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What is Zoysia Grass Seed?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2016
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Zoysia grass seed refers to seeds from a type of grass popular in parts of Asia, though the name refers to the botanist, Karl von Zois. It may also be known as Manila Grass, because it was first brought to the US from the Philippines, in the late 19th century. There are several types of Zoysia grass, but only one type, Zoysia Japonica is typically started from seed.

There are some specific suggestions about planting Zoysia grass seed, and some reasons why it may or may not be the best choice for lawns. First, the seed must be planted about three months before the first frost in order to have best chance of success. Planting the seed is not recommended if there are other grasses in place as this corresponds to poor results. It's recommended for gardeners who would like to use Zoysia grass on a surface that isn’t free of other grasses to use grass plugs instead.

When using Zoysia grass seed, people may naturally want to know what a lawn of this grass will look like. The grass is fairly coarse, coarser than other Zoysia varieties, but it is also fairly sturdy. It tends to provide early spring grass, but as winter sets in, the grass becomes brown. Zoysia Japonica tends to prosper even in some of the cooler climates in the US, though people should check with their nurseries regarding the appropriateness of the grass given their specific area.

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Some gardeners are fond of all of the different types of Zoysia grass because of their slightly drought tolerant nature. They still will require plenty of watering in hot weather or they have a tendency to turn brown. Where the grass is planted is also of some concern. High use lawns, like those used for sporting events (except for golf) may be inappropriate. Even the sturdy Japonica may not hold up to repeated abuse on a soccer or football field.

The most common places where Zoysia grass seed could be employed outside of Asia is along the East Coast states in the US, up to Maryland, in most of the Southern US, and in California especially along the coast. It’s typically not suited to the upper Northeast states, the upper Midwest, and the upper part of Oregon and Washington. Very cold weather can create problems in growing this grass and especially in starting it from seed.

As mentioned, the best way to find out if Zoysia grass seed is appropriate to a region in which a person lives is to speak with a local nursery. There are other grasses that may be better suited to particular area, or Zoysia may be perfect. Any grass is usually hard to grow from seed, and many people find they do better with plugs or rolls, especially if they need to establish a lawn quickly.

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