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Rolling Out the Green Carpet for Fans – EMPIRE® Zoysia in Lakeland

The Joker Marchant Stadium Complex in Lakeland, Florida is always a hotbed of baseball activity. Home to the Lakeland Flying Tigers minor league team, the complex stays busy throughout most of the year. However, every winter and early spring, the parent organization, Detroit Tigers come to town for spring training. With a major league ball team moving in annually, it brings big spring crowds which is one of the reasons the complex decided to use EMPIRE® Zoysia for the grass throughout the compound. EMPIRE is a proven variety that has been in Florida for two decades.

“If you get a disease, fungus or insects in Floratam (St. Augustine), you are basically left with a bare spot, and weeds generally come in quicker,” said Joker Marchant’s Grounds Manager, Bryan French. “The [EMPIRE] seems to have a much quicker recovery time.”

French said that EMPIRE chokes out most all weeds if maintained properly, and it provides a different look for the complex for attending fans and for people just walking by. “It’s much denser so you can cut it shorter. We’re cutting it at two inches and sometimes an inch and a half,” remarked French. “We can have eight to ten thousand people here, so if they want to walk out and take pictures [on the grass], it can handle it.”

Weed pressure is something all grasses face in Florida with perfect growing weather most of the year. While EMPIRE’s dense canopy stops most, it is also a durable grass allowing for more control products to be applied to handle weeds if they come through.
“It handles very well and recovers just so much better. The front entrance is my doorway, so it must look good. I’ve had numerous comments on it. It’s the front door to our complex and that’s how we want it to look,” French elaborated.
EMPIRE Zoysia is available as a homeowner’s grass variety and is found throughout Florida, the Southeastern United States and around the world. Visit to learn more about Florida’s “top” grass.