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How To Grow and Care for Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia japonica

Are you searching for the perfect grass for your lawn?

Zoysia grass is popular for its dense growth, drought tolerance, and low maintenance requirements.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about how to grow, care for, and troubleshoot Zoysia grass to achieve a lush and healthy lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood. Get ready to transform your lawn with Zoysia grass.

What Is Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia grass, named after the 18th-century botanist Karl von Zois, is a warm-season grass species that originated in East Asia.

It belongs to the Poaceae family and is known for its dense growth and ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

There are several species of Zoysia grass commonly used for lawns, including the following:

  • Zoysia japonica
  • Zoysia Matrella
  • Zoysia tenuifolia

One of the standout features of Zoysia grass is its growth habit.

It grows in a spreading, horizontal manner, producing thick turf that can provide a lush, carpet-like appearance to lawns.

This unique growth habit also makes Zoysia grass highly durable and capable of recovering from heavy foot traffic and wear.

Zoysia Hack of the Day

Nutrient Boost: Use Epsom salt as a natural fertilizer for your Zoysia lawn. Dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and apply it to your lawn to boost magnesium, which can help promote healthy growth.

How To Grow Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia japonica
Source: Wikimedia

Ready to transform your lawn with Zoysia grass?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow this unique grass species and achieve a lush, dense carpet of green in your yard.

Choose the Right Time and Location for Planting Zoysia Grass

Timing is crucial when it comes to planting Zoysia grass.

It’s best to plant Zoysia grass during the late spring or early summer when the soil has warmed up and frost is no longer a concern.

Choose a location in your yard that receives ample sunlight, as Zoysia grass thrives in full sun to partial shade.

Ensure the soil is well-drained and free from debris, rocks, or weeds that may hinder the growth of the grass.

Preparing the Soil and Planting Zoysia Grass Plugs or Seed

Before planting Zoysia grass, remove all existing vegetation, rocks, or debris from the planting area.

Loosen the soil to a 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) depth using a rake or tiller to improve air circulation and water penetration.

You can either plant Zoysia grass plugs and small sections of established Zoysia grass or sow Zoysia grass seeds directly into the prepared soil.

Proper Watering Techniques for Zoysia Grass

After planting, thoroughly water the Zoysia grass and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged for the first 2-3 weeks.

Once the grass has been established, gradually reduce the watering frequency.

Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions.

Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to shallow root growth and make the grass susceptible to diseases and pests.

Tips on Mowing, Fertilizing, and Overseeding Zoysia Grass

Mowing, fertilizing, and overseeding are essential maintenance practices for Zoysia grass.

When mowing Zoysia grass, set your mower blade to a height of 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm), as Zoysia grass thrives when kept short.

Avoid cutting off more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing session to prevent scalping.

Fertilize Zoysia grass with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer according to your region’s recommended rates and schedule.

Overseeding Zoysia grass with new seeds during its active growing season can help fill in bare spots and improve its density.

Establishing a Healthy Root System

Follow proper cultural practices to establish a healthy root system and encourage Zoysia grass’s dense growth habit.

Avoid frequent watering and promote deep root growth by watering deeply but infrequently.

Aerating the soil annually can also help improve air circulation and water penetration, promoting a healthy root system.

Additionally, avoid excessive thatch buildup by dethatching when necessary and properly fertilizing and mowing the lawn.

These practices will help establish a lush, dense Zoysia grass lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood.

How To Care for Zoysia Grass

Zoysia japonica
Source: Wikimedia

Proper watering, fertilizing, and mowing are essential for maintaining a healthy Zoysia grass lawn.


Zoysia grass has a deep root system.

Water the lawn thoroughly, allowing the water to penetrate the soil to a 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) depth.

Avoid frequent shallow watering, resulting in shallow root growth and making the grass more susceptible to drought stress.


Zoysia grass typically requires less fertilizer compared to other grass species.

Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 in early spring and late summer or early fall.

Avoid over-fertilizing, leading to thatch buildup and reducing the grass’s overall health.


Zoysia grass should be mowed at the recommended height and frequency to encourage lateral growth and maintain a dense turf.

Set your mower blade at 1-2 inches in height, and avoid removing more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.

Mow regularly, but avoid cutting the grass too short, as it can weaken the turf and make it more susceptible to pests, diseases, and weed invasion.

Aerating, Dethatching, and Winterizing Zoysia Grass

Aerating and dethatching help to keep your Zoysia grass healthy and thriving.


Aerating involves creating small holes in the soil to improve air circulation, water penetration, and nutrient uptake.

Aerating Zoysia grass in the fall or spring can help relieve soil compaction and promote healthy root growth.

Use a lawn aerator to create tiny holes in the soil, and leave the plugs on the lawn to decompose naturally.


Thatch is the layer of dead grass, roots, and other organic debris that accumulates on the soil surface.

Excessive thatch can hinder water, air, and nutrient penetration, leading to poor lawn health.

Dethatching Zoysia grass can be done in the spring or fall using a dethatching rake or a power dethatcher.

Be careful not to damage the healthy grass while dethatching, and remove the thatch debris from the lawn afterward.


Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that goes dormant during the winter months.

Before the first frost, prepare your Zoysia grass for winter to ensure its survival and quick recovery in the spring.

Avoid applying high-nitrogen fertilizers in late fall, as it can promote new growth susceptible to winter damage.

Instead, apply a potassium-rich winterizing fertilizer to help strengthen the grass and improve its cold tolerance.

To prevent mold and disease issues during winter, keep the lawn free from debris, such as leaves and sticks.

Managing Weeds, Pests, and Diseases

Weeds, pests, and diseases can pose challenges to Zoysia grass.

Here are some tips for managing these issues.


Regular mowing at the proper height can help prevent weed growth in Zoysia grass.

However, if weeds appear, identify them and use appropriate herbicides or manual removal methods.

Avoid using broad-spectrum herbicides that can harm Zoysia grass or other desirable plants in your lawn.


Zoysia grass is relatively pest resistant but can still be affected by pests such as grubs, chinch bugs, and armyworms.

Look for any signs of pest damage, such as yellowing or thinning grass, and take appropriate measures to control them.

This may include using insecticides labeled on Zoysia grass, practicing good lawn hygiene, and promoting healthy turf through proper watering and fertilization.


Zoysia grass is generally resistant to diseases but can still be susceptible to fungal diseases, such as brown patches and dollar spots, especially in humid conditions.

To prevent diseases, avoid overwatering, promote good air circulation, and avoid mowing when the grass is wet.

If necessary, apply fungicides specifically labeled for Zoysia grass and follow the instructions carefully.


That’s a wrap on our Zoysia grass journey.

You’ve learned about this resilient and beautiful grass species by now.

So, get your green thumb ready, follow our shared care tips, and let your Zoysia grass thrive.

Here’s to many happy days of gardening and enjoying your lush, healthy lawn! 

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