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Some Thoughts on Zoysia Grass

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Zoysia grass, when it's growing nicely, gives you a dense, cushiony turf that's often used for golf courses and other high traffic lawn spaces. But Zoysia definitely has its limits. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind, if you're definitely going to go the Zoysia way.

Don't Grow Zoysia Up North!

First things first: Lawn care specialists really mean it when they say not to grow Zoysia grass in states that get full blown winters (that means you, Minnesota!)
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Zoysia grass, even the more tolerant Meyer version, turns yellow at the first hint of cold. As much as you might try to convince yourself that it matches the fall foliage, no one wants a brown lawn from September to April.

Use Zoysia Sod, Not Plugs

Zoysia seed germinates very slowly, so most Zoysia grass is only available in stores as sod. This is wise because it can take up to 12 months for sprigs or plugs to merge and cover a lawn area.

Also, unless you're extremely patient, you should cover the entire planting site with Zoysia sod. Remember, too, that Zoysia grass is especially slow to grow if planted in the shade.

No Shade For Zoysia Grass

If there's a lot of shade in your garden, no matter the climate, you should probably pass on Zoysia grass. Shady lawn patches simply won't go green.

Fertilizing Zoysia

The main benefit of Zoysia is that once it's up and running, the lawn pretty much maintains itself.
  • To get Zoysia there, apply a slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer in the spring when the grass is coming out of its dormant state and is about 50% green. If needed, apply a second application about eight weeks later.
  • In mid to late October, apply a winterizer to give your Zoysia lawn a stress free winter slumber.

Aerate Your Zoysia

Zoysia grass tends to thatch quite easily. Always be on the lookout for the need to aerate your lawn, so that the grass surface is still in contact with healthy nutrients in the dirt below.


About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.



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