Zoysia grass has become a popular choice for lawns due to its lush, dense growth. The grass’ hearty nature withstands higher heat and sunlight, growing a thick network of roots and blades that have been long been appreciated on golf courses.
Now, it’s an excellent option for your own home.
Depending on how you plant the grass, it can take a few weeks to a few months to establish itself. When you seed a yard, it should take up to three weeks to germinate and up to three months to fill in the lawn.
If you use sod plugs, it might take a couple of months for them to take hold and spread. That will also vary by how much sod you use, the square feet of yard you have, and how you attend to the grass during its growth period.
There are two options for planting and growing Zoysia grass from seeds: you can till your existing yard to mix the grass and roots into the soil, then plant the seeds in the bare soil. You can also overseed your current yard, which results in the grass mixing and filling in, then crowding out the old grass system.
From planting the seeds to germination is usually three to four weeks, a little longer than other kinds of grass. The Zoysia species has a shorter-than-average root system, reaching just about two inches below the soil. This allows it to benefit from the rich bioactivity, oxygen, and water content of the topsoil.
The shallow position of the grass results in its characteristically dense roots and blade coverage. For that reason, Zoysia seeds should be planted almost at surface level, with just a thin layer of soil that still allows light to shine on the seed and encourage germination.
If you’re using grass plugs to install a pre-grown Zoysia lawn, the way you go about it will define the amount of time it takes to establish itself. Sod should be spread out evenly since, like a network, the Zoysia grass will spread to the bare spots and reach outwards until the plant’s touch, covering the yard. The more plugs you use, the less ground must be covered, and the faster the rate of spread to full coverage.
Growing the Grass
Whether seed or sod, covering the soil with thatch or mulch keeps moisture in, helping the roots grow. It promotes bioactivity in the topsoil and keeps birds from eating the seeds. A light coverage of sod can also help the roots extend, but be careful not to block sunlight from the already-grown grass.
How To Get Zoysia Grass to Spread Faster
Zoysia is a slower-growing grass, but it will firmly establish itself once it takes hold. When caring for germinating seeds and growing new grass, maintaining ideal nurturing conditions will encourage healthy growth and extensive spread.
- Watering – Watering new seeds is a balance between keeping the soil moist all day but not too wet or muddy. Even though the grass will have shallower roots than other types, making sure the ground remains moist well below the surface will encourage roots to reach down as deep as they can.
- Sunlight – Most grasses are sun-loving, which is why we can have wide-open lawn However, all organic matter can burn, and grass actually provides shade to itself by its blades (which are its leaves). A lush lawn will be more sun-tolerant than a thinner one.
- Soil quality – Soils with good pH and nutrient profiles, topsoil bioactivity, and a porous, aerated composition will hold water better and provide oxygen, vitamins, and minerals to the growing grass. The blades are made of nutrients from the soil, and the roots soak up water from the ground, making up about 75-80% of the grass’s total weight.
- Fertilization – Good fertilization helps maintain the nutrient profiles and bioactivity of the soil. Since the blades and roots are made of the minerals and vitamins from the soil, preparing the ground by adding compost or other kinds of fertilizer will ensure the microbiome of insects and bacteria make nutrients available to the roots.
- Mowing – Cutting the grass keeps it healthy! It’s important not to let grass overgrow since the shade cast on its own blades will block photosynthesis and actually kill the grass. Keep a regular mowing schedule, and don’t let it grow more than three inches in height.
- Pest control – Some insects carry grass diseases, and others simply eat the grass. Crickets, some caterpillars, and grubs will feed on the blades and burrow in the soil. Make sure you have an idea of the pests present in your yard to set up a good control system.
The Best Time to Plant Zoysia Grass
Zoysia species are from the Western Pacific Rim, including Japan, the Philippines, and Australia. These hot climates have conditioned the grass to be heat-loving. This perennial (year-round) plant does best in a warmer climate, but it will thrive in the summer and go dormant in the winter in some northern climates.
The best season to plant the grass is late spring and early summer, when temperatures are consistently over 75 degrees. It may be a late starter and slower grower, but young Zoysia grass will benefit from the warmer weather and set itself in place for the long term.
Will Zoysia Take Over Other Grasses?
Zoysia is a spreading grass, which means that it extends over an area by growing its roots rather than by letting out spores or seeds. This is why the roots grow so densely and why it covers the yard so well.
The dense root system will usually crowd out other types of grasses and weeds as well. Since it’s such a great spreader, containing the grass can be difficult and is best achieved with a deep, physical edging barrier.