Zoysia grass (sometimes referred to as zoysigrass) is a popular variety of lawn grass that does especially well in warm climates. It originated in Japan and has been in the United States since the late 1800s. Zoysia is considered an upmarket choice for home lawns, making it a great choice if you want to impress your neighbors and guests, and it does spread naturally filling in bare spots in your lawn. So how fast does Zoysia grass spread?
In today’s article I’ll discuss the spread rate for Zoysia grass and tell you what you need to know about this warm season lawn grass.
How Long Does It Take to Establish Zoysia Grass?
While Zoysia grass does tend to take a bit longer to establish than other types of grass, it’s worth the wait. That’s because of the lovely dense lawn you’ll enjoy in the end.
If you want to plant Zoysia grass in your lawn, you will need to be ready for a slow process when planting from seed, which is why I recommend seeding with a good starter fertilizer with weed preventer.
You will still have to wait longer for establishment than you would with other types of grasses even if you use established Zoysia grass plugs. This is my preferred way to start Zoysia, and it’s what I recommend.
Of course, the speed at which your Zoysia grass will establish and spread will depend on the variety of Zoysia that you choose and the climate in which you’re growing it.
You will also need to maintain the lawn in the appropriate way in order to help your Zoysia grass thrive.
Different Species of Zoysia Grass
Z. zaponica, Z. tenuifolia, and Z. matrella are the three major species of zoysia grass.
One of the advantages of Zoysia grass is the fact that it has such a broad growth range. In fact, it has the broadest such range of any warm season grass.
Certain Zoysia varieties do best in hot and humid climates, while others can do well as far north as the Canadian border.
The Advantages of Zoysia Grass
Zoysia grass is quite hardy and able to deal with heavy foot traffic and even drought. If it’s grown in its optimal conditions, it provides a remarkably dense lawn that requires relatively little maintenance (other than cutting). It needs less water than other types of grass.
Zoysia grass grows best with lots of sun, but it can tolerate moderate shade. The warm weather that comes with late spring and the heat of the summer are the times of the year at which zoysia grass is most active in growth.
Zoysia is a perennial grass. This means that when it’s planted in the right type of climate, it grows back year after year. If you live in a southern part of the United States, you’ll find that zoysia is a good choice for you. This is true whether you live in a humid climate (such as in the southeast) or a relatively dry one, such as you can find in California.
Zoysia is a popular choice for homeowners who don’t want to have to deal with weeds. The density of this grass makes it very hard for weeds to penetrate. Z. japonica is able to weather the very cold winters of northern areas of the United States. In northern areas, though, the grass has a very short growing season. It’s so short that it could be dormant for six months of the year.
Zoysia Grass Plugs Spreading Rate
Because Zoysia grass seed can take a long time to germinate and establish itself, a cost-effective alternative to laying sod is to order and plant Zoysia grass plugs.
These small (typically 2″ x 2″ or 3″ x 3″ blocks of soil with established Zoysia grass) sod plugs can be planted in bare spots in your yard the same way you’d plant any perennial or annual.
Once they recover from transplanting they should begin to spread and fill in within the first year. Just be sure you’re giving them adequate water, and that you prepare the surrounding turf prior to planting your plugs.
Don’t be disappointed if your Zoysia grass takes a long time to spread and fill in, whether you’re planting from seed or via Zoysia plugs.
When planting plugs, you can expect to wait two years for your lawn to completely fill in. Planting from seed you may be looking at three years. However, once established your Zoysia lawn will keep weeds at bay and remain thick, lush, and low-maintenance, so if you have patience this is a great choice.
Zoysia Grass: 3 Primary Species
There are three different kinds of zoysia grass available. These are:
Z. matressa was brought from the Philippines to the United States. This variety of grass can survive humid, hot weather all year long. For this reason, when it is used in the United States, it’s generally only in southern states.
Z. japonica is a very common variety of zoysia. This is the variety that was first brought to the United States. It is able to do well in cold areas and you can start it from seed. This grass variety isn’t suitable for the southern states.
Z. tenuifolia is the variety of zoysia that has the most delicate blades. A disadvantage of this variety is that it does the worst in cold weather of all the varieties. There is another variety that is a mixture of Z. tenuifolia and japonica, and it’s hardier than Z. tenuifolia. The name of this mixture is Z. emerald. It’s a very common selection with homeowners.
Some of the most popular types of Zoysia grass, in fact, are crosses using two of the three types.
One is called Meyer Zoysia. Meyer Zoysia (also referred to as Z-52) is a boosted variety of Z. japonica. Meyer can thrive in colder environments. It has a green color that is medium in depth and it’s able to grow with partial shade. The Meyer variety must be initiated vegetatively.
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