Zoysia Grass Lawn: How to Grow and Care

What is Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass with 39 Zoysia varieties in the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP); five are commercially available.

Vertical growth and spread are by the deep root system of rhizomes and stolons.

The diversity of Zoysia varieties provides a wide range of characteristics in leaf texture, color, cold, shade and drought tolerances, mowing height, etc.

Therefore, it is essential to determine which variety is best for your Zoysia lawn based on personal preferences and needs.

While a few Zoysia grass varieties are available as seed, most are only available as sod due to infertility in their seed production.


There are three principal species of Zoysia grass used for laws: Zoysia Japonica, Zoysia Matrella, and Zoysia Tenuifoliatenuifolia.

The texture, cold tolerance, and aggressiveness are the main differentiators.

Zoysia lawns do well in recreational areas with moderate traffic, such as golf courses and baseball pitches.

You can grow these in various soils, including sands, clays, acidic and alkaline soils.

Zoysia grasses grow well in the United States along the Atlantic coast from Florida to Connecticut and the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, across the transition zone, and California.

This grass can provide a beautiful, dense lawn with very little input in these areas.

Key Characteristics

Establishment methodssod, sprigs, plugs, grass seed
Maintenance levelmedium
Mowing height (inches)¾ to 2 inches
Mowing frequencymoderate, every couple of weeks
Mower preferencethe rotary mower for coarse leaf varieties, reel for finer leaf cultivars
Soil conditionwide range
Colormedium green to dark green color
Texturemedium to fine
Disease tendencymoderate
Drought tolerancedrought resistant
Salt tolerancegood
Shade toleranceexcellent
Cold tolerancevery good
Thatch tendencyhigh
Wear tolerancehigh foot traffic tolerant

How to Care for & Grow Zoysia Grass Lawn

If you establish a new lawn, you can plant Zoysia grass in late spring to early summer.

Sampling the lawn area’s soil several months before you plan to grow allows time for making the recommended adjustments.

Do this when your soil isn’t frozen or overly wet.

For sample kits and testing laboratory locations, contact your county extension agent.

A precise soil sample is a mixture of ten smaller samples from randomly selected plots.

The ten smaller samples, called cores, should be soil up to 8-inches deep.

Planting from seed is an option for some variants – mainly Zoysia Japonica.

Usually,  you would plant Zoysia grass from sprigs, sod, or Zoysia grass plugs.

Seedbed preparation and planting techniques are essential to establish a Zoysia turf successfully.


Tear sods apart to provide sprigs, or cut them into 2-inch sod plugs for planting.

Make sure your sprigs consist of a section of stem or rhizome with two or more nodes.

Plant these no more than two inches apart in rows spaced 6-inches apart.

Suppose you use Zoysia grass plugs, then spread these 6-inches apart.

Keep freshly planted Zoysia grass moist for several weeks after planting, controlling any emerging weeds.

Zoysia grass is not half as aggressive as Bermuda grass and needs all the help it can get to establish.

Fertilize newly planted Zoysia grass with a 1-2-1 or similar fertilizer at a 1 pound of nitrogen rate per 1,000 sq. ft.

Monthly nitrogen applications at up to 1 pound per 1,000 sq. ft. will promote the spread of the Zoysia grass.

Caring for Your Zoysia Grass Lawn

As warm-season grass, Zoysia lawns thrive in heat, with the primary growing season peaking in late spring and throughout the summer months.

Most of your care tasks will be during this time. As temperatures cool, grass zoysia begins to go dormant.


Zoysia grass and Bahia are two dense turfgrasses that prefer a rotary mower.

The Zoysia grass seed pods are tough and cause trouble for reel mowers.

Zoysia may require multiple passes to get an even cut without upright stragglers.

Because Zoysia grass spreads so slowly, it classifies as one of the low-maintenance lawn grasses, requiring an occasional mow.

As soil temperatures start reaching 65 degrees Fahrenheit, your Zoysia grass will exit dormancy and begin to grow, needing its first post-winter mow.

