Zoysia Grass

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Zoysia Grass - Is It For You?

Zoysia Grass - While being a great way to make your lawn eco-friendly, it is not a good option for everyone. Find out why here."

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At Green Living Made Easy, we are always on the lookout for products that reduce maintenance, use of toxic chemicals, and provide a better quality of life for homeowners. Zoysia Grass certainly does fall into that category, but it is not for everyone.

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia Grass


Zoysia Grass Advantages:

Fantastic option for areas with hot summer months as it maintains its green color.

You can mow it short - between 1/2" and 1-1/4".

Provides a very thick, dense turf once it is established.

Summer weeds and crabgrass are minimized due to its thick growth.

Great option for heat stress resistance.

It will grow in most soil types with proper soil management procedures.

Once established it will tolerate low fertility.

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia Grass - Lawn Carpet


Zoysia Grass Disadvantages:

Looses its color in cooler weather. This can mean it will become straw colored from about the middle of October to the Middle of May.

Propagation is usually by means of stolons or plugs, which is very laborious.

Seed varieties are very slow to germinate and are generally very course textured.

Establishment of Zoysia is very slow. Under ideal conditions you may get complete coverage with plugs or stolons in one growing season, but it may take 2 or even 3 seasons for complete dense growth.

Once established, it can become invasive, especially in planting beds.

When dormant and straw-colored it can be a fire hazard and should be kept distant from flammable structures.

It is not shade tolerant.

When dormant it can sustain considerable damage due to heavy traffic.

Zoysia Grass Zone Map

Zoysia Grass - Zone Map - Green Is Best Performance for Zoysia


Zoysia Grass for Northern Climates:

While there have been same varieties that have been developed for northern climates, such as the Zoysia Japonica or the varieties, such as 'Meyer' and Emerald',

it is generally not recommend that Zoysia Grass be planted up north. Even these cold tolerant varieties will turn yellow at the first hint of a cold snap and they are very slow to green-up in the spring. Not many people want a brown lawn from September through May.

While Zoysia Grass can be used up north, it is predominantly a temperate climate grass as it has fewer problems and many more benefits than the hardy varieties.

Zoysia Grass Plug

Zoysia Grass Plug


Establishment of Zoysia Grass

The best time to plant Zoysia Grass is from the middle of May through June.

This will give it a full growing season and the best chance of getting a full, lush cover in the first season's growth.

Planting Bed Preparation: Make sure that the planting bed is well-prepared and free of weeds or weed seed. It is ideal that once the bed is leveled, let the weed seed germinate and then spray them with a herbicide such as Roundup.

You may be well advised to do this preparation in the late summer to early fall of the previous season and then plant the following spring. Consider Zoysia Grass

Plugs: Clear the dead material and begin planting. While you can use seed, be aware of the slow germination characteristics of Zoysia Grass seed, which can take several months.

A far better option, while being much more labor intensive is by placing plugs in the soil.

Planting the Plugs: One square foot of turf will produce 36 2" x 2" plugs. Space them at a 10" x 12" grid throughout the planting area.

Dig a similar sized hole for the plugs to ensure good contact with the soil. When plugging do not cover the plug with soil, but leave it somewhat elevated.

Dormant Zoysia Grass

Dormant Zoysia Grass


Dealing with Zoysia Grass Problems

Thatch: Zoysia Grass is prone to thatch buildup, while you may have less mowing due to its slow growth characteristics, you will have to stay on top of thatch control, which is very labor intensive. Minimize these problems by regular aeration of your turf.

Invasive: This is a very invasive grass. As Zoysia Grass will crowd out everything else, and be relatively weed free, if it gets in your planing beds or your neighbors lawn, it can be tough to get rid of.

Shade: If you have shady areas where you would like to have lawn areas, you will have to pass on Zoysia Grass. It simply will not tolerate shade and will either not become established, or it will die out.

Slow Recovery From Damage: Because of its slow-growing character, a Zoysia Grass lawn will have a harder time recovering from wear and tear or other damage.

Zoysia Grass Sod

Zoysia Grass Sod - An Excellent Way To Have An Instant Zoysia Lawn


Fertilizing Zoysia Grass:

One of the many benefits of Zoysia is that once it is established, it is relatively maintenance free.

Minimized mowing and fertilization is required. Even though it is touted as having a low fertilization requirement, in order to keep your turf in tip-top shape and looking its best, follow these fertilization recommendations:

Apply a slow release, high nitrogen fertilizer in the spring, just as the grass in emerging from its dormant state.

If required, apply a second application about 8 weeks after the first.

Apply a winterizer in the fall, which will reduce the stress on the grass over winter dormancy.

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