Zoysia grass has a reputation for being resistant to heat, drought, heavy foot traffic, and other problems. This grass is hardy and can grow densely in its ideal areas. It depends on your lawn care goals, where you live, and how you use it. This versatile lawn grass is a good choice if these elements are in harmony with Zoysia’s strengths.
- Zoysia Grass at a Glance
- Zoysia Grass Basics
- Other Zoysia Grass Considerations
- Zoysia Grass Lawn Care Calendar
- Warm-season grass with better cold tolerance
- Sun prefers, can tolerate some shade.
- This product is suitable for the transition and southern regions.
- Tolerant to heat and drought.
- Low water consumption and low maintenance.
- Dense, traffic-tolerant growth.
Zoysia grass, a native of Asia, has been around in the United States since at most 18951,1 when the first American lawns were created. It is known as a warm-season grass, meaning its active growth starts in the warmth of late spring and peaks during hot summer weather. Zoysia can be grown year after year in the right climates. It is well-suited for lawns in all southern states, including the hot and humid Southeast, as well as parts of California.
For homeowners in what lawn pros refer to as the transition zone, Zoysia merits extra attention. This is where most common northern and southerly lawn grasses reach their limits and a transition to recommended grasses takes place. Here, some cool-season grasses may struggle to withstand the heat and humidity. The cold winter temperatures in the northern reaches of the zone can also be a challenge for warm-season grasses. This is where Zoysia can thrive because of its heat and cold tolerance.
Some Zoysia grasses cannot be grown from sod, grass sprigs or sand. However, Pennington Zenith ZoysiaGrass Seed and Mulch combine all the advantages of Zoysia grass while still growing from seed. Zenith Zoysia has a higher tolerance for cold to give lawn owners more advantages in this difficult region.
Zoysia grass grows slower than other lawn grasses but forms dense grass under your feet. Established Zoysia lawns are protected from lawn weeds. The grass is spread by both underground and above-ground stems, called stolons. This dense, thick growth is a favorite among warm-climate sod producers as well as families who use their lawns for entertaining and lawn games.
Zoysia is usually light-to-medium green during its active growing season. Although it turns brown in winter dormancy, Zoysia stays green longer than Bermudagrass or other warm-season grasses. Pennington Zenith Zoysia also retains its green color for longer than other Zoysia grasses. While some homeowners prefer to oversee Zoysia lawns with cool-season Ryegrass in fall for green winter color and other homeowners enjoy its straw-like natural hue, others do not. Zoysia lawns become green again in spring.
Zoysia has a deep root system that is very effective at conserving water and resisting drought. The grass stays green during short periods of drought. Zoysia can go dormant if there is heat or drought. However, it will grow back quickly if watered again. Zoysia likes full sun but can tolerate light shade, unlike Bermudagrass or other warm-season grasses.
Zoysia grass, like all warm-season grasses thrives in heat. It peaks in growth in the late spring and early summer. This is the best time to do major lawn maintenance tasks. Zoysia grass begins to slow down as fall temperatures approach. This also means that your lawn care routine will slow down. These natural seasonal cycles are important to keep your Zoysia grass lawn looking its best.
Southern areas are where Zoysia thrives. The more extreme weather conditions can have on Zoysia survival and success, the further north you live. If you’re unsure about typical frost cycles and cold weather extremes for your local area, contact your county extension agent for advice. Follow this lawn care schedule to maintain a lush, rich Zoysia lawn.
FEBRUARY/MARCH THROUGH MAY
Fertilization and Weed Prevention
Prevent crabgrass and feed your established Zoysia lawn in early spring with Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4. This preemergent should be applied before weed seed germinates. It is effective when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit. To overseed, wait at least four weeks following application
As soon as the Zoysia grass has come out of dormancy, you can start mowing it. When soil temperatures reach 65 degrees F, active Zoysia growth begins. Mow as needed to maintain Zoysia grass at the recommended grass height of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Do not remove more than one third of the blade in one mowing.
