Is Zoysia Grass For You?

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Zoysia Grass
Are you looking for a grass product that will save maintenance costs, reduce the use of toxic chemicals and providing a better home-life for your family? However, please be aware that Zoysia Grass is not for everyone.

Here is a listing of many of the advantages and disadvantages of using Zoysia Grass to help you determine if this turf is really workable in your area of the country.

Zoysia Grass Advantages:

  • If you have hot summer months, this turf will be a great option for you as it maintains its green color during these warm months.
  • You can mow it short - between 1/2" and 1-1/4".
  • Once established, it will give you a very thick, dense turf.
  • Weeds and crabgrass tend to be minimized due to the thick growth characteristics.
  • Being a hot weather grass, it is very stress resistant.
  • It is very adaptable in most soil types with proper soil management.
  • Compared to other grasses, the fertilizer requirements are rather minimal.

Here Is The List Of Disadvantages of Zoysia Grass:

  • It rapidly looses its color upon the initial bout with cool weather. This can mean it will become straw colored from about the middle of October to the Middle of May.
  • Propagation is usually through means of stolons or plugs, which is very laborious.
  • You can grow it from seed but the the seed is very slow to germinate and the texture of the leaves tends to be somewhat course.
  • It takes a very long time for it to become established. Under ideal circumstances you may acquire 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 will not tolerate shade.
  • Damage due to excess traffic is very simple to do during the dormant period.

Zoysia Grass for Northern Climates

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Zoysia Grass Legend
Even though some varieties for cold weather climates have been developed, such as Zoysia 'Meyer' and Zoysia 'Emerald', and Zoysia Japonica, is is not recommended that any of these grasses be planted in northern climates. The cold weather varieties will turn yellow as well, upon falls' initial cold weather. Not many people want a brown lawn from September through May.

A Guide to Establishing Zoysia Grass

To have the most success with Zoysia Grass, about the best time of year to plant it is from the middle of May through the end of June. If you wish to acquire a full, lush turf in the beginning growing season, this is your best bet.

Preparation of the Planting Bed: Have the bed well prepared, leveled and free from weeds and weed seed.

Planting with Zoysia Grass Plugs: Although you can additionally use Zoysia Grass Seed, many people are put-off by means of the slow germination rate, which can be several months. A much more labor intensive approach may be planting either stolons or grass plugs.

Planting the Sod Plugs: You can acquire 36 2" x 2" sod plugs from a 12" x 12" square of sod. Space them at a 10" to 12" grid throughout the planting area. Match the plug size to the hole size to ensure that the plug has good contact with the surrounding soil. Each plug should be planted so it is elevated above the surrounding soil.

Zoysia Grass - The Problems:

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Zoysia Grass Invastion
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 means of regular aeration of your turf.

Invasive: This variety of grass tends to be very aggressive and invasive, even through its slow growth. If Zoysia Grass spreads beyond its boundaries it can be difficult to control, such as if it spreads to your planting beds or your neighbors years.

Shade: Shady areas are not the location for Zoysia Grass. It will die out or not fill-in.

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

Fertilizing Zoysia Grass:

One of the many benefits of Zoysia is that once it is established, it is comparatively maintenance free. Mowing can be minimized and fertilization applications are rather infrequent. 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:

  • Upon emergence from its dormant state, in the spring, and as it reaches about 50% green, make use of a slow release, high nitrogen fertilizer.
  • If required, position a secondary application about 8 weeks after the first.
  • Employ a winterizer in the fall, which will reduce the stress on the grass over winter dormancy.

Although it is possible to grow Zoysia Grass in cold climates and it will survive, it is predominantly a warm weather grass and has fewer problems when grown in a more temperate climate.