Zoysia Grass: 6 Plant Care And Growing Tips
Zoysia grass is a light-green-colored turfgrass popularly used in residential and commercial lawns. Due to its deep-rooted, underground runner system, the grass can tolerate heat, drought, cold and easily endure extreme climates. That’s why it thrives best in regions with longer hot seasons and shorter windows. Meanwhile, the grass turns brown during the cold months but can quickly bounce back and grow again when the spring season starts. (1)
Aside from being drought- and heat-tolerant, Zoysia grass can also endure high foot traffic since its grass blades can quickly rebound after the weight is off. Thus, besides residential and commercial use, this grass is also commonly found on golf courses, parks, and playgrounds.
With the perks and its low-maintenance requirement, many people would love to grow Zoysia grass for their lawns.
If you’re also thinking of growing this grass for your lawn, here are six tips to help you care for and maintain your Zoysia grass lawn.
1. Plant on areas with full sun exposure
Zoysia grass requires full sun exposure to maintain its color and promote growth. Thus, when planting Zoysia grass, make sure to choose a planting site that has direct access to sunlight, like your backyard or front lawn. Otherwise, the less sunlight this grass gets, the thinner it becomes, and its green plush color may fade. (2)
There are several planting options for Zoysia grass. You can plant them from seeds, plugs, or sod. Since this type of grass is a slow grower, people often plant them in plugs or sods. You can check out myhomeTURF’s zoysia grass and other turfgrass references to know more about which planting method is best for your needs and lawn type.
Regardless of your preferred planting option, they’ll all require a planting site with maximum sun exposure. Furthermore, when planting Zoysia grass, it’s best to do it during early summer or late spring, where the heat is at its peak season. (2)
2. Water regularly
Although Zoysia grass requires less maintenance and can tolerate drought, you’ll still need to water it to maintain its color and keep it healthy. For newly planted Zoysia grass, regular watering is required to help develop its deep-root system and promote growth.
Preferably, ensure the water has been deeply soaked in the soil to at least 7-10 cm. Meanwhile, if you already have a well-established Zoysia lawn, you can water it weekly during early mornings, with one inch of water since it can already maintain itself and thrive with little to no water. (2)
However, if you’d like to maintain the green color and lushness of your lawn, you can water your Zoysia grass every 5-10 days during the summer months and much less during the winter season. If there are cases when you forget to water your lawn for a few days or weeks, you may notice your lawn looking wilt or yellow.
You can water it again with your usual routine, and the grass should recover quickly and turn green again. (1) (3)
3. Mow your grass correctly according to the season
Zoysia grass lawn will look its best when appropriately mowed. Most zoysia grass cultivars recommend that Zoysia grass be mowed down to at least 1½ to 2 inches in height. But the thing is, there may be slight changes with the rules when mowing your Zoysia grass, as it usually depends on the season. (3)
Here’s a quick seasonal guide for your reference:
January to April:
During these months, you can mow your Zoysia grass slightly lower than the standard mowing height (1½ to 2 inches). You can set the mowing height to around 1 to 1½ inches. Make sure not to mow it too low as this could scalp your lawn. This slight change is only done to prepare your lawn for the green-up period, which happens during early May. (3)
Furthermore, make sure to use a sharp mower with a bagger to gather the grass clippings and cleanly cut the grass instead of tearing the leaves. Using a dull mower could rip the grass blades, affecting their look, growth and even making the grass more susceptible to diseases. So, sharpen your mower blades first before you start mowing your Zoysia lawn.
May to August:
Since this is the green-up period (new plant growth cycle), you can go back to mowing your Zoysia grass based on the regular mowing height, which is around 1½ to 2 inches, depending on your planting site. However, if any type of environmental stress occurs such as lack of rainfall, sudden temperature changes, and the like, you can slightly raise your mowing height to 2 to 2½ inches until the stress dissipates.
When mowing your Zoysia grass during this period, it’s best to use a reel-type mower to achieve the best results regardless of any mowing height. (3)
September to December:
During early to late September, you may continue mowing your Zoysia grass at the standard mowing height. But once the fall season starts and the nighttime temperatures go below 70 °F, you’ll need to slightly raise the mower during mowing to allow more leaf surface. Doing this will help your turfgrass adjust when the first frost occurs. (3)
4. Fertilize your lawn based on the soil test results
Gardeners or Zoysia grass cultivars may recommend you perform a soil test before planting turfgrass to use the results as your guide in fertilizing your lawn. For Zoysia grass, the perfect balance for soil pH is around 6 to 6.5. If the soil test result shows a pH higher than the standard, you’ll need to fertilize the soil with five pounds of sulfur per 1000 sq ft to lower the pH levels. (2) (3)
Meanwhile, for normal pH levels on the soil, you can routinely fertilize the turfgrass with a 1-2-1 fertilizer—the fertilizer’s nutrients ratio—throughout the growing season. Furthermore, avoid overfertilizing your Zoysia grass as this could cause decomposed roots and stems under the grass.
5. Dethatch your Zoysia grass annually
Lawn grasses tend to hold organic matter around their soil level or underneath the grass and create a layer called thatch. These small layers of thatch, preferably half an inch or less, can help insulate the soil, conserve moisture, and maintain temperature for the roots and stems.
However, if the thickness of the thatch builds up to an inch or more, it’ll block the water and the new roots from penetrating the soil, eventually affecting your Zoysia grass’s growth. To keep your Zoysia lawn healthy, make sure to dethatch it at least once or twice a year during late spring, using a vertical mower or dethatching rake. (1) (2)
6. Monitor your Zoysia lawn for pests and diseases
The good thing about Zoysia grass is that it’s not especially susceptible to pests and diseases. However, your lawn could still be infested by grubs, mole crickets, and billbugs. So, monitor your lawn regularly and check for uneven bite marks on the glass blades. If you notice such signs of infestation, you can use a natural insecticide to keep these pests at bay. (1)
Care & Maintenance For Zoysia Grass Key Takeaway
With proper care and maintenance, your Zoysia grass lawn will surely be one of the highlights of your exterior that could boost your curb appeal. For any clarifications, don’t hesitate to consult your trusted gardener or landscaper, and they’ll assist you in keeping your Zoysia lawn in good shape.
- “How To Plant Zoysia Grass”, Source: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-plant-zoysia-grass
- “Establishment And Care Of Zoysia Grass Lawns”, Source: https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6706
- “Zoysia Grass Yearly Maintenance Program”, Source: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/zoysiagrass-maintenance-calendar/