Zoysia – BK-7 Variety

When turf companies market a brand new grass without submitting it to long-term University trials in Georgia, I’m at a loss to know whether to recommend their grass for use by homeowners.

In the summer of 2005 I asked for radio listeners’ experiences with several new grasses.

It is important to note that this was not a scientific survey and the comments listed here may not reflect reality. It is not my intent to disparage a grass…only to present the comments of real-life users.

Below are the comments I received on BK-7 zoysiagrass.

From University of Georgia Turf Specialist Clint Waltz:

Unfortunately, I do not have any information on ‘BK-7’ zoysiagrass and it’s performance in Georgia. Nor am I aware of any replicated data to support the promotional claims for this grass. I know a colleague in California had this grass in an evaluation trial in the early 1990’s.

Other than the one California report, I have not been able to find where ‘BK-7’ was directly evaluated against other zoysiagrasses for shade tolerance, color retention, disease tolerance, nutrient and pest management, etc.

It is interesting that the grass has been around for 10+ years and it has not been entered into the National Turfgrass Evaluation Trials (www.NTEP.org). We have evaluated zoysiagrasses at The University of Georgia, Griffin Campus for nearly 10 years, to view a list of the zoysiagrass cultivars which have performed well in our climate visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com.

Lastly, I am unaware of a Georgia turfgrass producer selling ‘BK-7’. Which means the consumer does not have the protection of the Georgia turfgrass certification program to ensure varietal purity and absence of noxious weeds (common bermudagrass and nut sedge).

This program is administered by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA) and is considered to be a rigorous program holding participating growers to lofty standards. Buying certified grass helps ensure the consumer is getting the product with all the genetic characteristics of a particular cultivar. Ask the landscaper or retailer for a copy of the GCIA “Blue Tag” certification to be sure you are getting what you are paying for.

‘BK-7’ zoysiagrass may perform well in Georgia with all the characteristics in the promotional literature and free of other grass contaminants, I just do not know.

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