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Zoysia Grass - Overview


Zoysia grass is thought of by many as the 'Cadillac of Lawn Grasses' because of its dark green color, density, low growth habit, and higher price.

Zoysia is a carpet-like grass that will tolerate slightly more shade than the Bermuda, but it is much slower at spreading than Bermuda. Zoysia has a dense root system and to maintain the best appearance, clippings need to be picked up while mowing. Due to its extreme hardiness, it is being used more and more on golf courses as well as fine homes. Regular watering, mowing and fertilization make this an outstanding lawn grass.


A family of grasses native to many parts of the Orient, Zoysias were first introduced to the United States in the early 1900's.

In description, any of several strains of Zoysia are excellent all-around lawn grasses. They grow slowly and close to the ground, thrive on a wide range of soils, have good shade tolerance, and produce such dense turf that weed invasion is resisted.

In past years 'Meyer' and 'Emerald' have been the most widely known and available Zoysias used in the United States. They must be propagated vegetatively and rooting and growth is slow. Solid sodding is recommended, as is an underground irrigation system.

Zoysias grow slowly and require infrequent mowing, but they are so dense that a good sharp mower with adequate power should be used and cutting should be on a regular schedule. If "scalped" in mowing and subjected to other unfavorable treatment, Zoysias are slow to recover.

Meyer Zoysia

A natural hybrid selected and released by Dr. Ian Forbes and associates at the Department of Agriculture's Beltsville, Md., Experiment Station, Meyer (Z-52) Zoysia was the first really superior Zoysia grass.

Medium in texture, it has good color, good disease resistance, excellent cold tolerance.

Meyer is easier to mow than Emerald, but makes more upright growth and requires somewhat more frequent mowing. It is also susceptible to spittlebug infestation, which is easily controlled with Triazicide, and also will develop bald spots when growing near the root systems of large trees.

Emerald Zoysia

Emerald Zoysia is truly the Cadilac of lawn grasses. An artificially bred hybrid released by Dr. Forbes several years after Meyer, Emerald produces an extremely dense, fine textured turf of true emerald green color.

It simply cannot be neglected for long periods of time, but if fertilized once or twice annually, watered as needed and cut regularly, it makes a lawn in sun and/or moderate shade that is the envy of any neighborhood. SEE: Maintaining a Zoysia Lawn

Emerald is very cold hardy, and although all the hot climate grasses turn brown after killing frosts, small plots of Emerald will maintain green color throughout most winters as far north as Atlanta in commercial areas where it is well protected and benefits from radiation heating from buildings and asphalt paving. It is especially useful where outstanding appearance is worth a premium, such as patios, around pool decks and small turf islands in shopping centers, apartments, etc.

Less troubled by insect pests than Meyer, it is highly recommended for solid sodding where the owner will cut it regularly (not as frequently as Bermudas) with good mowing equipment. SEE: Sodding a Lawn

Expect to pay more for these grasses from your local sod dealer. Zoysia simply takes longer to fill back in after having been cut at sod farms. This decreases supply and growing demand drives the price up. Anyway, due to maintanence requirements and price, we think that Zoysia is best suited for smaller lawns under 5,000 square feet in size.

Fertilization Program for a Zoysia Lawn
Sodding a Lawn
Seeding a Lawn
Restoring a Lawn
Learn more about these other lawn grasses:
All About Bermuda Grass
All About Fescue Grass
All About St. Augustine Grass
All About Centipede Grass
Choosing The Right Grass
Gardening 'How To'

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