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Fertilizing Your Zoysia Grass

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

If you want a great-looking lawn, fertilizer has to be part of your maintenance routine. But not all lawns have identical fertilizer needs -- a perfectly good fertilizing schedule for Kentucky Bluegrass can wreak havoc on a Zoysia grass lawn. Read on for details about the fertilizer schedule that will keep your Zoysia grass at its best.

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Zoysia Grass Lawns Need Less Fertilizer

During the course of an entire growing season, Zoysia grass needs only about two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn to look its best -- much less than other common types of lawns like Kentucky bluegrass. If you're used to fertilizing every six weeks, or even every few months, you may be tempted to keep the same schedule with your Zoysia grass -- but don't. You'll be grossly over-fertilizing it, which is not just expensive and unnecessary, but can also lead to problems like lawn disease, insect infestation, thatch, and weak roots.
Ryegrass originally comes from Europe. The grass grows in tight bunches and comes in two basic types: annual and perennial.

Fertilize Your Zoysia Grass Lawn in Summer

With many lawn types, a fall fertilizer application is the most critical, but with Zoysia grass, the prime time for fertilizing is May through August. If you fertilize earlier or later than that, it can interfere with the Zoysia's natural seasonal cycle.

As Always, Soil Testing is Best

If you want to choose a lawn fertilizer with the perfect ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (the N-P-K listed on the label), a soil test is best. All grass isn't alike, and neither is all soil. Yours may be particularly nitrogen-deficient or particularly nitrogen-rich. As a general guide, though, a lawn fertilizer with three times more nitrogen than phosphorous and potassium (3:1:1) should do. With the right fertilizer diet, your Zoysia grass lawn will thrive.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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