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Plant and Care for Zoysia Grass

Zoysia is a great choice for warmer climates. Zoysia grass is a soft, dense, attractive home turfgrass option. When established and properly cared for, zoysia is heat- and drought-resistant and can stand up to heavy foot traffic.

Zoysia Grass.

Zoysia Lawn Features

 Zoysia is a warm-season, perennial, turf-type grass that spreads by stolons and rhizomes. Its dense turf is characterized by stiff leaf blades. Zoysia exhibits exceptional wear tolerance, good drought tolerance and moderate shade tolerance. Zoysia has a low-water and nutrition requirement. Once fully established, it resists weeds well due to its dense growth pattern. Zoysia does turn brown after the first hard frost but resumes growth as soil temperatures return to 70 degrees F. Note: Zoysia turns dormant earlier in the winter than other warm-season grasses and may remain brown longer. Other zoysia characteristics to note include:

Daily Sunlight Required: Adaptable to full sun to partial shade (six to eight hours of sunlight)

Sun Tolerance: Excellent

Shade Tolerance: Moderate

Grass Color: Dark green in season, tan/brown when dormant

Grass Texture: Medium

Drought Tolerance: Good

Disease Resistance: Good

Traffic Tolerance: Exceptional

USDA Planting Zones: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (may not be adaptable to all areas within each climatic zone). Find your USDA Zone.

Recommended Planting Dates: Mid- to late spring after the last frost or early fall, depending on your specific location

Average Germination: 14 to 21 Days

Mowing Height: 1.0 to 2.5 Inches

Seeding Instructions for Zoysia Grass

The ideal time to plant zoysia is in mid- to late spring (after the final frost) or early summer. It can also be planted in fall, a minimum of 60 days before the first frost is expected. Beyond this point, any seed planted may not survive the winter, due to insufficient time to establish in the ground before cold weather arrives.

Seeding a New Lawn

Step 1

Start with a soil test to be sure your soil has the proper nutrients it needs for a healthy lawn. The pH should be between 5.8 and 6.5. Apply fertilizer and soil amendment at the test's recommended rates. If you can't conduct a soil test, apply a complete lawn fertilizer according to the recommended rates on the packages.

Step 2

Prepare the soil by loosening to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.

Step 3

Rake the soil surface smooth to give the seed an ideal bed to establish healthy roots.

Step 4

Sow the grass seed by evenly spreading according to the recommended seeding rates using a drop or broadcast spreader. Lightly rake, harrow or otherwise work the seed into the soil no more than ¼ of an inch deep. Adequate light will ensure faster germination.

Step 5

Keep the area well-watered until the seeds germinate and the seedlings have grown sufficiently to establish a lawn, then water as needed. If necessary, thinly apply a mulch product to prevent erosion of the seed while still allowing adequate light to reach the seed.

Seeding an Existing Lawn

Step 1

Determine the condition of your lawn. If 50% of the lawn is still good (not bare of grass or full of weeds), it's best to basically start over. If your lawn is in better shape, skip the spraying steps and concentrate on aerating and overseeding.

Step 2

Spray the existing grass with a nonselective herbicide labeled for lawn use.

Step 3

Wait at least seven days to make certain all the grass is killed. Re-apply herbicide to areas that aren't completely dead.

Step 4

Using a standard lawn mower, mow the dead grass close to the ground. If there isn't excess dead organic matter (i.e., clippings, leaves, twigs, etc.), allow the clippings to remain on the ground as a mulch covering the seed, which can be beneficial.

Step 5

Aerate the area thoroughly. (Wait at least seven days after the final spraying.)

Step 6

Plant the seed mixture according to the coverage rate on the package, making certain the seed is spread evenly across the area.

Step 7

Water daily for 30 days, keeping the seedbed moist at all times.

Step 8

After seedlings emerge and grass is established, reduce watering frequency and water only as needed.

Applying Weed Control Products to Zoysia Grass

Applying weed control products to grass prior to seeding can affect the seeds’ ability to grow. Read and follow all manufacturer’s recommendations and application instructions prior to applying any weed control products and before seeding.

Don't use any pre-emergent or weed and feed control products 90 days before you plant the seed. The chemicals in these products may cause seeds to be damaged or inhibit germination.

Caring for Zoysia Grass


When grass has grown to at least 1/3 of an inch higher than the recommended height of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches (i.e., grass has grown to 3 inches tall versus a recommended height of 2 inches), begin mowing. The dense growth pattern of zoysia grass, combined with mowing, will keep weeds at bay.

Additional Care Tips

  • Avoid removing more than 1/3 of the total grass blade length at any single mowing to keep your grass thick and healthy.
  • Increase your mowing height in summer months to reduce grass stress.
  • Remove thatch on a periodic basis as it accumulates. Excessive thatch can block water, sun and fertilizer from reaching the soil. Remove thatch in early spring before the grass begins to turn green again. Remove thatch by raking or mowing with a bagger once you have completed dethatching.

When using lawn treatments or lawn care products, always follow package directions regarding proper clothing, protective equipment, application procedures and safety precautions.