Zoysia grass has many things going for it. It’s a common choice for golf courses, is relatively disease free and has a drought-tolerant ability, all making it one tough turf. There are three primary species of zoysia grass used for lawns or turfs, Zoysia matrella, Zoysia japonica and Zoysia tenuifolia. The grass can be established from plugs, sod or sprigs, each method offering a different establishment time.
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Growing from Plugs
Just as zoysia grass is very slow to green-up every new season, it is also very slow to grow from plugs. According to Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, installing zoysia plugs is a painstaking process with very slow results. Once plugs are planted on a 1-foot center, it can take between 3 to 5 years from them to spread and cover a surface area. To achieve faster results, plant the plugs closer together.
Growing from Sprigs
According to Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture, not only is sprigging the least expensive method of establishing zoysia grass, it is also one of the fastest methods of grass growth, faster than from plugs. In order to achieve optimal results when establishing the turf from sprigs, it is imperative that the soil stay moist.
Growing from Sod
Walter Reeves states that it takes about 10 days to establish zoysia grass from sod. As with growing zoysia from sprigs, gardeners must also stringently water newly laid sod. During the establishing period, water the sod immediately after it is installed, one-fourth of an inch every three days for the next nine days and finally one-half an inch every five days for ten days.
Fertilizing Zoysia Grass
To help keep zoysia grass growing once it is established, it only requires minimal fertilization. Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service states that an annual fertilization with a 4-1-2 product is typically sufficient. It is important to wait until the turf turns green before applying. Use only 1 pound of fertilizer to every 1,000 square feet of turf. Avoid fertilizing after August 1, as it will not prolong the green color of the turf but will actually contribute to it being less winter hardy.