Zoysia grass pros and cons are important to find out before planting your whole lawn with Zoysia sod. Zoysia is a warm-growing grass that thrives well in warm weather and goes dormant during colder months.
The good news is that this grass has a lot of plus points that far outweigh the few cons that it might possess.
Let us go through all the major advantages and disadvantages of planting Zoysia grass on home lawns and turfs.
- Awesome Pros of Zoysia Grass
- Major Cons of Zoysia Grass
- Zoysia Grass Care
Awesome Pros of Zoysia Grass
Some awesome pros of Zoysia grass include being a warm season grass that is cold-tolerant, being low maintenance, not needing weed control, being very durable and highly drought-tolerant, and staying green even when dormant. There are tons of reasons why Zoysia varieties are such sought-after grass types in the US.
Despite being warm-season grasses, Zoysia japonica, Zoysia matrella, etc., are all cold-tolerant and can stay green during dormancy.
– Warm Season Grass With a Pretty Good Tolerance to Cold
Zoysia is a grass that grows healthily in warmer regions, making it one of the most popular types of warm-season grasses. Around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature range at which this grass thrives the most. That is why we see this grass being grown mostly in the warmer and southern states of the United States.
Now, most warm-season grasses are sensitive to cold and cannot tolerate temperatures below 65 degrees.
Zoysia is also fantastic because it can tolerate temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live someplace where the temperature stays above 65 degrees all year round, you can have a lush green Zoysia lawn all year round.
During winters, between 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, your Zoysia might not stay as healthy and vibrant, but it only becomes dormant once the temperatures drop further. Unless the winters in your neighborhood experience sub-zero temperatures, this grass stays perennial and will turn green again after winter dormancy.
– Low Maintenance Grass Favorite Among Turf Owners
Being a low-maintenance turf, the grass is the biggest plus point we can give Zoysia. This grass needs only the bare minimum of lawn care and effort to keep it green and lush. If you are a dynamic personality with little time to spare for lawn maintenance, then Zoysia is the grass for your house.
For watering, Zoysia needs only one inch of non-salty water every week. Soon after it becomes established in the soil, it grows long and extensive roots deep into the soil.
This means that even if you do not water it on the dot every week, this grass will still sustain itself. People who grow Zoysia in regions where it rains every week do not even have to water their lawns anymore.
Zoysia grass blades survive being grown up to one and a half inches long. On average, mowing once every ten days or every two weeks is adequate for Zoysia. You get to save so much time and energy, which would otherwise have gone to constant grass mowing.
– Weed Control Is Not a Problem
Unlike most popular grass types, you will not spend most of your lawn maintenance time pulling out a weed. Zoysia is a grass variety that takes barely four to six weeks to establish itself fully within the lawn, and once it becomes fully established, it rarely allows weeds to grow among it.
The roots of Zoysia are very competitive and will actively take away nutrients and water from surrounding weeds. Its stolons and grass blades growing above the ground will also not give weeds any space to grow. If you are like us and weed pulling is your worst nightmare, Zoysia is the right grass for you.
– Very Durable
The grass blades of this variety grow very close together in thick clumps over the ground. These blades are quite coarse and comparatively thick as well. This makes it the most durable grass type growing in a lawn or garden where you want pets and kids to play.
Traffic tolerance for Zoysia is so good that it can be planted in playgrounds and parks. Kids can play soccer in it all day long, yet this grass will stay lush and healthy. You will not have to spend considerable time keeping neighbors, kids, and pets out of the lawn and turf.
Another advantage of Zoysia that makes it durable is its high recoverability from stresses. Even if a patch of this grass gets damaged, it will soon recover and reclaim its space. Unlike other warm-season grasses that need reseeding every year, Zoysia stays thick on its own.
– High Drought Tolerance
Don’t worry if you live someplace that experiences very hot summers with water problems. Zoysia grass will not easily be scorched yellow by heat or sun. Even during hot summer months, it will get by with just one inch of water per week.
It is not uncommon for lawns to experience drought conditions in the southern states. Luckily, even three to four weeks of drought will not kill your hard-earned lawn grass. As we said earlier, Zoysia grows its roots long and usually has access to underground water resources to sustain itself.
– Stays Green Even When Dormant
It is not uncommon for grass lawns to turn brown when the weather gets too hot and there isn’t enough water for them.
With Zoysia, your lawn will stay green even when it goes dormant during the summer or early winter. The grass blades might lose some vibrancy and spark, but at least they won’t turn into wispy brown patches.
Your Zoysia might become dormant when drought conditions persist for more than five weeks. It will also become dormant later in the year when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Major Cons of Zoysia Grass
The major cons of maintaining Zoysia grass are that this grass has poor shade tolerance and is difficult to grow from the seed stage. It is also not the most vibrant grass variety in the market, and its grass blades can be coarse and rough.
– Does Not Grow Properly in Shade
To grow the most healthy Zoysia lawn possible, your lawn should receive direct sunlight all day long. At any rate, a bare minimum of eight to nine hours of direct sunlight is a must to grow this grass. Hybrid varieties need about 40 percent sunlight each day to avoid dying.
This is not good news for people whose lawns usually need more sunlight. Certain areas are just not that lucky with daily sunlight, and it gets difficult to grow Zoysia there. Even if only certain parts of your turf are shaded, Zoysia will not spread to these regions despite frequent reseeding.