Seeding thin lawns and overseeding them
In late spring or early summer, seed or overseed Pennington Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed or Mulch. Wait until the frost is gone. The ideal soil temperature for Zoysia grass is between 65 and 70 degrees F. This corresponds roughly to daytime temperatures of 80 deg or higher.
Fertilization and Weed Control
Control existing emerged weeds and fertilize Zoysia grass with Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed & Feed 34-0-4 once grass and weeds hit active growth in late spring. After application, wait at least three to four more weeks before reseeding treated areas. You should not apply seed to areas that have been newly seeded until the grass has been established and your third mowing.
Dethatch and Aerate
The dense growth habits of Zoysia often leads to excessive thatch. Dethatch Zoysia during peak growth to help ensure quick recovery. Aerate, if needed, to improve compacted soil.
Zoysia lawns require 1 inch of rain or irrigation per week. Infrequent, deep watering encourages drought-resistant roots.
JUNE THRU AUGUST
Keep your Zoysia grass lawn 1 to 2 inches high. A slightly higher mower height will shade the roots of Zoysia grass, decrease evaporation, and encourage deeper root growth in summer heat.
Zoysia requires very little nitrogen compared to other lawn grasses. If soil testing recommends summer nitrogen, feed with Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 30-0-4 during active growth.
You should water as necessary to ensure your Zoysia lawn receives 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water each week from rain and irrigation. Sandy soils may need more frequent watering in order to keep Zoysia green grass lush and healthy.
Treat turf pests such grubs and mole crickets with Sevin Lawn Insect Killer Granules to stop lawn damage and protect grass for up to three months.
Soil testing reveals your lawn’s pH and nutrient availability. Zoysia grass prefers soil pH between 5.8 and 7.0.2 Test lawns every three to four years to see if your lawn needs lime or other soil amendments.
SEPTEMBER THROUGH NOVEMBER
As growth slows down and dormancy nears, keep mowing Zoysia at a height of 1 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches. Continue mowing Zoysia until it stops growing.
Fertilization and Weed Control
Six to eight weeks before you expect fall frost, treat broadleaf weeds and prep Zoysia for winter with Pennington UltraGreen Winterizer Plus Weed & Feed Fertilizer 22-0-14.
Overseeding Winter Color
If you plan to overseed your Zoysia lawn for temporary winter color, wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently lower than 65degF and the grass begins to brown. Avoid using weed killers for at least three weeks prior to seeding Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Ryegrass Seed and Fertilizer Mix, or Pennington Annual Ryegrass Seed.
You can supplement fall rains as necessary to ensure your lawn gets 1 inch per week.
Follow soil testing recommendations to amend your soil. Overly acidic soil may need lime to restore pH balance. Gypsum helps loosen heavy clay soil and enhance root growth.
Manage fallen leaves by raking or mulching to prevent grass from smothering under leaves.
DECEMBER THRU FEBRUARY
Winter mowing is not necessary for Dormant Zoysia grasses. Cool-season ryegrasses lawns require regular mowing throughout winter. To keep your ryegrass looking its best, maintain overseeded lawns at 2 inches.
Only water dormant Zoysia grasses if necessary to avoid desiccation. Keep overseeded lawns hydrated so cool-season grasses get 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water each week.
Maintain lawn equipment during the off season. Lawn disease is less likely to occur if you have a sharp mower and a clean tool.
Winter Weed Control
Spot-treat winter weeds with targeted treatments; green weeds stand out against dormant warm-season grasses.
Make sure your lawn is free of snow and stones so that you are ready for spring.
Zoysia grass is the warm-season grass choice for many homeowners. This is especially true if you want a low-maintenance, drought-resistant lawn that can withstand high traffic. Pennington is dedicated to producing the finest grass seed possible and helping you grow and enjoy a beautiful, lush, healthy lawn. No matter what type of grass you grow, we are here to help.
Read product labels carefully and follow the instructions.
1. Duble, Richard L., “Zoysiagrass,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
2. Patton, Aaron, “Liming Your Lawn,” University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.