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How to Grow and Care for Zoysia Grass Lawns Easily

Zoysia Grass

With its lush green carpet, exceptional resilience, and low-maintenance requirements, Zoysia grass has rightfully earned its place as a preferred choice for creating stunning and enduring lawns.

Botanically known as Zoysia japonica, this versatile grass species belongs to the Poaceae family. Native to East Asia, it has become a cherished addition to landscapes worldwide, thanks to its adaptability to various climates and soil conditions.

One of the most remarkable qualities of Zoysia grass is its resilience in the face of challenging conditions. It exhibits excellent drought tolerance, enabling it to withstand extended periods of dryness without sacrificing its lush green appearance. This attribute makes Zoysia grass particularly well-suited for regions with limited water resources or for those seeking to reduce water consumption in their gardens.

Beyond its ability to withstand drought, Zoysia grass provides exceptional wear tolerance, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.

Whether you envision children playing on a vibrant lawn or hosting outdoor gatherings with friends and family, Zoysia grass is sure to impress with its ability to rebound from heavy foot traffic and maintain its pristine beauty.

Maintaining Zoysia grass requires a balanced approach that includes appropriate watering, mowing, fertilization, and weed control. Throughout this article, I will guide you through each aspect of care, sharing insights garnered from years of hands-on experience as a master gardener, to ensure your Zoysia grass flourishes in all its green glory.

Zoysia Grass Lawn

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Botanical Name: Zoysia japonica

Common Name: Zoysia Grass

Family: Poaceae

Plant Type: Perennial grass

Hardiness Zones: 5 – 10 (USDA)

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-drained soil

Soil pH: Neutral to slightly acidic (6.0-7.0)

Native Area: East Asia

Zoysia Grass Care

Zoysia is a warm-season perennial turfgrass that spreads through stolons and rhizomes. The rigidity of the leaf blades is a distinguishing feature of this dense turf.

Zoysia has excellent wear tolerance, good drought tolerance, and moderate shade tolerance. It can thrive in the transition zone because, unlike some other warm season grasses, it has good cold tolerance.

This grass has low water and nutrient requirements since it develops a deep root system that helps it conserve moisture and resist droughts. Plus, due to its dense growth structure, a zoysia grass lawn resists weeds effectively once established.

It’s quite a versatile and resilient type of grass that can transform any yard into a lush and beautiful green oasis.

When planting and caring for zoysiagrass, it’s important to keep in mind that it can be invasive, spreading rapidly through stolons and rhizomes. However, this dense turf’s hardiness and adaptability to various conditions make it an attractive option for those seeking a durable, low-maintenance lawn option.


The amount of sunlight your Zoysia grass lawn receives is crucial to its growth and health. Some varieties of Zoysia grass require full sun, while others can tolerate partial shade. If your lawn is in a shaded area, make sure to choose a variety that can thrive in those conditions.

It’s important to note that even Zoysia grass varieties that can tolerate shade still require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow and thrive properly. If your lawn doesn’t receive enough sunlight, it may become thin and patchy.


Zoysia grass can adapt to a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay soils. However, it prefers well-drained soil that’s rich in nutrients. Before planting, it’s important to prepare the soil properly to ensure that your Zoysia grass can establish strong roots and grow healthy.

Start by removing any weeds or rocks from the area where you’ll be planting your Zoysia grass. Then, amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to improve its nutrient content and drainage. A soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal for Zoysia grass.

Soil testing can help determine the pH for your soil and you can easily adjust it with the help of some granulated lime to raise the pH level or small quantities of sulfur to lower it.

Wet Zoysia Grass

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.


Zoysia grass is relatively drought-tolerant and can survive periods of dry weather. However, it performs best when watered deeply but infrequently. Water your Zoysia grass lawn once or twice a week, depending on your climate and soil conditions.

It’s important to avoid overwatering your Zoysia grass, as this can cause root rot and other plant diseases. To determine if your lawn needs watering, check the soil moisture level by sticking a screwdriver or other long, thin object into the ground. If it goes in easily, your lawn doesn’t need watering yet. If it’s difficult to penetrate, it’s time to water.

