Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 10, with many cultivars that produce a beautiful, dense lawn in the spring, summer and fall. Like all lawns, following a zoysia maintenance calendar, which includes fertilizer applications and weed control, is key to maintaining a healthy lawn. Using weed and feed on your established zoysia grass seed lawn can help you save time by completing both of these steps at one time. There are a few things to consider to ensure the weed and feed product is safe, effective and the best option for your lawn.
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Zoysia Grass Fertilizer Schedule
Early spring is an ideal time to conduct a soil test through your local extension office. The soil test will reveal your soil pH and nutrient levels and give you an indication of what nutrients your grass needs to be successful. Fertilizing in early spring is not recommended since it can damage your lawn if you apply it too early, especially if there is a late frost that spring.
In addition to amending the soil as recommended by the soil test, you want to apply nitrogen fertilizer to your zoysia grass three times in early, mid and late summer. Apply 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen to every 1,000 square feet of lawn each time. Potassium and phosphorous should be added as well if your soil is deficient in these nutrients.
Do not apply nitrogen fertilizer in the fall and winter since it encourages new growth that is easily damaged by cold temperatures. You can help your zoysia grass survive the cold by applying phosphorous in the fall about a month before the first frost of the season.
Zoysia Grass Weed Control
In late winter and early spring, apply a preemergent herbicide to prevent the growth of summer weeds, like crabgrass and sandspurs. Apply a second application about eight weeks later. Since you won't be applying fertilizer this early in the year, it is not an appropriate time to use a weed and feed.
In warm climates where zoysia thrives, winter weeds may already be growing. You will need to apply a post-emergent herbicide to target these weeds but wait until the grass is fully green and actively growing. Applying post-emergent herbicides too early may damage your grass and inhibit growth.
Select an herbicide that is labeled for use on zoysia grass. Check the types of weeds the herbicide targets to ensure it will kill the weeds in your lawn. Avoid applying herbicides in hot weather when temperatures are over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Weed and feed may be an effective alternative if the weather is not too hot.
Weed and Feed Considerations
If you want to use weed and feed for 'Empire' zoysia or any other zoysia cultivar, the first step is to check the weed and feed product label to ensure it is safe for your grass. For example, you may wonder: Can you use Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed on zoysia grass? The answer is yes. It is safe to use on many types of grass, including zoysia grass, but it can harm turf grasses such as St Augustine grass and bentgrass.
Once you find a safe weed and feed, be sure to follow the directions precisely. If you apply too much, the fertilizer may burn your lawn, but if you don't apply enough or apply it unevenly, there may not be sufficient herbicide to kill the weeds. You should also check the label to determine what herbicide the product uses and what weeds it targets. If you have weeds in your lawn that aren't covered by the weed and feed, it may be better to apply fertilizer and weed killer separately.
Also, consider the timing of weed and feed application. Preemergent herbicides can be the most effective option for controlling weeds in your lawn. However, products like Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed are formulated to be used on weeds that are actively growing.