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Zoysia Grass 101: Pros, Cons, and Planting Guidelines

Zoysia Grass 101

The popularity of Zoysia grass has definitely gained momentum due to its innumerable advantages over other types of grasses that are commonly used in lawns across the United States. Attractive appearance, low maintenance, and low water requirements are some of the hallmark characteristics of this grass. For those of you who want to have a lush and green lawn within a short amount of time, Zoysia grass will likely be at the top of your list.

What Is The Downside Of Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia grass does not grow very fast, and this is definitely one of its main disadvantages. However, since Zoysia grass does not grow very fast, it means you don’t have to mow your lawn every now and then just to keep the lawn in good shape. But on the flip side, the slow growth rate means that the root of the grass will take considerably longer to establish. Now, this could be problematic if you wish to cover your ground fast in order to prevent soil loss. It will take several seasons for the Zoysia seeds to form a dense and uniform lawn. This could put some homeowners in a tight spot who are looking for a quick fix.

Thatch buildup is definitely another major drawback of Zoysia grass. It is seen that Zoysia grass tends to develop a thick layer of thatch. Now, if this thatch is not dealt with properly, it can lead to a number of issues like loss of nutrients, etc. Sometimes, it can stop the water from getting into the ground, and sometimes it can even prevent the air from reaching the soil. So, as you can understand, without removing these buildups, you can never expect a thriving lawn in your front yard or backyard. In simple English, thatch is a layer of living or dead organic matter that gets accumulated on the grass, and it creates a barrier between the grass blades and the soil.

Another drawback of Zoysia grass is that it needs direct sunlight in order to grow. It needs at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. When placed under shade, Zoysia grass struggles to grow. So, that means you need to check your yard carefully, and if you feel that your yard does not get enough sunlight throughout the day or has large shaded areas, maybe Zoysia grass is not suitable for your lawn.

Why Is Zoysia So Hard To Grow?

Zoysia grass is extremely hard to grow because only a small fraction of its seeds successfully germinates and progresses to the seedling stage. If the seeds are buried deep under the ground, it is highly unlikely that the seed will pass the stage of germination. Moreover, Zoysia grass is also very sensitive to light, which acts as an impediment to its overall growth. The area where the seeds are to be grown should be tilted to a depth of 4-8 inches at a minimum. Moisture control is another factor that can play spoilsport at this stage. Make sure that the seeds are getting enough moisture at this stage.

Zoysia grass needs specific climatic conditions to grow and thrive. The pH level of the soil should be between 6.0 and 6.5, and if the soil does not match these criteria, you will have to add granulated lime to raise the pH level of the soil. But if the pH level of the soil is already high, you will have to mix sulfur into the soil to bring the pH level of the soil down. Zoysia grass does not fare well in wet or compacted soil.

Temperature is another factor that can have a significant impact on the growth of Zoysia grass. Zoysia grass does well in regions with mild winters and hot summers. It finds it hard to deal with a long cold spell, and that means, if you are living in areas where the temperature stays below zero for a prolonged period, the grass can struggle to survive. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can seriously undermine the ability of the grass to revive itself once the winter season comes to an end. Now, even if the Zoysia grass manages to somehow survive, it will lead to dead patches for sure.

Zoysia grass is drought resistant, which is all good, but young Zoysia grass needs consistent watering to establish a strong root system. This is even more important during those dry spells. Basically, it means Zoysia grass will need plenty of water at the initial stage.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Zoysia Grass?

Early summer or late spring is the best time to plant Zoysia grass. Zoysia grass thrives in hot weather. Soil temperature should be around 70°F for Zoysia grass to take root. If you start it in late spring, it will give enough time for the Zoysia grass to develop a robust root system so that it can bear the brunt of the harsh winter.

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