Zoysia Grass: A Complete Guide

Zoysia grass is a warm-season turf grass commonly used in lawns. It is fine to medium-textured and ranges in color from light to dark green. It thrives in temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit but can grow in areas ranging from USDA hardiness zones 5 through 10. Because of this, it is used in yards throughout the United States, but most often in the South. Overall, zoysia grass is a great choice for lawns because it is drought-tolerant, weed-resistant, and withstands heavy foot traffic. Consult a lawn care expert in your area for help with determining whether Zoysia grass is the right choice for your outdoor space.

How to Fertilize Zoysia Grass?

The optimal way to add fertilization to your zoysia grass lawn depends on the results of a soil test. Since the grass grows best in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5, the soil test will tell you what fertilizer ratios will be best for your specific lawn. There are many options to make soil more acidic, such as sulfur, which is one of the better long-term options for creating more acidic soil. Although, using acidic fertilizer will suffice as well. If it is determined that your soil is too acidic, then lime can be added to make it more alkaline or basic.

The time of year also makes a difference when devising a fertilization plan for zoysia grass. In the winter months, or when soil temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, zoysia grass, like other warm-season grasses, will go dormant and turn brown. This is the time of year when it requires the least amount of maintenance.

Spring can be another season in which zoysia grass requires little maintenance, but this is highly dependent on the climate of the area in which you live. Nitrogen should not be applied unless any chance of frost is completely gone. If the soil dips below 55 degrees again, it can cause significant damage to your zoysia grass.

Summer is one of the most important times of the year if you want to ensure optimal growth for your zoysia grass lawn. While a lawn might require more nitrogen in the spring when it is emerging from its winter dormancy, summer is the time to maintain your lawn so it can look its best year-round. If your soil test shows no major nutrient deficiencies or large changes in soil acidity, the best fertilizer for this time of year is one with a ratio of 3:1:1, 4:1:1, or 4:1:2. Read our blog to learn more about how to read fertilizer labels, but, in short, this number refers to the proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

If you live in an area of the country susceptible to ice and snow in the winter, fall is when you need to start getting your zoysia grass lawn ready for the upcoming dormancy it will undergo once the temperature drops. Prepare your lawn with another application of fertilizer and, if it currently does not have weeds, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to ensure invasive plants to not take advantage of your zoysia grass’s dormancy.

Weed Control for Zoysia Grass Lawns

The best plan of action for weed control depends on the severity of your problem. For example, if there are only a few weeds here and there, it is perfectly acceptable to simply pull them out by hand, although be sure to remove the roots to ensure the weeds do not grow back. If you simply rip off the top part of the plant and will not only not solve the problem, but, if it is a particularly aggressive weed, can cause the problem to spread. Therefore, manual weed removal might require tools such as a hand shovel or spade. Or, to avoid the strain of kneeling down to get to the weed’s roots, use a long-handled tool like a hoe or a weeder.

Some weed problems require more advanced solutions than manual removal. The right herbicide can make all the difference when it comes to eradicating your weed problem. A pre-emergent herbicide is used as a preventative measure, mainly when zoysia grass goes into dormancy in the colder months and is more vulnerable. In the warmer months, like spring and summer, it is likely weeds have already emerged, hence, a post-emergent herbicide should be used. Depending on the severity and location of the problem, you might be able to use a selective herbicide that only targets specific species of plants. On the other hand, a non-selective herbicide will kill all plants in the area in which it is applied.

To tackle two maintenance issues at the same time, you can also use something called weed and feed, which is essentially a 2-in-1 fertilizer and herbicide. These chemicals also come in pre-emergent and post-emergent varieties like herbicides. Also, like regular fertilizers, they come in multiple proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium indicated by the ratio on the bag.

For help with lawn maintenance, make sure to reach out to us here at LawnCare.Net. We can connect you with our network of experts that can help you determine what services your outdoor space would benefit from. 

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