them but apply twice the recommended seeding rate. If less than 10 germinated, do not use them, too many lost their ability to grow.


The following researchers are involved with this Field of Study:

Greg  Wiecko - Publications


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