Continue mowing to keep the lawn height between 0.75 and 1.5 inches, never removing more than one-third of the grass blade length in a single cut.


Zoysia grass is drought resistant, but this ability improves with a deeper root system.

Typically, Zoysia grass lawns require one inch of water from rainfall or irrigation per week.

Deep, infrequent watering encourages deep, drought-resistant roots.

To keep your Zoysia grass lush and remain green, sandy soil may require more frequent watering.

Once temperatures drop, and after the first frost, you can stop watering or infrequently water as the lawn goes into dormancy, noticeable as the grass turns brown.



Zoysia grass’s dense growth habit may cause excess thatch.

During the peak growing season, core aeration will deal with both compacted soil and thatch build-up.

Core aeration eliminates soil layers, including thatch, and creates pathways for water and nutrients to enter thatch and compacted soil.

The procedure aids in the preparation of thatch for removal, promoting the disintegration of existing thatch.

Dethatching aids in cutting through thatch into the soil and removing the heavy layer of collected organic waste.


Serious insect issues are uncommon in Zoysia grasses.

Diseases such as brown patches, rust, and leaf spot can create problems with Zoysia grass turf, although the grass typically recovers when environmental circumstances improve.


White grubs are the most common bug that attacks Zoysia grass turf.

The most efficient approach to prevent a grub problem is to monitor the soil beneath the lawn over the summer and fall.

When grub numbers surpass 4 to 5 per square foot of turf, we recommend pesticide treatment.

Climate Tolerance

Wait until overnight temperatures are consistently lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

The grass begins to brown before overseeding your Zoysia lawn with other grasses for temporary winter color.

Avoid all weed killers for at least three weeks before planting perennial ryegrass seed.

Grass Zoysia prefers full sun and warm weather, though some new variants have improved cold tolerance and produced a dense turf.

By mixing Zoysia with cool-season grasses, you can extend the amount of green you have in your cool season.


Zoysia is not quick to recover from excessive damage. The grass works well in moderate to heavy foot traffic like golf courses with proper lawn care.

As long as cold temperatures prevail, Zoysia will remain dormant.

Other types of grass to consider

If you are looking for other varieties of grass to grow in your yard, check out our other related posts:


What are the pros and cons of zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass is drought-tolerant and adaptable, growing in a variety of soils, including salty soils, and requiring little care. The disadvantages are that it takes a long time to establish itself, that it is difficult to recover from damage, that it does not perform well in cold weather, and that it does not manage foot traffic well. It offers many benefits over other warm-season grasses, including the following: it requires little care, thrives in a wide range of soil types, and tolerates heavy foot traffic well.

Where does zoysia grass grow best?

Zoysia grass thrives in warm-season regions, ideally warm tropical climes, where it receives plenty of sunshine and heat. Zoysia grass is warm-weather grass that can also withstand cold temperatures when grown in the right conditions. This grass variety prefers direct sunlight (approximately 6 to 8 hours each day), although it may also thrive in mild shade. The southern regions of the United States are the best areas to grow Zoysia grass.

Is zoysia grass any good?

Zoysia grass is an incredibly aggressive spreading grass that has the ability to practically choke out weeds in its path. The fact that it requires little maintenance is a big selling point. Additionally, since it is resistant to weeds, insects, and illnesses, Zoysia grass provides for a long-lasting lawn. With new hybrids being produced all of the time, the situation in transitional zones is only getting better.

Is zoysia grass hard to maintain?

Once established, Zoysia grass is simple to care for. The enhanced turf-type zoysiagrass will develop to form a thick, low-growing turf with moderate lateral growth but normal leaf growth. However, because of the rigidity of the leaf blades, zoysiagrass may be difficult to mow, and the mower blade must be sharpened periodically during the growing season.

In Summary

Zoysia grass creates a spectacular lawn, even in moderate shade. It is hardy and is low maintenance, even under heavy foot traffic.

Its ability to grow in saline soil gives it further popularity in coastal areas.


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