A Homeowner’s Guide To Caring For Zoysiagrass

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Zoysiagrass, a highly sought-after turfgrass, has gained acclaim among homeowners and landscapers for its exceptional durability, low maintenance requirements, and visually appealing lush green appearance. Known for its ability to thrive in various climates and soil conditions, Zoysiagrass stands out as a resilient and versatile choice for lawns, golf courses, and public parks. 

This guide will delve into the myriad benefits of Zoysiagrass, offer detailed insights on its identification and life cycle, and provide expert advice on year-round care to ensure your Zoysiagrass lawn remains healthy, vibrant, and sustainable.

Benefits Of Zoysiagrass

While there are many desirable and attractive turfgrasses available, Zoysiagrass offers numerous advantages that make it an appealing choice for lawns.

  • Drought Tolerance: Zoysiagrass has deep root systems that allow it to withstand periods of drought. Compared to many other grass types, it requires less frequent watering, making it ideal for water conservation.
  • Shade Tolerance: While Zoysiagrass thrives in full sun, it also performs well in partially shaded areas, providing flexibility in various landscape settings.
  • Wear Resistance: Due to its dense growth habit, Zoysiagrass is highly resistant to foot traffic and other stresses, making it a perfect choice for homes with active outdoor spaces.
  • Low Maintenance: Zoysiagrass grows slowly, reducing the frequency of mowing and fertilization required. Its thick mat also naturally suppresses weeds, minimizing the need for herbicides.
  • Pest & Disease Resistance: This grass type has a high resistance to many common turf pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Identifying Zoysiagrass

Accurate identification of Zoysiagrass is essential for proper care.

  • Leaf Blade Characteristics: Zoysiagrass blades are stiff, narrow, and slightly hairy. They have a pointed tip and are typically 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.
  • Growth Habit: Due to its rhizomatous and stoloniferous nature, it grows in dense mats and spreads both above and below ground.
  • Color: Zoysiagrass is a medium to dark green color during the growing season, turning a golden brown in dormancy.
  • Texture: The texture of Zoysiagrass can range from fine to coarse, depending on the variety.

Life Cycle Of Zoysiagrass

Understanding the life cycle of Zoysiagrass helps in planning its care and maintenance Zoysiagrass can be established from sod, plugs, or seeds. Sod provides immediate coverage, while plugs and seeds take longer to fill in but are more cost-effective.

  • Growth: The primary growth period for Zoysiagrass is during the warm months, typically from late spring to early fall. During this time, it spreads and thickens, forming a dense turf.
  • Dormancy: In cooler climates, Zoysiagrass enters dormancy in the late fall and turns brown. This is a natural part of its life cycle, and the grass will green up again in the spring as temperatures rise.

Seasonal Care For Zoysiagrass

Caring for Zoysiagrass requires a strategic approach that adapts to the changing seasons, ensuring this resilient turfgrass remains healthy and vibrant year-round. Each season presents unique challenges and opportunities for maintaining Zoysiagrass, from the rejuvenation and growth spurts of spring to the dormancy and protection needs of winter. Below is a detailed breakdown.


Spring is the ideal time to plant your grass and revive old grass after being dormant for the cold season. This is the most labor-intensive season for homeowners, and certain steps are crucial to achieving the most attractive lush lawn you desire.

  • Mowing: Begin mowing when the grass starts to green up. Set the mower height to 1.5 to 2 inches. Regular mowing helps maintain turf density and prevents thatch buildup.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to provide consistent nutrients as the grass emerges from dormancy.
  • Thatch Control: Dethatch if necessary. Thatch is a layer of organic material that can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the soil. Use a dethatching rake or machine if the thatch layer exceeds 1/2 inch.
  • Weed Control: Apply pre-emergent herbicides to prevent summer weeds. Be cautious not to apply these products too early or too late, as timing is critical for effectiveness.


After the hard work done in spring, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor on your lush green lawn. This is the season of maintenance and protecting your lawn from the harsh summer heat.

  • Watering: Water deeply but infrequently, about 1 inch per week. Water should be used early in the morning to reduce evaporation and the risk of fungal disease.
  • Mowing: Continue mowing at 1.5 to 2 inches. To avoid stressing the grass, do not remove more than one-third of the blade at a time.
  • Fertilization: Apply a light fertilizer application if needed. Avoid over-fertilizing as it can lead to excessive growth and increased thatch.
  • Pest Management: Monitor for signs of pests and diseases. Treat as necessary with appropriate controls, following label instructions to avoid damaging the turf.


After enjoying your lawn all summer, it is time to prepare it to survive the cold weather. This requires scaling back on some maintenance practices while adding new practices to ensure your lawn survives the cold season. 

  • Mowing: Gradually reduce mowing frequency as growth slows. Keep the mower height at 1.5 to 2 inches until dormancy begins.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early autumn to help the grass store nutrients for winter. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers late in the season.
  • Overseeding: If desired, overseed with cool-season grass to maintain green color during Zoysiagrass dormancy. Ensure good seed-to-soil contact for successful germination.
  • Weed Control: Apply pre-emergent herbicides to prevent winter weeds. Address any broadleaf weeds with appropriate post-emergent products.


Wintertime is when the plants and grass on your lawn become dormant. This doesn’t mean your lawn no longer needs care and can be ignored. To ensure your lawn can once again be a lush green oasis in the spring, be sure to take these steps in the winter.

  • Dormancy Care: Zoysiagrass will be dormant and brown. Avoid excessive foot traffic to prevent damage to the dormant turf.
  • Lawn Clean-Up: Remove debris and fallen leaves to prevent mold and mildew. This helps maintain airflow and reduces disease risk.
  • Planning: Plan any major lawn renovations or projects for the upcoming spring. Assess the need for soil amendments or additional plantings. 
  • Professional Services: Professional lawn maintenance is the best way to make sure your lawn stays as healthy as possible through the harsh winter months. Contact a professional, like Heartland Turf & Landscape, to start planning for your Zoysiagrass landscape today!