Zoysia sod varieties - how to choose?

September 13, 2016

We live in zone 7b, just outside of Raleigh, NC. I think we're finally fed up with the high maintenance needs of our fescue lawn here and are currently getting quotes for zoysia sod installation for next year.

So far, the two installers who have been out to provide quotes are saying they would each install a different variety - one says Compadre, the other says Meyer. We're not sure why they only offer one option. We will likely get another quote, but in the meantime, I've done some online research on varieties of zoysia and my head is starting to spin. ;)

I know about NTEP trials, but honestly wasn't sure I was reading the results correctly. And some of the info I've seen, describing color, toughness, cold hardiness, etc., seems to conflict.

We'd like something that isn't horribly aggressive (my neighbor has a variety that forced them to essentially build an underground cement barrier at all mulch borders...not doing that!) We'd also like low maintenance, since that's the whole reason for switching to the warm season grass. We have fought battles with common bermuda for over a decade, so would like a thick turf that might win that war. The lawn is mostly sunny out back, mostly shady out front (so we may just keep fescue there), receives sprinkler irrigation and does get light people and dog traffic. I'm aware that dog urine will be a problem, but it already is with our fescue lawn, so we'll just have to deal with it.

Any suggestions on varieties I should pursue for this area that will meet my wish list for characteristics? And any idea why the installers don't let you choose what you want? I'm guessing they develop relationships with sod farms and only offer what those farms have, but I'd like to choose an installer based on more than just the sod variety they offer, if possible.

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