EMPIRE Turf® Offers Best Performance in Extreme Drought Conditions

Hurricane Matthew dumped several inches of rain onto parts of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia in early October. But in the weeks since, there has been very little precipitation with drought conditions worsening in many parts of the Southeast. In the Florida panhandle, for example, severe to extreme drought conditions exist, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Turf going through a drought is stressed, making maintenance a challenge. For landscape architects, golf course superintendants and sports turf managers around the Southeast, EMPIRE Turf® Zoysia offers a drought-tough zoysiagrass with a built-in defense mechanism that allows it to survive for long periods during drought and water restrictions. When not receiving water, EMPIRE goes off color but continues to grow thanks to underground rhizomes. When the water returns, EMPIRE quickly greens back up. EMPIRE also features excellent wear tolerance, requires less mowing and chemical applications and is chinch bug resistant.

two-year research project conducted by Texas A&M University, the San Antonio Water System and Turf Producers of Texas identified turf varieties that demonstrated the ability to survive without water for a period of 60 consecutive days. Ongoing research was done during the months of May through September and included 25 established turfgrass species and cultivars that received no irrigation during the hottest 60 days on record in San Antonio.

Data was collected weekly for turfgrass quality, density, leaf firing due to moisture stress, and color as a percent of green turf cover. EMPIRE Turf demonstrated “Summer Dormancy” during the drought period and was the top-rated zoysiagrass after a 60-day recovery period.

EMPIRE Turf is a Brazilian zoysia japonica developed by turfgrass breeders Minoru Ito and Roberto Gurgel. It offers sod specifiers, landscapers, golf course designers, sports turf managers and homeowners exceptional performance with low maintenance across a wide spectrum of applications. With its Brazilian heritage, EMPIRE thrives in harsh tropical climates, yet also exhibits excellent cold hardiness.

With a wider blade than most other zoysias, EMPIRE Turf grows in a wide variety of soil and climate conditions. The deep roots of this blue-green turfgrass provide improved drought tolerance, as well as excellent sod strength and wearability.

Because of its toughness and ability to perform well in hot, sandy areas, EMPIRE has been used exclusively in many communities throughout the state of Florida, including The Villages in Central Florida, the largest planned active retirement community in the United States.

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