Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by Mattias
Zoysia grass is a pleasant-looking grass variety that is a popular choice because of its lush appearance. It is one of the warm-season grasses that are easily maintainable and doesn’t require much to thrive on your lawn. However, if you ensure proper zoysia grass maintenance, growth will be even more vigorous.
If you have had a lawn for a long time, you’d know that lawn care is the ultimate key to a healthy lawn. If you want to learn how to care for Zoysia grass, keep reading this article and find out.
How To Care For Zoysia Grass
The best way to care for zoysia grass is by ensuring that it has access to full sun for at least 6 – 8 hours per day. It is a warm-season grass, and all of its growth requirements regarding weather and temperature should be fulfilled. This grass can survive in partial shade, but it is never recommended to plant it there. It doesn’t need frequent irrigation either, and one inch per week will be more than enough. Zoysia needs less fertilizer application and nutrient incorporation than other grasses, but thatch and diseases should be handled timely.
You may think your job is done after planting zoysia grass on your lawn, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you want to see a healthy and vibrant lawn, you’d need to ensure that your grass has all it needs. Its fundamental growth requirements, such as high temperatures and soil type, should be fulfilled first. As for additional care, those requirements include elements such as water requirements, fertilizer, mowing, and several other vital things. If you want to learn in detail how to care for zoysia grass, then look below.
When it comes to Zoysia grass water requirements, they are pretty standard and easy to keep up with. This grass only needs an inch of water each week, and if rainfall is fulfilling that quota, then irrigation is not even necessary. Remember that zoysia is a type of grass that likes deep watering rather than frequent watering sessions. When you water the grass, ensure that the water is directed toward the roots and properly soaked.
This will promote a deep root system and drought-resistant lawn. Since zoysia grass is naturally drought tolerant, it needs less water than grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass or bermuda grass.
Even though these watering requirements stay the same during summer, you may need to water more during dry periods. Conduct a deep watering session if your grass is showing signs of stress and you are worried about growth. However, your main focus should be encouraging its drought-resistant characteristics rather than unintentionally overwatering.
The best time to water Zoysia Grass is early morning. The sun has risen by this time, but suitably for the grass, the heat isn’t as intense as early afternoon. You can conduct a session, and the grass will have plenty of time to absorb that water before evaporation begins.
Refrain from watering during the evening or nighttime because water droplets will remain on the grass overnight, and several deadly diseases will be attracted.
There is no doubt that fertilizers are recommended for all types of grasses, and they are an excellent way of incorporating nutrients into your lawn. Zoysia grass isn’t an exception; fertilizers benefit it just as much as any other grass. However, what’s different about fully grown Zoysia grass is that it only needs small amounts.
The standard quantity is 2 pounds of nitrogen-rich fertilizer per 1000 square feet. Any more or less than that can lead to additional problems. As mentioned above, it is a low-maintenance grass, and even though fertilizers are beneficial, this grass can thrive with minimal effort on your part.
The best way to know which fertilizer to use is by conducting soil tests. It is an easily performable task that can be done with home test kits and soil samples. Once the results return, you can evaluate them and see which nutrient is deficient in your grass. Afterward, you should buy adequate fertilizer from your nearest gardening store, read the product label, and follow the instructions to complete the task.
Because soil ph is also visible in these tests, you should use that information and correct your soil levels as well. Zoysia grass prefers slightly acidic soils, so your field should generally have a ph of 6.0-6.5. If that’s not the case, you can apply lime to increase the ph level.
Any other nutrient deficiencies of potassium or phosphorus can be solved with adequate fertilizers in ratios 1:1:1 or 2:1:1.
Zoysia Grass should be fertilized in a period between late spring and summer (May-August). Applying fertilizers in early spring before the recommended period encourages weeds, and applying them later interrupts the dormancy period.
What happens if you over-fertilize a Zoysia Grass lawn
Applying excessive fertilizer increases salt and nitrogen levels in your lawn, which is extremely harmful to the grass. Too much fertilizer can cause “fertilizer burn” which is a situation where dead patches cover your lawn in unsightly patterns.
Symptoms of over-fertilizing a Zoysia grass lawn
- The slow growth of the grass
- Lower leaves will start turning brown
- Brown leaf tips
- Blackened limp roots
- Browning margins
- Seedlings will begin to die
- Fertilizer will be visible on the top layer of soil in the form of a crust.
Mowing is another one of the main maintenance factors that require proper care. Zoysia grass appears more pleasant when it is cut down to 1-2 inches. This height is shorter than several other varieties, but it is the best option for zoysia. As you know, dead Plant tissue, roots, stems, and other decomposing matter gathers on the soil surface during dormancy.
You should decrease the mower setting in the early spring so that this excess material can also be removed. The mowing height should be raised at the end of August to prepare the grass for dormancy. Since sending short-heightened grass in winter dormancy is not advised, you should refrain from mowing when the first frost is predicted to be 60 days away.
If you neglect this general rule, your grass will be more susceptible to damage, weeds, and threatening diseases.
The standard recommended height for all cultivars is 1.5 inches, but this can change under different circumstances and seasons. Coarse textured zoysia grass should be cut at 1.75 inches to 2.5 inches, whereas fine textured grass delivers the best results when it is cut down to 1 inch. Zoysia grass in shady regions should be higher than other cultivars to compete with other species for nutrients.
Lastly, you should never cut more than ⅓ of the leaf blade as it can interfere with chlorophyll production and photosynthesis.
