Lawn care is of the utmost importance to any good homeowner. Whether you’re building a new home or planning to fill in your existing lawn, there are many species of grass to consider. With so many species and genus of grass, you may be asking yourself which is the best for your lawn?
Consider Zoysia grass. The Zoysia grass genus is native to Asia and Australia with growing popularity as home turfgrass in North America and around the world. As with other types of grass, you should carefully consider the pros and cons of lawn care for Zoysia grass.
Zoysia grass is best suited for warmer climates and grows best in USDA planting zones five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven. Note that there may be conditions in each zone in which Zoysia grass will not thrive.
If you live in a suitable climate zone, Zoysia grass has a multitude of good qualities. Zoysia grass is adaptable and can tolerate anything from full sun to partial shade. Ideally, it should receive six to eight hours of sunshine per day. It is drought-tolerant and requires less water and nutrients than other species of grass. It grows by both stems above the ground called stolons and stems below the ground called rhizomes, which contribute to its dense growth pattern.
The density of the Zoysia grass’ growth pattern makes it wear-tolerant for high traffic areas, and resistant to weeds. Another benefit of this species is that it’s slower growing than other types of grass, which means less mowing in your regular lawn care routine. Once established, Zoysia grass is fairly low maintenance.
Zoysia grass does not like cold weather. This means the first slight dip in temperature, and your lawn may start to brown, even if there is a lot of warm weather left in the season. Zoysia grass is also very invasive. It can creep into your flowerbeds, and into your neighbor’s yards, which can be a bit of a nuisance. While the slow growth factor is great in terms of mowing, it’s not a positive trait when it comes to recovering from damage or trauma, and while it is true that you won’t have to mow as much, your lawn will most likely need more thatch control.
Adding to the list of cons, it is prone to Zoysia patch disease, which will turn the blades a rust color as it dies. Lastly, it’s tough, if not impossible, to remove once established, so you need to be sure that Zoysia grass is the right choice for your lawn before you plant it.
As winter turns to spring and spring to summer, remove thatch from your grass and let your lawn grow to approximately three inches before beginning regular mowing. The recommended length to maintain this grass is one and a half to two and a half inches long. However, you should never remove more than one-third of the total length to avoid shock and keep your lawn thick and healthy.
Keep the lawn a little bit longer during the summer months to reduce stress on the grass. Regularly watering your lawn is the most crucial step in maintaining lush, healthy grass. Remove thatch in the early spring, and periodically throughout the growing season. Aerating your lawn should also be performed to keep it looking it’s best. Lawn aeration is essential regardless of species of grass and should be part of your yearly lawn care routine.
If your soil feels hard, water is pooling on top, parts of your lawn are starting to look thin, less green, or even brown, it’s time for lawn aeration. Lawn aeration is removing circular holes from your lawn in order to allow the soil to absorb more water and nutrients and keep the grass healthier and greener. Without proper aeration, the soil can become hard and compacted. Grass draws its nutrients from the soil, and when the soil becomes compacted, it’s difficult for roots to grow, and harder for water to absorb into the soil. Aerating your lawn can prevent this from happening altogether, but it is also the lawn care solution if your soil has already reached the point of compaction.
There are two ways to perform lawn aeration. You can manually aerate your lawn by pushing a lawn aerator tool back and forth across your lawn in its entirety, similar to the path you would follow while pushing a mower. Or you can get the same benefits in a more efficient way by using a liquid aerating soil loosener. Immediately following lawn aeration, you should apply fertilizer so that the soil and your Zoysia grass can once again absorb the water and nutrients that all grass needs, regardless of how much or how little the species requires.
In colder weather, keep your grass shorter. Keep it around one to one and a half inches long. Before the grass starts to turn green again, mow with a bag or rake to dethatch and remove dead leaf material and buildup. Consider some pre-emergent herbicide control in early February to get a jump start on the weeds.
You should not attempt to plant Zoysia grass unless you are confident that your specific grow zone and climate are appropriate for this species of grass. There are several cons to consider. However, most of them are only an issue if you are trying to grow your Zoysia grass in an inappropriate climate. In the right location and with proper lawn care, including yearly lawn aeration, Zoysia grass is an excellent choice for your home turfgrass. Its tolerance to both drought and foot traffic and its dense growth pattern combined with its lush green color makes it an ideal choice when you’re growing a new lawn. Your lawn is sure to be the envy of the neighborhood.
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