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Zoysia Grass Saves Water

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

During the height of summer--with very little rain--it is painful to watch your lush green lawn shrivel into dead brown grass. If your area has restrictions on lawn watering, there is very little you can do except watch your grass dry up.

However, you can be proactive in spring or fall by replanting with a more drought-resistant grass. One of the best varieties that can weather a hot, dry summer is zoysia grass. It grows in sun or shade, tolerates high traffic, and requires minimal watering (about 1/2 to 1 inch of water per week).

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Zoysia Grass Native to Southeast Asia

Zoysia grass is native to China, Japan, and Korea, according to the Texas Cooperative Extension. It is a tough species of grass used frequently for golf courses, parks, and athletic fields. It tolerates all kinds of soil types (and is even salt tolerant) and can adapt as far north as Connecticut. In the southern U.S. zoysia grass does better in shade than sun; but in cooler climates it grows better in full sun.

While zoysia grass can turn a straw color if drought conditions are severe, it bounces back quickly when it rains or the lawn is irrigated.

There are several varieties of zoysia, including:

  • Zoysia matrella: Thrives on or near seashores and makes a lovely lawn when mowed close to the ground; suitable for Florida's Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast.
  • Zoysia japonica: Has a coarse texture and is more cold-hardy than other species; can grow as far north as Maryland.
  • Zoysia tenuifolia: More finely textured than other varieties, and the least cold-tolerant; thrives in southern California.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension system Web site features a complete list of zoysia grass types.


About the Author
Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is a frequent contributor to Turf Magazine and Growing Magazine. Visit her site at www.backporchpublishing.com

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