Benefits of mowing a Zoysia grass lawn
There are several benefits of caring for your grass in this way. Mowing doesn’t only improve appearance but health and other features as well
- It encourages the toughness of the grass
- It speeds up the growth process
- It ensures a drought-resistant and healthy lawn
- It keeps the leaf blades at a maintainable height
- Mowing leads to lateral growth
- The turf remains uniform and tidy
Weeds are invasive species that are considered to be one of the most common problems in turf grasses, and lack of proper care significantly increases their risk in your lawn.
A healthy zoysia lawn can resist weeds on its own, and it will fight them off before you even see the signs of infestation. However, dormant Zoysia Grass is not nearly as effective, and you’ll need to intervene to protect the lawn. You need to remember that grass doesn’t grow during dormancy, and it preserves its energy for basic survival. It is not only weak but vulnerable as well, which means that weeds can easily overtake it. Winter annual weeds mostly include chickweed and henbit, but several other species can also attack. Since your Zoysia lawn won’t be as resistant and competitive as usual, it will be overshaded and starved to death.
You can solve this problem by using chemical products and preventative measures such as selective herbicides, pre-emergent herbicides, and post-emergent herbicides. Grassy weeds can be avoided if you encourage Zoysia’s growth from day one and fulfill all of its requirements. You can also apply selective preventers to eliminate grassy weeds in your Zoysia lawn.
Furthermore, broadleaf weeds are easily identifiable in a Zoysia lawn, so if you keep an eye out, chances are that you’ll be able to stop the infestation before things get out of control. If you have spotted them in the early stages, you don’t need to use chemicals at all, and you can simply pull the weed out by its roots. This method is just as effective and reduces the risk of chemicals damaging Zoysia Grass.
Weeds are mostly likely to attack when
- The grass is in a dormancy period
- Your lawn is damaged
- Your lawn is infected by insects or diseases
- The grass isn’t strong enough to fight off the weeds
- Lack of care has made Zoysia Grass less competitive
Insect and diseases
Insects and diseases are undoubtedly one of the most threatening problems in Zoysia Grass and if you don’t handle them at the right time, they can harm your lawn on a serious level.
You need to remember that insects and diseases are stubborn and most likely to attack ill-kept lawns. If you want to prevent them in the first place, follow and maintain all of the lawn care factors listed above. Proper watering, mowing, and fertilizer application are a few of the primary things that improve the health of your lawn, so if your turf has all of these, it won’t be at risk of getting attacked.
The good news is that zoysia grass is not as vulnerable to insects as some of the other grass types; however, you can expect to see white grubs and billbugs occasionally. Apart from lawn care, insects can also be eliminated by suitable insecticides. If you notice the signs of Insects i.e, thinning of grass and slow growth, you should go ahead and evaluate your lawn thoroughly. White grub worms live beneath the soil; the only way to spit them is by digging into the soil. Once the problem is identified, insecticides/ Insect killers or other products can be used to eliminate them.
As for the diseases, they also attack poorly kept lawns, so the best way to prevent them is by taking proper lawn care. Fungal diseases such as the large patch (brown patch), Fairy ring, dollar spot, and rust are the most common problems in Zoysia Grass, and you can get rid of them by using fungicides and cultural practices.
If you want to avoid diseases, then refrain from the following things
- Cutting back on lawn care during the rainy season
- Watering the lawn in the evening or night
- Increasing soil moisture
- Neglecting your grass under high temperatures and a humid environment
- Letting water droplets stay on grass blades for a prolonged period
The thatch layer refers to the buildup of decomposing matter that forms on the top surface of the soil. This layer usually consists of dead Plant tissue, roots, stolons, rhizomes, grass clippings, and excess material that can vary in thickness and size. It is best to dethatch your lawn before the later exceeds ½ inch depth, and you can do this by using vertical mowers or rakes.
Thatch is dangerous for your lawn because it hinders the transfer of nutrients and weakens your grass. Zoysia is a warm-season grass that needs full sun to grow properly; a thick layer blocks sunlight and causes damage. Much like this scenario, the thatch layer also stops water, fertilizers, and other incorporated nutrients from reaching the roots.
Zoysia grass is highly prone to Thatch buildup because of its thick stems and extensive root system.
Here are a few important tips.
- Use a bagger to collect grass clippings while mowing
- Don’t over-fertilize and accelerate the growth
- Mow regularly to eliminate Thatch before it gets too thick
- Water deeply and make sure that it reaches the roots
- Make sure that the Thatch layer is less than ½ inch at all times
- Remember that early summer is the best time to detach your lawn
- Consider using core aeration on your lawn
How To Care For Zoysia Grass Summary
If you’re constantly worried about your lawn getting thin or your growth rate getting affected, then you should know that lawn care can only prevent these problems. Since zoysia is one of the most low-maintenance grasses, how to care for zoysia grass isn’t even a difficult question.
Despite its easy nature, caring for zoysia grass doesn’t only refer to planting it in the right season and watering it occasionally. This article discussed some of the most important factors that can improve your lawn’s Health and appearance. From watering, fertilizer, and mowing requirements to weed control, Insect/disease, and Thatch buildup. We covered each of these elements and explained how you could work on them. Furthermore, we also discussed how each of these affects your lawn, the benefits of adopting the right method, and the adverse effects that occur in case you neglect them.
Lastly, you must remember that maintaining Zoysia Grass and properly caring for it can make a huge difference in your lawn.
Did you find this article useful? We hope it answered your question and helped you understand the proper care requirements. Share it with your friends and let them know about these details too.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.