When to Plant Zoysia Sod

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Zoysia (Zoysia spp.) is a warm-season grass, meaning it stays green during the summer and tends to lose its color in winter. While you can lay Zoysia sod any time of year, it takes longer to root than other grass sods so it's best to give it plenty of time to get established before cold weather arrives in autumn. It profits from being laid during the growing season and in periods of rain.

An automatic sprinkler.
An automatic sprinkler. (Image: MariuszBlach/iStock/Getty Images)

Timing and Climate

Zoysia roots need to settle into the soil before the first autumn freeze. While Zoysia will technically grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9 but those zones only tell you the average winter low temperatures. The climate most amenable to Zoysiagrass extends from the southern parts of states in the upper Midwest south to Florida and the Gulf coast and west to Oklahoma and northern Texas. It takes from six to eight weeks for the roots of Zoysia sod to get established. To find the last good date for laying sod, check the expected first frost in your area and count back for eight weeks.

Unrolling new sod.
Unrolling new sod. (Image: MariuszBlach/iStock/Getty Images)

Timing and Rain

Zoysiagrass sod needs plenty of water while its roots develop. The best time to lay it is during the spring rainy season in your area. If you do not have spring rain where you live, water the sod daily for seven to 10 days after you lay it. The night before you lay the sod, irrigate the soil with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water.

Unrolling new sod.
Unrolling new sod. (Image: liveslow/iStock/Getty Images)

Timing and Purchasing Sod

Prepare your soil to receive the sod in advance. Till the soil 6 inches deep and work in 10 pounds of 5-10-15 fertilizer per 1,000 feet of lawn. The soil should be moist but not muddy. Zoysia sod deteriorates quickly, so make sure the sod you buy is delivered to you within 24 hours after it was harvested and has been properly protected from wind and sun during delivery to you. Healthy sod will be moist. Do not accept it if it looks dried out. You can store sod indoors temporarily at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but you need to lay it quickly while it is still moist and healthy.

Planting new sod grass in the yard.
Planting new sod grass in the yard. (Image: sutichak/iStock/Getty Images)

Timing and Laying Sod

Plan your sod-laying strategy, so you can lay it immediately after it arrives. The Zoysia sod will typically arrive on wooden pallets that contain 50 square yards each. A square yard of Zoysia sod will weigh from 35 to 40 pounds. (See Reference 1) The strips of sod will usually be 24 inches long, 18 inches wide (See Reference 1) and 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep. (See Reference 5) Lay strips tightly against one another to prevent the roots from drying out, but do not overlap them. Stagger the joints like you see on layers of bricks. Lay the first row strips along the straight edge of a sidewalk or driveway and place the second row tightly against the first row, continuing this way for subsequent strips. Lay strips at right angles against curves. If you lay the strips on a slope, start at the bottom. Drive wooden pegs in the uphill side of sod on steep slopes to keep them in place. Don’t wait until you get all the sod laid before you water it. Water as you go to keep the sod moist.

A man is unrolling sod.
A man is unrolling sod. (Image: brebca/iStock/Getty Images)

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