First noticed in the Philippines where it grows in sandy soils near the coast, Zoysia grass is now widely used from Florida to California.
Its big asset is that is salt tolerant, hardy to foot traffic and although slow growing, once established they are easy care.
Suited to warmer climates, Zoysia grass comes in the three main species, available as seeds or plugs for sale for lawns. Hybrids between the three species do exist.
In Florida, this is a widely used alternative to other grasses, and although it can tend to brown a little in winter. This browning will depend on variety and how cold the winters are.
Introduced to the USA over 100 years ago Zoysia species are generally reasonably drought tolerant and hard wearing in the right conditions they do makes a suitable choice for a lawn. However it is reported that it can tend to be invasive.
Zoysia grass species are popular as they are slow growing and therefore require less mowing than many other grasses. One disadvantage can be that they are slower to establish that faster growing grasses. They are a hard wearing grass, but slower to recover from hard wear or damage.
- The finest texture of the three main species is Zoysia tenuifolia, it is also the least tolerant of cold conditions.
- Zoysia japonica ( Japanese lawn grass) is the coarsest texture of the three but is more tolerant of cold conditions.
- Zoysia matrella (manilla grass) is a rough textured species, slightly wiry, works well in light shade and is tolerant of coastal conditions
With new cultivars and hybrids now available growing characteristics, texture, drought and cold hardiness and even root vigor (invasiveness) qualities will differ, check with suppliers for appropriate technical information.
Recommendation, check with local horticultural and agricultural authorities to determine the suitability of Zoysia species and hybrids for you climate, soil and desired application before planting.
Zoysia grass is not recommended for cooler climates, it will turn yellow in winter and takes a while to recover, longer than other cool climate grasses, and will also choke any other grasses, root systems are deep and can be invasive.
This will depend on how you buy it. The cheapest way besides seed, is to buy sprigs. These are best planted in a pattern 2 inches apart offset in rows 5 – 6 inches apart so you get a triangular pattern.
Sprigs need to be well watered until established. Temporary ‘poly greenhouses’ can also be erected to hasten establishment.