Suppose your lawn and turf do not receive bright light every day; then it is best to seed them with a more hade-loving variety of grass. In the case of a partially shaded lawn, you can overseed Zoysia in the shaded regions with grass that grows well in the shade.
– Not the Most Vibrant Grass Variety Out There
Even at its healthiest, Zoysia is a grass that stays light green to medium green. Some people prefer their grass to be a dark and deep shade of green. Sadly, despite the best care and frequent fertilizing, this will not be possible in Zoysia’s case.
If you count yourself among these people, there are wide other grass varieties to choose from. The good news is that even though Zoysia is a bit faded in color, it can stay greener in very hot summers and much later in winter. This is a unique property that deeper shaded grasses like Bermuda grass etc., do not possess.
– Not Easy To Establish From Seeds
We must warn you if you want to plant Zoysia grass from grass seeds. Unlike centipede grass and tall fescue varieties, growing Zoysia from the seed stage is difficult and time-consuming. Even if you provide its seeds with the best growth conditions, they will take as many as 21 days to germinate.
The worst part is that most seeds will not even germinate despite the best care. The grass that grows from sowing Zoysia will be thin, patchy, and need at least two seasons to become thick and dense. It is far better to spend a little more money and get Zoysia grass plugs or sod installed in the lawn instead.
– Grass Blades Are Coarse
One of the biggest cons of this grass is that it is coarse-textured and feels rough to the touch. From a practical point of view, thick grass blades make them resistant to damage and help in quick regeneration. Such coarse-textured and fast-growing grass also means that your mower blades will dull more frequently.
For those of you who enjoy walking and playing around on your lawn and want soft-textured grass, Zoysia is not the best option. However, there is no better grass for lawns with heavy foot traffic than Zoysia tenuifolia and other similar varieties despite their coarse texture.
– Will Turn Brown During Winter Time
Zoysia stays green for as long as it can during autumn and winter, but eventually, it will turn brown.
When the temperature goes below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your Zoysia grass lawn will turn brown. If you are fond of keeping a green and lush lawn all year round, switch Zoysia with another variety that does not turn dormant in the winter.
– Will Die in Freezing Temperatures
Zoysia grass grows best in regions with moderate winters where temperatures don’t drop below freezing point. In these areas, this grass becomes dormant in winter and turns back to light green when the weather gets warm again.
In case of very cold and freezing winters, the Zoysia roots underground will unfortunately die. The grass will stay dead even in the spring and will not turn green. You will have to practically rip the old dead grass out and plant new seeds or Zoysia sod again every spring.
Zoysia Grass Care
Zoysia grass care is simple, and maintaining a lawn with Zoysia growing in it is not that complicated. It just needs bright sunlight, watering once a week with one-inch water, and fertilizing every four to six weeks. This grass needs and loves full and direct sunlight all day long.
– Light Needs
The brighter it is, the more Zoysia grows, and the more its shade becomes deeper. It must receive eight hours of direct sunshine daily to spread and grow properly. It refuses to grow even in partially shaded regions of the lawn.
– Watering Needs
Technically speaking, one inch of water is enough to keep Zoysia growing. Instead of watering often and superficially, we recommend that you go for deep and infrequent watering. Using sprinklers is undoubtedly the most effective way to water lawn grass than any other method.
Set your sprinklers so the lawn gets watered slowly for over 30 to 40 minutes once every week. This practice ensures that water seeps deep within the sandy soil suitable for Zoysia. Consequently, the grassroots will grow deeper into the soil, leading to healthier grass.
– Fertilizing Needs
You only need to fertilize grass during active growth and germination from spring until late summer. Soil testing is preferable as it will help you better decide on the right fertilizer. At any rate, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer given every four to six weeks during the growth period is enough to keep a lush lawn.
Directly applying liquid fertilizer is a risk because it can burn grass blades. Instead, always dilute the feed to half its original concentration before applying it on the lawn. You can also use compost as fertilizer and mix it with the topsoil every four weeks.
– How Often To Mow Zoysia
The ideal height at which Zoysia grass blades need to be kept is one and a half inches tall. Zoysia is a type of grass with a reasonably good growth rate; at this height, you will need to cut it every second or third week.
Some people might feel like this is a type of grass that needs a lot of mowing. It is possible to keep Zoysia at a slightly longer height as well, up to two and a half inches long, at which lesser mowing will be needed but slightly higher chances of grass damage will occur.
You have now learned the various pros and cons that this type of popular grass offers.
Before signing off, let us quickly summarize Zoysia pros and cons in this section.
- This warm-season grass type has a better cold and drought tolerance than most other grasses like Bermuda and St Augustine.
- To make Zoysia grass grow, you need to give it one inch of water every week, direct sunlight every day, and frequent feeding.
- Growing Zoysia through sod or plug installation is far easier than grass seed germination.
- The coarse grass blades of Zoysia might feel rough to the touch, but they help this grass stay resilient and strong.
- Compared to most other popular types of grass out there, Zoysia lawns look dull because of this grass’ light color.
Congratulations on reaching the end of this complete guide on the pros and cons of the Zoysia grass variety. This is undoubtedly one of the easiest grass varities to take care of, provided one knows its needs and requirements.
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