In 1982, an expert with an eye for quality turfgrasses took note of some particularly appealing lawns surrounding civic administration buildings near the town of Ooneshima on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. This grass was noteworthy for its dense growth pattern and lack of weeds. It was also compelling because of its fine texture and more uniform appearance than other grasses in the area. This Zoysia became the original breeding stock for a hybrid grass that Texas A&M University’s Texas Agricultural Experiment Station released in July of 1996 as Cavalier Zoysia. Cavalier looks somewhat like Tifway Bermuda grass, but withstands cold better than Tifway. In addition to its cold hardiness, Cavalier demonstrates good shade and salt tolerance. (This salt tolerance allows for application in areas with less than optimal water quality.) Cavalier Zoysia also resists many insects and diseases – including fall armyworm and Rhyzoctonia blight. It has also shown significant resistance to the tropical sod webworm and the tawny mole cricket. With its dense growth pattern, finer texture and longer, narrower leaf blades than other Zoysias, Cavalier provides a lush, luxuriant look and feel. It also retains its vibrant green color late into the growing season. Besides its visual appeal, Cavalier requires a minimal amount of water, pesticides and fertilizer. Ranked as one of the top zoysia in the NTEP (National Turfgrass Evaluation Program), Cavalier Zoysia is an excellent choice for home lawns, golf course fairways and tee boxes, parks and sports fields. Some industry experts believe that Cavalier may be the grass of the future for many golf courses because it grows well in shaded areas, recovers from wear rapidly, and is winter hardy as far north as Kansas City.
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