Zenith Zoysia vs. Emerald Zoysia: Which Is Best?

Zoysia grass is a popular pick for transitional grass areas. The transitional zone is an irregular band that spans the low to mid United States, including lower California, upper Arizona, upper Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, etc. This area falls between the Northern and Deep South/Gulf regions, where cool and warm-season grasses thrive.  

Since the transitional area experiences a blend of climates and temperatures ranging from cold to hot, picking grass that will flourish here can be tricky. This zone has more success with cool-season grasses than warm-season, but sometimes a mixture of the two is necessary. 

Zoysia tends to flourish in this band of the United States, so many homeowners opt for one of these types of grass. Zenith and Emerald are among the cultivars of fine- and coarse-textured Zoysiagrass, each offering different benefits. If you’re debating between the two, you’re in the right place, so continue reading to learn more!

Zenith Zoysia

Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed (2 Lb.) 100% Pure Seed Grown by Patten Seed Company

Zenith is one of the cultivars of coarse-textured Zoysiagrass. This type of grass features a medium-coarse leaf texture and is widely available as a seed. It’s a popular choice for home lawns, even though seeded varieties of Zoysiagrass don’t usually perform as well as the vegetative cultivars. 

Planting is done between late spring and early summer using a seeding ratio of 1 to 2 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. Once you plant the grass seed, you need to cover it lightly with soil by raking carefully over the freshly-sprinkled seed.

Cover the seeded area with straw for best results, as this helps retain moisture throughout the germination period. Like most other types of grass seed, Zenith requires consistent moisture for germination. So, you’ll need to water a few times per day to keep the soil moist. 

Emerald Zoysia

Emerald Zoysia (Zoysia Emerald) grass seeds-1/8 lb

Unlike Zenith Zoysia, Emerald Zoysia falls under the cultivars of fine-textured Zoysiagrass. This fine-textured hybrid is widely considered one of the most attractive zoysia. It’s a popular pick for high-end lawns, where there’s a devoted maintenance program in place. 

This variety isn’t as winter-hardy as some of the other Zoysiagrass cultivars, but it offers better shade tolerance than others. The leaves feature a fine texture that is dark green in color and has high shoot density. 

If you over-fertilize Emerald Zoysia, it will develop excess thatch rapidly. So, careful care during planting and maintenance is required to ensure the best results. Emerald Zoysia is an excellent choice if you’re going for a high-end lawn and are willing to maintain it meticulously. However, if you live in an area that experiences harsher winters, the grass may not hold up as well as Zenith. 

Zenith vs. Emerald

With a general idea of each type of Zoysiagrass, let’s examine different aspects of each. 

Zenith ZoysiaEmerald Zoysia
DormancyWarm-season grass that goes dormant after the first frostWarm-season, thrives in hot climates, but will go dormant for the winter later in the fall
Uses Common in residential and commercial landscapesShow-piece lawns, around pool decks, turf islands, near patios, commercial settings
Adaptability ZoneZones 1-4 on Turfgrass Hardiness MapZones 1-2 on Turfgrass Hardiness Map
Shade ToleranceFull sun to medium shadeFull sun to medium shade
Soil pHNeutral to alkaline, range from 6 to 7Neutral to alkaline, range between 6 to 7
Mowing HeightCutting height between ¾ and 1 ½ inches, mowing every 7 to 10 days, no more than ⅓ of the leaf at a timeCutting height between 1 and 1 ½ inches, mowing every 7 to 10 days, no more than ⅓ of the leaf at a time
Weed ToleranceDense growth may reduce weed population, but pre-emergent may be necessaryDense growth may reduce weed population, but pre-emergent may be necessary
Insect ToleranceTolerant of common lawn insect pests, but grubs and bill bugs may cause damageTolerant of most insect pests, but grubs and bill bugs may cause damage
MaintenanceAverage Higher than others
Disease ResistanceNot usually a problem with proper careNot usually a problem with proper care
Traffic and Wear ToleranceTolerates wear and traffic, but recovery may be slow due to slow growing natureSlow-growing, recovery may be slow
Drought ToleranceSurvives drought by going dormant, leaves roll up and turf turns grey, then returns to green upon exposure to moistureSurvives by going dormant, leaves roll up and turf turns grey, recovers slower than Zenith
Water ManagementUsually requires about 1 inch of water per weekUsually requires about 1 inch of water per week

Which Zoysia Grass Is Best?

Zoysia Grass

The best Zoysiagrass for your lawn hinges on a few factors. We can’t give a “this one is always better” title to either Zoysia variety because every scenario is different. Each option has its ups and downs and is better suited to different situations. 

For example, if you live in the northern portion of the transitional zone, Emerald Zoysia might not do so well since it isn’t as cold-tolerant. 

However, Emerald Zoysia is an excellent choice if you live in a hot climate and appreciate the looks of high-end lawns. Keep in mind that this type usually requires more maintenance and recovers slower than other types. 

Or, if you need a hardier grass that isn’t as finicky or doesn’t require excessive maintenance, Zenith Zoysia might be the better option.

Zoysia Farms

I highly recommended purchasing seed from Zoysia Farms. They are experts in growing Zoysia, have outstanding customer service and awesome prices. Check them out: Zoysia Farms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is The Most Shade Tolerant Zoysia?

If your soon-to-be-lawn experiences excessive shade, you’ll need to choose a grass type that can handle the shade. Zeon Zoysiagrass is an excellent choice from the Zoysia family for shady lawns. 

Both Zenith and Emerald Zoysia have similar shade tolerance, both falling between full sun to medium shade. If there’s spotty shade across your lawn, either option may work, but if your property is fully shaded, Zeon Zoysiagrass might be the better option.