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Zoysiagrass

Botanical Name
Zoysia spp.
Height
Maintain at to .5 to 2 inches
Light
Full sun to part shade
Soil
Adaptable
Planting & Care

Zoysiagrass is a warm season turf grass native to Asia.  This slow-growing, dense turf deters weed establishment.  Zoysiagrass exhibits good tolerance of shade, salt and traffic.

Because it is slow to germinate, nearly all zoysiagrass is planted vegetatively by plugs, sprigs or sod.  Zoysia japonica is the only cultivar available that can be purchased as seed.

Zoysiagrass will turn brown in temperatures below 50°F and is not recommended for colder regions of the country.

Seeding Rate - 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 ft2

Germination Time - 2 to 3 weeks

Zoysiagrass seed requires light to germinate.  Seeded areas should be covered with a floating row cover to reduce seed disruption caused by rain, wind and irrigation.  The best time to seed is April to July, which allows for the warm growing season to help in establishment.  Zoysiagrass turf may take up to 6 to 8 weeks to become established.  It is important to provide adequate moisture to encourage germination and establishment.  Continue doing so until the planted area is completely filled in with turf.

Plugging - Plugs are small rectangular or circular pieces of sod, 2 to 3 inches wide with 2 to 3 inchs of soil and roots.  Plant plugs on 6 to 12 inch centers in a diagonal grid pattern. Firmly tamp plugs to achieve good soil contact.  Keep soil moist to prevent the roots from drying out.  Scout and remove any weeds that appear in bare areas between plugs.

Sprigging - Plant sprigs with at least 2 to 4 nodes in rows at least 6 inches apart.  Plant the sprigs end-to-end or no more than 6 inches apart in the row.  Cover with 1 to 2 inches of soil, leaving 1/3 of each sprig exposed to light.  Rolling can be used to press sprigs into the soil.  Keep soil moist until new growth begins and the area is covered in growth.

Sodding - Sod is the most expensive approach, but provides an instant lawn.  It also reduces the potential of weed competion.  Lay sod in a staggered, brick-like pattern.  Make sure edges of sod are fitted tightly together.  Roll and water sod to establish good root-soil contact.  Continue to water twice daily with 1/4 inch of water for the next 2 to 3 weeks to establish new roots.

  • Make sure the mower blade is sharp for healthier and better-looking grass.
  • Remove no more than 1/3 the total height of the grass at one time to reduce the stress on the lawn.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn. Short clippings DO NOT cause thatch and break down quickly, adding moisture, organic matter, and nutrients to the soil. A season’s worth of clippings equals one fertilizer application.
  • The amount of fertilizer your lawn needs should be based on the quality of lawn desired and the time you want to spend managing your lawn. High quality heavily used lawns require the maximum amount of fertilizer, while low maintenance lawns need the least.
  • Start with a soil test so you apply the proper amount of fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Fertilize low maintenance Southern grasses in April and high maintenance Southern lawns in April, June and August.
  • Increase success and decrease the risk of damage by using Milorganite fertilizer. It’s an organic-nitrogen slow release fertilizer that won't burn the lawn and the iron is an added bonus. Plus, the phosphorous is non-leaching. And when the microorganisms work on the Milorganite it releases phosphorous and potassium bound in the soil, making it available to the grass.
  • Proper watering helps keep your lawn healthy and enables it to out-compete the weeds. Water early in the morning, if possible, and thoroughly when footprints are left behind. This encourages deeply rooted drought and pest tolerant grass.
  • Recent droughts and efforts to conserve water may mean a change of habit. If you allow your lawn to go dormant during drought, minimize foot traffic and play on dormant lawns.
  • Don’t apply herbicides or quick release fertilizer to dormant lawns. The fertilizer will feed the weeds and both can damage the dormant grass.
  • Once you let your lawn go dormant, leave it dormant until the weather cools and rains return.
  • A healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds. When weeds occur it usually means the growing conditions are better for the weeds than your grass.
  • Aerate lawns growing on compacted soil or with a half an inch of thatch or more.
  • Hand dig small populations of weeds. There are some new tools on the market that make this easier.
  • Spot treat weeds using the most eco-friendly products available.
  • Always sweep grass clippings and fertilizer residue off the walks and drives. This simple step keeps unwanted nutrients out of our waterways and eventually drinking water.
  • Consider using a push or electric mower. It’s good for the waistline and the environment.
Problems
Billbugs, brown patch, dollar spot, rust, nematodes, grubs, thatch
Varieties
  • Emerald - dark green, fine leaf texture, good shade tolerance, good shoot and root desity; poor cold tolerance, thatch and dollar spot can be problems
  • El Toro - faster establishment, improved cool-season color and tolerance, excellent rust resistance
  • Diamond - fine texture, good salt and shade tolerance, poor cold tolerance

 

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