What is Zoysia Grass?

N. Phipps

Zoysia grass is a highly versatile, drought-resistant grass that requires little maintenance once it’s established. This versatile grass makes an excellent choice for many lawns. This warm-season grass thrives in full sun but tolerates some shade. As it enjoys heat, zoysia grass is best suited to warm climates. However, it can also be grown further north than most other warm-season varieties.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

Zoysia grass is generally planted in spring. It can be grown by sowing seeds, laying sod, or planting lugs and sprigs. Newly planted zoysia should be kept moist until well established. This is usually slow, taking several weeks. With the arrival of fall, zoysia grass may begin to show signs of dormancy by losing its green color and turning golden brown. However, zoysia is one of the first warm-season grasses to green in spring.

There are many benefits to having a zoysia grass lawn. Zoysia is considered to be a creeping grass, spreading by rhizomes. It provides thick coverage and easily chokes out weeds. In addition, this tough grass has the ability to heal itself, making it a must have in lawns with heavy foot traffic, like golf courses. Zoysia is an easy-care grass, requiring little maintenance, with exception to seasonal fertilizing. As zoysia grass is tolerant of dry conditions, this grass requires less watering than many other varieties of grass.

Zoysia grass suffers from few pest problems; however, occasional bouts with lawn grubs can occur. The problem most notably associated with growing zoysia isn’t due to pests but diseases, such as brown patch. Fungal spores that produce dead patches throughout the lawn cause this problem. Brown patch in zoysia resembles small brown rings that encircle green grass, which left untreated, can quickly spread.

Thatch is another commonly encountered problem when growing zoysia grass. Made up of organic residue and decomposed roots, thatch can be identified by brown, sponge-like material that accumulates just above the soil surface. Raking in early summer can help alleviate problems with thatch. Regular mowing can also help minimize thatch buildup in zoysia grass.

There are many types of zoysia to choose from, each with its own set of attributes, which means finding a suitable variety isn’t too difficult. Although some types of zoysia grass do suffer from occasional issues, for the most part these are easy to remedy. It should also be noted that the benefits of growing various types of zoysia grass far outweigh any of the downsides.

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