Zoysia vs St Augustine grass is a tough choice to make for those of you living in the hotter states of the US. Both of them have exceptional drought and heat tolerance and will stay lush green all through blazing hot summers.

Zoysia vs St Augustine Comparison

In this article, we have highlighted the major differences between both of these warm-season grass types. Find out which one of them is easier to maintain by going through our expert grass guide.

Zoysia vs St Augustine Grass Comparison Table

Categories Zoysia St Augustine
Scientific Name Zoysia Stenotaphrum secundatum
Native Region Australia West Indies, West Africa, The gulf of Mexico
Ideal Uses Private lawns and turfs, golf courses, tennis courts, etc Lawns and turfs with low foot traffic
  • Medium-deep emerald green
  • Each Zoysia blade is long, thin and fine
  • Grass blades grow close together in thick clusters
  • Sends stolons above the ground from which grass blades grow.
  • Dark green in color
  • Each Augustine blade is long, broad, and flat
Texture of The Grass Very soft-textured Coarse-textured
Soil Preferences
  • Needs soil rich in organic matter
  • Cannot tolerate clay soil types
  • pH strictly between 6.5 to 7.0
  • Needs well-draining soil
  • Prefers more sandy soils
  • pH between 6.0 to 6.5
Tolerance For Shade and Sun Needs
  • Prefers full sun
  • Can only tolerate 40 percent shade
  • Prefers full sun daily
  • Can tolerate partial shade or indirectly lit bright lawns
Water Needs Needs only one inch of water every seven days Needs only one-inch water per week but can absorb as much as three inches
Grass Seed Germination Time 14 to 21 days Seven to 14 days
Temperature Needs 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit

What Is The Difference Between Zoysia and St Augustine Grass?

The difference between these two is that Zoysia is emerald green and much thicker yet finer in texture. It is more durable and can tolerate heavy foot traffic. St Augustine, in comparison, is more tolerant of drought, shade, and saline water as compared to Zoysia grass plugs.

What is Zoysia Grass Best for?

The major pros of Zoysia are that its lawn care is very simple and inexpensive, and it can tolerate a moderately high level of foot traffic. A major con is that it is slow-growing and shade intolerant.

– A Warm Season Grass With a Wide Temperature Range

Zoysia is natural warm-season grass. Usually, these grass types are unable to withstand low temperatures and go dormant as early as fall. This one, however, can tolerate temperatures as low as 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas where the winters are not particularly harsh, it might even last through them.

The grass seeds germinate early each year in spring. It takes them several weeks to germinate, after which the grass turns green relatively quickly. It continues to thrive all through spring and summer till late fall.

Zoysia Grass Features

Cold weather below 60 degrees will only turn Zoysia dormant. However, freezing temperatures will kill it from the roots below. After a particularly cold and frosty winter, your grass will not return next spring.

– Can Tolerate Heavy Foot Traffic

Zoysia is often seen planted in golf courses, tennis courts, and parks in southern regions. The reason behind this is their amazing ability to tolerate heavy foot traffic. 

Being a thick carpet lawn is one reason behind this. Another reason is this grass’s amazing ability to repair its damaged grass blades and return to its former state. 

In order to help your grass further, you must keep it well mowed at a height of half an inch to one inch. Shorter grass blades are far less likely to get damaged as compared to taller ones. It is also best if you can feed Zoysia with a suitable grass fertilizer on a regular basis.

– Will Stay Green Even When Dormant

Zoysia is a rare lawn grass type that stays light green even when undergoing dormancy. Most other grass types turn brown or yellow when they grow dormant. While this is a healthy defense mechanism, it will destroy the whole esthetic of your lawn. 

Zoysia is drought tolerant and will go on thriving with as little as half an inch of water each week. Even if water is not received for three to four weeks, it will still not go dormant. After four weeks, your grass might finally start to go into dormancy. However, it will still stay its same natural light green color.

– Thick and Durable

The growth habits of Zoysia might be a bit on the slow side, but this grass is among the thickest grass types. Individual blades of this grass are very fine and slender, but it grows in extremely close-bound clusters. Its growth might be so thick and dense that it chokes out all other weeds and grasses that grow along with it.

Like all other perennial grass types, Zoysia gets thicker each year. Its maintenance requirements are minimal and should not be difficult to carry out.

Being thick also makes it the most durable grass. Much like the growth of its blades, they can withstand various foot traffic. You can sow this grass in any public park or school playground, and its growth and look will not be affected. 

– Little Tolerance For Shade

Zoysia has a comparatively better tolerance for partial shade as compared to other warm-season grasses. In fact, it can grow well even in 40 percent shade, provided the area is well-lit indirectly.

If your lawn or turf is partially shaded by large trees, walls, or fences, that should not stop you from keeping a lush lawn. 