Temperature and Humidity

Zoysia grass is relatively drought-tolerant and can survive periods of dry weather. However, it performs best when watered deeply but infrequently. Water your Zoysia grass lawn once or twice a week, depending on your climate and soil conditions.

It’s important to avoid overwatering your Zoysia grass, as this can cause root rot and other plant diseases. To determine if your lawn needs watering, check the soil moisture level by sticking a screwdriver or other long, thin object into the ground. If it goes in easily, your lawn doesn’t need watering yet. If it’s difficult to penetrate, it’s time to water.


Zoysia grass requires regular fertilization to maintain its health and vigor. Apply a complete fertilizer with a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying fertilizer, as over-fertilization can damage your lawn and lead to nutrient runoff. It’s also important to avoid fertilizing your Zoysia grass during periods of drought or extreme heat, as this can burn the grass and cause further damage.

Zoysia Japonica

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Zoysia Grass Varieties

Zoysia grass is a popular choice for lawns due to its drought-resistant nature and ability to withstand heavy foot traffic. There are various zoysia species available, and choosing the right one can make all the difference. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Zoysia matrella: This variety has fine, dark green blades and requires the most sunlight. It is commonly used in golf courses due to its ability to create a dense, uniform surface. Zoysia matrella is also known for its salt tolerance, making it a great option for coastal areas.
  • Zoysia japonica: This variety has broader blades and can tolerate partial shade. It is a popular choice for residential lawns due to its low maintenance requirements and ability to thrive in various soil types. Zoysia japonica is also known for its ability to resist disease and pests.
  • Zoysia tenuifolia: This variety has a unique appearance and is often used for ornamental purposes. Its fine, wiry blades create a carpet-like effect and it is commonly used in rock gardens or as a ground cover. Zoysia tenuifolia is also known for its slow growth rate, making it a low maintenance option.
  • Zoysia hybrid: This variety is a cross between Zoysia japonica and Zoysia matrella and provides a good balance of drought resistance and shade tolerance. It has a medium texture and is commonly used in residential lawns, golf courses, and sports fields. Zoysia hybrid is also known for its ability to recover quickly from damage.
Zoysia Matrella

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

How to Grow Zoysia Grass from Seed

While Zoysia grass can be grown from seed or sod, growing it from seed can be a more affordable option for those on a budget.

Before you begin growing Zoysia grass from seed, it’s important to note that seed-grown Zoysia may take longer to establish and may not produce the same quality as sod-grown Zoysia. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can still achieve a beautiful and healthy lawn.

Steps to Grow Zoysia Grass from Seed

  1. Choose the right time to plant: Zoysia grass should be planted in late spring or early summer when the soil temperature reaches 70-75°F. This will ensure optimal germination and growth.
  2. Prepare the soil: Start by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris from the area where you plan to plant Zoysia grass. You can use a rake or a hoe to loosen the soil and create a smooth surface. It’s also a good idea to add compost or other organic matter to the soil to improve its texture and fertility.
  3. Spread the seed: You can use a seed spreader or simply scatter the seed by hand. Be sure to spread the seed evenly over the soil to ensure consistent growth. A good rule of thumb is to use 1-2 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
  4. Water the seed: Zoysia grass seed needs to be kept moist until it germinates, which usually takes about 2-3 weeks. Water the area daily, using a gentle spray to avoid washing away the seed. Once the grass starts to grow, you can reduce the frequency of watering, but be sure to water deeply to encourage deep root growth.
  5. Mow the grass: Once the grass reaches about 2 inches tall, you can start mowing it to promote a healthy and dense lawn. Be sure to use a sharp mower blade and set the height to about 1-2 inches. Avoid mowing the grass too short, as this can stress the plants and make them more susceptible to disease and pests.
Zoysia Tenuifolia

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Tips for Maintaining a Zoysia Grass Lawn

If you want to maintain a healthy and beautiful Zoysia grass lawn, then you need to follow some essential tips. A well-maintained Zoysia grass lawn not only enhances the beauty of your property but also provides a comfortable place for your family to enjoy outdoor activities.

