Written by 1:01 pm Lawn Tips, Pillars

Zoysia Grass – Pros and Cons Plus Expert Tips for Growing a Healthy Zoysia Lawn

Zoysia grass is a hearty and durable grass that features a beautiful light green color. It is a warm-season grass that thrives in regions with high heat and humidity. Zoysia grass is also drought-tolerant and accommodates moderate amounts of traffic. Unlike other warm-season grasses, it doesn't need extensive maintenance throughout the year.

Many experts refer to it as a transitional zone grass. Transitional zone grasses thrive in areas too warm for cool-season grasses and too cold for warm-season grasses. Imported from Asia in the late 1800s, it quickly turned into a preferred grass for homeowners.

 ProsCons
Sun Tolerance๐Ÿ‘ Prefers full sun
Heat Tolerance๐Ÿ‘ Handles high temps
Cold Tolerance๐Ÿ‘ Handles cool temps
Drought Tolerance๐Ÿ‘ Good at tolerating drought
Traffic Tolerance๐Ÿ‘ Handles moderate traffic
Growth Rate๐Ÿ‘Ž Spreads slowly
Color in Winter๐Ÿ‘Ž Browns in winter

Ideal Conditions for an Optimal Zoysia Lawn

Zoysia grass is a warm-season turf and thrives in temperatures above 75 degrees. Several days of sustained temperatures above 70 degrees will kick-off its growing season.

If you live in an area where the temperature does not suit St. Augustine, Centipede, or Bermuda grasses, Zoysia may be a better option. It can tolerate temperatures that are much lower than other warm-season grasses. It can withstand heat and moderate cold snaps. This makes it perfect for transitional zones.

Once temperatures dive below 55 degrees for a few days, Zoysia grass will brown and lose its green color. The grass is not dead; it is entering dormancy. Zoysia has a more pronounced discoloration than other warm-season grasses. Zoysia's winter appearance will disappoint homeowners desiring year-round green grass.

Zoysia lawns should receive anywhere between four and six hours of direct sunlight a day. Shady areas may not see rapid growth or spreading. However, Zoysia under shade will perform better than will Bermuda grass or Centipede.

A Zoysia lawn should receive between 1 and 1.25 inches of water every week, low relative to other grasses. If the grass does not receive enough water, it will begin to turn brown. The grass will quickly regain its color after receiving water.

Zoysia Grass Withstands Moderate Traffic

Zoysia is an excellent choice for a law that will host pets, traffic, or children. Zoysia lawns can quickly recover from traffic or stress if adequately watered. Pets and kids are tough on lawns, but Zoysia turf is more than capable of hosting active little ones.

Zoysia Establishment & Growth

You can establish a zoysia lawn with seed or sod. Establishing a lawn with sod provides the fastest results but is more expensive. Establishing a lawn with zoysia seed is slower but is more cost effective.

Zoysia spreads by stolons that creep across your lawn. Stolons creep away from established grass and plant roots as they make their journey. Zoysiaโ€™s stolons grow at a very slow rate but are heartier than other varieties.

Slow growth and deep roots makes the grass hardy and resistant to drought and extreme temperatures. Zoysia is not a good choice if you need to cover a large area in a short amount of time.

Zoysia grass blades are notoriously tough and wiry. You'll have to sharpen lawnmower blades frequently when servicing a Zoysia lawn. If edges are not kept sharp, damage to the grass can occur.

How to Fertilize your Lawn

Zoysia lawns need three to four pounds of Nitrogen per growing season. Potassium enrichment also contributes to the grassโ€™s heartiness and drought resistance. Always use a 15-0-15, 15-0-10, 15-0-5 fertilizer unless a soil test indicates otherwise.

Zoysia Grass Maintenance Schedule

January – April

Applying a pre-emergent herbicide to the lawn in late February or early March will give a Zoysia lawn protection against a host of weeds. After using the pre-emergent:

  • Reapply the same product in two months for maximum effectiveness.
  • If the lawn already has existing weeds, apply a post-emergent herbicide at his time.
  • If insect damage is visible, apply an insecticide. Infestations will worsen in the coming warm seasons.

May-August

Early Spring is an excellent time to check the pH level of the soil. Zoysia grass thrives in soil with a pH level between 6 and 7. If you find that your lawn is outside of the preferred range, you can find tips to correct the problem here.

If you need to adjust the pH, apply the correcting nutrient with the first round of fertilizer.

  • May: Apply .5 to 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer, along with any herbicides or pH balancing nutrients.
  • June-July: Apply .5 to 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer, along with any post-emergent herbicides.
  • August: Apply .5 to 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer.

Potassium is critical to prepare Zoysia grass for the coming winter. Potassium aids in the ability to fight off cold weather diseases and insect attacks.

September โ€“ December

Ensure that the Zoysia grass is continuing to receive adequate water amounts. While the grass is dormant in the winter months, it will need 1″ every 1.5 to 2 weeks.

Fertilization is not recommended in the winter months. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent any weeds from growing now. If the soil needs a pH correction, apply the appropriate products at this time.

Common Weeds

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  • Crabgrass
  • Nutsedge
  • Old World Diamond Flower
  • Common spurge
  • Goosegrass

For help in identifying common weeds, please visit our free weed identification guide. After determining which weeds you are trying to get rid of, check out our article on the best weed killers for zoysia grass.

Zoysia FAQ

What nutrients does Zoysia Grass need?

Zoysia grass needs a large amount of Nitrogen during the growing season. Most experts recommend applying three to four pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft per year. Zoysia also needs an ample amount of potassium annually.

Is Zoysia a hearty grass?

A Zoysia lawn is ideal for a home that hosts children and pets. Zoysia grass tolerates moderate foot traffic and combats pest and fungal attacks quite well.

Is Zoysia a warm or cool-season grass?
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Zoysia is a warm-season grass. Zoysia can handle cooler temperatures better than other warm-season grasses. Its rugged nature makes it an optimal choice for lawns located in transitional zones. Transitional zones are generally too cool for warms season grasses and vice versa for cool-season grasses.
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What is the best soil type for Zoysia grass?
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Zoysia can grow in almost any soil type. Clay or sandy soils will host Zoysia grass. As with most grasses, it is beneficial for the soil to have a sandy element for drainage.
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