A thick carpet of zoysia grass

Zoysia Grass Care (The Ultimate Guide for Zoysiagrass)

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

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A dense, low-growing turf grass, Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that is popularly grown in the Southern US and into transition zones where warm-season grasses are frequently planted with cool-season grasses. When planted in the south under optimal conditions, a Zoysia grass lawn is wonderfully weed resistant. Grassy weeds will find it quite difficult to infiltrate a well-established Zoysia lawn. 

Introduced to the US from Korea around the year 1900, Zoysia grass, or Zoysiagrass as it’s sometimes referred to, spreads aggressively and is quite durable, which is why it’s a popular turf grass option for golf courses. It also boasts an attractive medium green to dark green hue and appears like a dense carpet when established. Learn how to care for your Zoysia grass lawn here so you can keep it healthy and looking its best.

Caring for a Zoysia Grass Lawn

Although a Zoysia lawn is terrifically low maintenance, it’s certainly not a no-maintenance type of grass. The following information will help you maintain a healthy Zoysia lawn. 

Fertilization of Zoysia Lawns 

In comparison with other warm-season grasses, Zoysia is not especially needy when it comes to nutrients. Plan to provide about one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every four weeks between May and August for your established Zoysia lawn. Starting your fertilizing program in late spring is best; if you begin too early, you may have a weed control problem on your hands soon after. By early fall, at the end of the growing season, you can cease fertilizing Zoysia grass as it moves into its dormancy period and is no longer actively growing.

If you’re just planting Zoysia grass, you should perform a soil test to see if you need soil amendments. You can purchase a soil test at your local garden center or online. When trying to establish your Zoysia grass, you may want to increase your fertilization to roughly two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Soil testing will alert you if other nutrients are missing. A Zoysiagrass lawn prefers slightly acidic soil. 

Weed Control for Zoysia Lawns

A healthy lawn is its own best defense against grassy weeds, and that’s particularly so with Zoysia grass. However, you may want to guard against annual and perennial broadleaf weeds during the dormant season. Chickweed and henbit can be a nuisance to Zoysia grass. Controlling broadleaf weeds in fall is easier than in spring when they’re spreading weed seeds. You can apply a pre-emergent herbicide before weeds begin to grow to help guard against broadleaf weeds and summer annual weeds. 

Lawn Fungus and Disease Control

Zoysia grass is highly disease resistant, but it’s not immune. The key to maintaining healthy Zoysiagrass lawns is to treat disease as soon as possible to prevent its spread. Proper maintenance of your Zoysia grass will reduce the risk of disease. However, if you notice brown spots or other signs of a fungus infection, you should apply a fungicide treatment. Brown patch, dollar spot, and rust are not unknown problems for Zoysia grass, but with proper and early disease control methods, you can prevent these diseases from spreading across your entire lawn.

Pest Control

Zoysia lawns can be plagued by pests like white grubs, chinch bugs, and mole crickets. Proper care of your lawn which includes core aeration, fertilization, and thatch removal, can help prevent pests. However, you may need to apply pest control solutions like a chemical treatment if your Zoysia lawn has been infested with insect pests. There are various insect control products on the market that are ideal for Zoysia as well as other warm-season grasses.

Mowing Height and Frequency

Mowing occurs during the growing season, but check your lawn mower before mowing. Zoysia grass blades can be coarse and dull mower blades quickly. Ensure your lawn mower’s blades are sharp so they won’t damage grass blades when cutting. The ideal mowing height for Zoysia grass is about one to two inches. When establishing your lawn, adjust your mowing height to let the grass grow a bit longer; this will help shade the soil and ensure the grass develops a strong root system.

In addition to mowing, plan to dethatch your lawn. Zoysia can develop a thatch problem. Thatch control is crucial for Zoysia grass. Remove the thatch layer and grass clippings from the lawn surface with a power rake as needed. After removing the thatch, plan to apply fertilizer to help repair any damaged grass.

Watering Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grows well in full sun and is a drought-tolerant grass, but it does require watering to ensure its lush green appearance. Deep, infrequent watering (about one inch per week) will support a deep root system. During the summer heat, be sure to water between 1 inch and 1 ¼ inches of combined rainfall and irrigation. 

More Zoysia Grass FAQs

How do I make my Zoysia grass green?

One of the complaints against Zoysia is its tendency to brown during winter. However, once soil temperatures warm up in early spring, your Zoysia grass will begin to green up. Before soil temperatures warm up, however, it may remain dull. Proper care allows maintaining the grass’s green hue in places that don’t experience freezing or extremely cold winter temperatures. 

What happens if you don’t cut Zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass is slow growing. That means it doesn’t require frequent mowing. If you choose not to mow, the grass will begin to appear tufty. Some people enjoy this look of dense turf. However, the grass will grow to form a dense mat, which will be difficult to mow should you choose to.

What are the disadvantages of zoysia grass?

By the middle of fall, especially in transition zones, zoysia lawns can begin to lose their vibrant green, which is a downside of the grass. Zoysia is prone to thatch issues, so don’t allow a thick layer of thatch to build up. Finally, zoysia is also slow to establish itself.

Is zoysia grass hard to maintain?

Zoysia lawns are regarded as low maintenance. They do not require extensive weed control or are especially vulnerable to pests or disease in normal circumstances. For these reasons, golf courses often favor this lawn grass, which is resistant to foot traffic too.

How do you take care of a zoysia lawn?

Zoysia lawns form a dense carpet of grass that should be medium green in color when healthy. Proper zoysia care requires regular fertilizing during its growing season, mowing, and performing weed control, disease control, and pest control measures to maintain its health. Although a drought tolerant lawn, zoysia lawns should be watered routinely (about an inch per week) to help it thrive.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

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