Here are some tips that can help you maintain a healthy and beautiful Zoysia grass lawn:

Mow Your Lawn Regularly

Mowing is an essential part of maintaining a Zoysia grass lawn. Regular mowing promotes healthy growth and prevents thatch buildup. Zoysiagrass should be mowed at a height of 1 to 2 inches. Mowing your lawn too short can damage the grass and make it more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Also, consider using a mulching mower and leave the grass clippings on the grass! It’ll serve as a free fertilizer treatment for your lawn.

Aerate Your Lawn

Aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. Aerating your lawn once a year can improve soil health and water penetration. It also helps to reduce soil compaction and thatch buildup.

Dethatch Your Lawn

Thatch is a layer of dead grass and other organic matter that accumulates on the surface of the soil. It can prevent air, water, and nutrients from reaching the grass roots.

Dethatching your lawn as needed can prevent buildup and promote healthy airflow. And remember that core aeration in early summer can also help your zoysia lawn from forming a dense mat of thatch.

Control Pests and Plant Diseases

Zoysia grass is susceptible to pests and diseases like any other plant. To keep your lawn healthy, you need to control pests and plant diseases by using appropriate pesticides and fungicides. You can consult with a lawn care professional to determine the best course of action.

Don’t Overwater Your Lawn

Overwatering your lawn can cause root rot and other plant diseases. Zoysia grass is drought-resistant and can tolerate dry conditions. Water your lawn deeply once a week instead of frequent shallow watering. This will help the grass develop deep roots and become more drought-resistant.

Remove Debris and Leaves

Debris and leaves can accumulate on your lawn and create an environment for mold and mildew growth. Regularly remove any debris or leaves from your lawn to prevent this from happening.

By following these tips, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful Zoysia grass lawn that will enhance the beauty of your property and provide a comfortable outdoor space for your family to enjoy.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is a popular choice for homeowners due to its dense growth, low maintenance, and ability to withstand drought and foot traffic.

However, like any other plant, Zoysia grass is susceptible to pests and plant diseases such as chinch bugs, mole crickets, grubs and others. Here are some of the most common issues to watch out for:

  • Chinch bugs: These small insects are a common pest for Zoysia grass. They feed on grass blades and inject a toxin that causes brown spots in your lawn. Chinch bugs also damage grass roots, making it harder for your lawn to absorb water and nutrients.
  • Armyworms: These caterpillars can cause significant damage to your Zoysia grass lawn. They feed on grass blades, leaving behind brown patches and bare spots. Armyworms are most active in the late summer and early fall.
  • Brown patch: This fungal disease thrives in warm, humid weather and can cause large brown patches in your lawn. Brown patch is most common in the summer and early fall, and it can spread quickly if not treated promptly.
  • Dollar spot: This fungal disease can cause small, round patches in your lawn that are about the size of a silver dollar. Dollar spot is most common in the spring and fall, and it can be difficult to control.

If you notice any of these issues in your lawn, it’s important to take action promptly to prevent further damage. One way to prevent pest and disease problems is to maintain a healthy lawn.

This includes regular watering, fertilization, and mowing. You should also avoid overwatering your lawn, as this can create a humid environment that is ideal for fungal growth.

If you do need to treat your lawn for pests or diseases, there are several options available. You can use chemical pesticides, but these should be used sparingly and only as a last resort. There are also organic and natural treatments available, such as neem oil and beneficial nematodes.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can plant, grow, and care for a beautiful and healthy Zoysia grass lawn that will provide many years of enjoyment and relaxation.


Other Grass Guides from Planet Natural:

10 Best Types of Grass for Your Lawn: A Full Guide

Top Low-Maintenance Grass Alternatives for Your Backyard

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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.