Zoysia Grass Sod
Well maintained Zoysia is
possibly the most beautiful warm season lawn grass. Maybe Zoysia grass sod is where we get the
saying “ the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” there’s no doubt that it makes a
beautiful lawn. But there’s two sides to ever coin, the secret lies in the first two words of the
introduction, well maintained, see when it comes to Zoysia, “the other side of the fence” gets a lot of
maintenance to look that green.
sod will require a high level of maintenance and are not as trouble free as all the hype
would imply. They, like all other varieties of sod have advantages and disadvantages when used in the
North Florida area. Before you jump on the Zoysia bandwagon, lets make sure its right for
Improved cultivar's are being tested at the
University of Florida in Gainesville and are showing good promise including ‘Empire’ which is quickly
becoming the Zoysia of choice for Florida, but at this point these cultivar's are still to new to know how these
grasses pan out in the long run. Empire can be mowed with a standard mower and is showing improved
establishment rates but has reduced shade tolerance.
was introduced from Asia.
Adaptable to a wide range of soil
sod which naturally reduces weed infestations
Slow growth means
less frequent mowing
slow growth rate makes the establishment period after planting extremely slow increasing the initial
maintenance needed to get the sod rooted and actively growing
from plugs or seeds it will require two growing seasons for establishment
All varieties of
Zoysia form a heavy thatch layer and require periodic renovation
Poor growth rate
on compacted soils and weakened when grown on soils with low potassium levels
fertilizer requirement, high maintenance costs
establishment costs, Zoysia grass sod is by far the most expensive turf to
lay, cost has been driven up by increased demand
irrigation needed, not drought tolerant, with watering needed during prolonged droughts as
frequently as every other day
Severe damage by
mowers recommended for cutting
rooting, not a good option for soil erosion problems
Zoysia grass sods are adaptable to a wide range of soils.
Zoysia grass sod is known for its tolerance to shady
conditions although it is grown commercially in full sun environments.
All varieties of Zoysia are salt tolerant.
grass sod should be watered on an as needed basis when more than 30 percent of the lawn begins to show
water stress. Grass blades begin to turn a bluish gray green color and footprints remain in the sod after
walking across the lawn. When grass reaches this level water ¾ of an inch of water, which is equivalent
to 465 gallons of water per 1000 s.f.
Zoysia grass will go dormant and turn brown within a
week of typical drought conditions. It can stay dormant for extended periods of time without adequate
rainfall but once irrigation or rainfall resumes it will regain its green color.
While more forgiving than Centipede sod Zoysia is not
drought tolerant so make sure to keep an eye on the lawn and set the irrigation timer on automatic or have a
neighbor water when going out of town on vacations. Irrigation systems are recommended when installing
Zoysia grass lawns.
Zoysia sod will require frequent mowing to look its best.
Depending on the growing season and recent waterfall rates, Zoysia sod should on average be mowed every week or
when they reach a height of 3 - 4 inches. Mow down to a height of 2 – 2 1/2
inches with a rotary mower. Leave grass clippings on the lawn and be sure to run them over with a mower
a few times to ensure that they are fine cut. This not only helps drought proof your lawn but reduces
fertilization requirements and helps keep the lawn healthy and able to fend off insects and disease. They will
not, as often believed, contribute to thatch buildup.
All Zoysia grasses are heavy feeders requiring up to
-6 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 s.f. each year. Zoysia grass does better with smaller quantities of fertilizer and
more frequent applications sometimes know as “spoon feeding”
Currently the minimum application for Zoysia in North
Florida is 3-4 times per year with a complete fertilizer like 16-4-8, 10-10-10 or 6-6-6 can be applied
in the spring and the fall with 1-2 applications of either ½ lb of a water soluble nitrogen
source or 1lb of a slow release nitrogen fertilizer per 1000 s.f. and equal portions of potassium
in the summer months. Potassium is especially important during the rain seasons due to the fact that it
is quickly washed through the soils.
On high PH soils 7.0 or higher or where high PH water is
being applied yellowing of leaf blades may indicate an iron or manganese deficiency. When an iron deficiency has
bee identified, chelated iron or ferrous sulfate can be applied in a foliar application to correct the problem
and re-green the Zoysia grass lawn. Manganese is available in a granular form.
Pest Problems and Management Practices:
Hunting Billbug is the most serious insect
problem in Zoysia lawns with chemical control being needed when populations increase to
10 or more insects per square foot.
Nematodes can also pose a problem for
Zoysia grass lawns, the extent of damage to Zoysia lawns is still under investigation at the University of
Florida due to the increase in improved cultivar's in recent years.
crickets, sod webworm, white grubs as well as lawn
caterpillars also pose problems in Zoysia grass lawns. When they have been identified as problems in
your turf check with your local Agricultural Extension Agent for treatment options.
Disease Problems and Management
Although not classified a disease, but definitely a common problem
that Zoysia grass users will battle is a thatch buildup layer.
Zoysia grass will develop a thick thatch layer within a few
years of a newly established lawn, especially when over fertilized with nitrogen. Thatch must be
removed every year or every other year to keep your Zoysia lawn beautiful and healthy. Keeping
your nitrogen applications to the minimum requirements, watering on an as needed basis and proper mowing height
and frequency will help prevent thatch buildup. There have been indications that ‘scalping’ your grass
immediately after spring green up will help reduce thatch problems.
Diseases that affect Zoysia grass lawns are dollar
spot, brown patch and rust. These problems are generally suppressed
when frequent mowing, proper watering and proper fertilization
practices are followed. When outbreaks occur and chemical treatment is necessary check with your local
agricultural Extension Service for treatment options.
Zoysia grass must be established by springs, plugs or sod
except for Zoysia japonica which is available commercially as seed. However establishment by plugs or
sprigs may take up to two growth seasons to form a nice lawn making sodding necessary for most
professionally maintained Zoysia grass will make beautiful lawns for the North Florida area. ‘Emerald’
Zoysia is available as sod in the North Florida area and are highly recommended as a top
quality sod where time and money allow for a properly executed maintenance program.
Don't think Zoysia grass sod is right
for you? Checkout our the other warm
season Varieties of Sod for the Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida Area