Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.), an extremely popular turf and lawn grass, is generally considered quite low-maintenance. It has a high heat tolerance and grows best in temperate or warm climates, including U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. Zoysiagrass has dark green coloring and a fine-to-medium texture. It can tolerate many soils and planting locations, but it does best with some maintenance.
Zoysiagrass is easy to grow for many reasons, mainly because it requires only a small amount of maintenance. Zoysiagrass grows slowly, so it does not need frequent mowing. It tolerates a lot of foot traffic, as well as heat and drought. It can also survive in shady locations, and tolerates salt spray in coastal areas. Thanks to its dense growth habit that prevents weeds from growing, zoysiagrass generally does not require frequent weeding. It rarely has problems with insect pests or diseases.
Most types of zoysiagrass, except for Zoysia japonica, must be planted from sod or sprigs rather than seed. Planting from sod is relatively easy, because it basically gives you an instant lawn. Sod, however, can be expensive. Plugging is cheaper, but it can be tedious and requires you to plant numerous plugs spaced 8 to 12 inches apart. No matter how you plant zoysiagrass, you will also need to keep the lawn moist until the roots establish themselves. Planting from seed can be somewhat difficult, because the seeds often require an erosion cloth covering while they germinate.
Zoysiagrass is relatively easy to care for, but it does need some maintenance to look its best and stay healthy. Experts at Texas A & M University recommend watering zoysiagrass with about 1 inch of water per week during dry summer weather. This grass will not necessarily die if it receives less than 1 inch of irrigation, but it will dry out and turn brown. Zoysiagrass lawns in sunny areas will also do best when mowed to 1 to 2 inches every five to seven days. During winter, the grass goes dormant in most climates, so it requires very little care. If zoysiagrass builds up a thatch layer, it should occasionally be removed with a vertical mower or flail mower.
Experts at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension recommend applying about 4 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per year for every 1,000 square feet of a zoysiagrass lawn. This amount of fertilizer should be split up into multiple 1/2- or 1-pound applications. A zoysiagrass lawn will do well with applications in late spring, early summer and fall. If you live in a climate that does not cool down much over the winter -- such as Florida or southern California -- zoysiagrass might not go dormant over the fall and winter. In these warm areas, you can apply up to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of zoysiagrass lawn from fall through spring. In areas where zoysiagrass stops growing during fall and winter, do not fertilize it during the winter.
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Zoysiagrass — Zoysia Spp.
- University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Turf Adaptations and Tolerances—Somewhat Adapted to Summer Heat
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Zoysiagrass for Florida Lawns
- University of Tennessee Extension: Turfgrass Selection Zoysia
- University of California Cooperative Extension: California Turfgrass Culture
- Texas A & M University Horticulture: Zoysiagrass
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: PLANTS Profile for Zoysia Tenuifolia (Mascarene Grass)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: PLANTS Profile for Zoysia Japonica (Korean Lawngrass)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map