– A Little Slow-Growing

Zoysia is not known for being a fast-growing grass overall. It tends to save all of its energy by being the thickest and the toughest grass type, among other useful things. It takes Zoysia grass seeds at least two to three weeks to begin germinating.

It might take a long time for this grass to fill the whole of your lawn or turf. However, Zoysia tends to get thicker and thicker with each growing season. Just show a little patience; your grass will get there eventually. 

The growth is also hugely dependent on growth conditions. In conditions of drought or partial shade, it might not grow dormant but its growth will be further retarded.


What is St Augustine Grass Best For?

Major pros include the ability to tolerate heat, shade, salt water, and drought. Cons associated with this grass are that it is very high-maintenance and cannot tolerate heavy foot traffic.

– St Augustine Can Tolerate High Heat

75 to 90 degrees is the right temperature range to grow your lawn grass. St Augustine grass seeds. This naturally means that you can only sow this grass in warmer climates. 

In the hotter southern regions, this grass will not only survive but thrive. You will not have to worry about the grass blades burning and yellowing under high heat, direct sun, and low water conditions.

– Has Excellent Shade Tolerance

Now, this grass will grow without access to direct sunlight. It needs eight hours of bright sun every day; it doesn’t matter if this sun is in indirect form.

St Augustine Requirements

No wonder this is the grass of choice in many residential lawns and turfs where direct light access is difficult. Sure, it might grow slower and not be as vibrant, but you will still get a lush lawn.

However, shade tolerance does not mean that Augustine cannot be grown under full sun. In fact, the best-looking and healthiest grass can only be grown under direct sunlight all day.

– St Augustine Has Good Salt Tolerance

One of the most well-sought properties of St Augustine is its ability to tolerate saline water. Most other turf grasses would not be able to survive if watered consistently with salt water. This is because it is usually dehydrating and produces chemical burns.

You can plant a St Augustine anywhere along the coast as well as in inland regions with salty water. There is simply no need whatsoever to go to the extra length of filtering water just for the sake of your lawn.

This also means this grass has a lower risk of getting burnt by fertilizers. You can go for a nitrogen-rich fertilizer on a regular basis. Just dilute it a little bit to stay on the safe side.

– Can Be A High Maintenance Lawn

This grass will not be a piece of cake, sadly. Even though it can tolerate conditions of drought for a while, it needs plenty of water otherwise to keep it lush and thick. You will have to water it frequently with a minimum of once per week.

Secondly, Augustine has very high fertilizing demands as well. You must start fertilizing your soil three weeks before the grass turns green. Then maintain a feeding schedule every month or once every two months. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer would be needed to keep the grass green and growing.

Feeding a lot means you will also have to mow your lawn. Moreover, you cannot even mow it too low. When mowed at two and a half inches, naturally, the grass will grow taller for more frequent mowing.

– It Has High Drought Tolerance

This grass is very flexible about its water needs. Practically, it needs only an inch of water every week. However, if you overwater it, it might absorb and store as much as two to three inches of water. 

On the other hand, it also tends to be tolerant when water is scarce. It has long roots that grow toward the underground water table. Hence, it can sustain itself even if it doesn’t rain or you don’t water it.

It might survive for weeks without any water, but it will show signs of dormancy after some time. Grass blades turning brown and dry are two ways in which this is manifested.

– Only Moderately Good With Foot Traffic

This is grass that can tolerate a moderate level of foot traffic over it pretty well. When you only occasionally visit your backyard or turf, your grass will maintain its sprightliness and perkiness.

However, if pets, kids, or yourself frequently visit the grass, then your grass will eventually begin to show wear. Augustine is not good at repairing trampled grass blades at a rapid pace.

If you use this grass a lot, there is a risk that empty spots might start appearing on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Is St Augustine Cheaper Than Zoysia?

Yes, St Augustine is far cheaper than Zoysia. In fact, there is a big gap when it comes to Zoysia vs st Augustine prices.

A typical variety of Zoysia costs about twice as much as St Augustine. Special varieties, such as Palisades Zoysia and the Zenith Zoysia grass seeds, are even more costly. 

– Will Zoysia Take Over St Augustine?

Yes, Zoysia grass has the ability to take over St Augustine or any other similar grass, such as Bermuda grass.

Will Zoysia Take Over St Augustine

The reason is its ability to grow in thick clusters that choke out weeds and neighboring grass varieties.


Congratulations on reaching the end of this comprehensive comparative guide on two of the most beautiful and popular warm-season grass types in the US.

Both grass types have more or less similar needs, but St Augustine tends to be more tolerant towards adverse conditions such as drought, shade, and salt water.

However, it has a very low tolerance for traffic over its blades and requires a high level of near-constant maintenance. We would recommend that you choose Zoysia as it is not only easy to take care of, but you and your family will be able to play around on its soft grass all you want.

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