When to Plant Zoysia Grass – Planting Guide 2022

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when to plant zoysia grass

The search for the perfect grass seed is an ongoing endeavor. While you may opt for a basic grass seed at your local gardening store, you can go one step further and plant zoysia grass. We’ll go over what zoysia grass is, how to grow it, and how to best care for it.

When to plant zoysia grass: You can plant zoysia grass in the spring or the fall. While it will enjoy the cooler temperatures as it starts to germinate, this variety of grass is drought-resistant and does particularly well in hot, dry climates.

Planting Zoysia Grass in Different Climates

Tropical Climate

While there are many varieties of grass that love warm, humid climates, zoysia grass is not one of them. While zoysia grass is great for hot temperatures, it likes dry climates and the humidity from a tropical climate is not ideal.

Furthermore, zoysia grass needs a cold season to become dormant.

Dry Climate

A hot, dry climate is the ideal area for zoysia grass to grow. It is most abundant in southern areas of the United States such as Arizona and California.

Zoysia grass is drought-tolerant so you don’t have to worry about constantly drying it, even when there is no rain in the forecast. This is especially important with the ongoing water issues that parts of the United States are having.

Temperate Climate

A temperate climate is not ideal for zoysia grass. While it will still grow in these areas, there are other varieties of grass that are better suited for the mild temperatures.

Continental Climate

Another optimal climate for zoysia grass is a continental climate. Zoysia grass can withstand the hot summer temperatures and while it will go dormant in the cold winters, it will bounce back again in the spring.

Polar Climate

A polar climate is not ideal for zoysia grass. It is not hot enough for this variety.

Choosing Zoysia Grass Seeds

Zoysia grass is a beneficial variety for many reasons. Not only is it drought and heat-resistant, but it can withstand heavy foot traffic.

It also requires very little maintenance and if it is exposed to the right growing conditions, you will be rewarded with a very dense lawn. This density not only looks and feels good but it will also prevent weeds from popping up in sparser areas.

How to Plant Zoysia Grass Seeds

how to plant zoysia grass

Timing

The best time to plant zoysia grass seed is in the spring. Wait until the last frost date in the spring and then sow your grass seed.

Alternatively, you can also plant zoysia grass in the fall, a month before the first frost date. The cooler temperatures in the spring and fall will allow the grass seed to germinate and you can get some extra help with watering thanks to the natural precipitation.

Location

As you may be discovering as you research varieties of grass seed, not every variety is meant for every climate. While most grass seeds will grow okay in most areas, some seeds are better suited to specific locations.

Zoysia grass should be planted in full sun although it will tolerate some lighter shade. If it is planted in full shade, it won’t grow to its full potential.

Furthermore, zoysia grass is excellent for high-traffic areas. Now, you can definitely consider zoysia grass even if nobody really walks on your grass but it is highly recommended for lawns where children frequently play.

Planting

The ideal planting of zoysia grass should start with solid soil. Make sure there are no rocks or debris and employ the use of a leveler if need be.

You can decide to use rolls of pre-grown zoysia sod or you can use grass seed.

For grass seed, employ a cross-sowing method. This is when you use a grass spreader for even distribution. Push the grass spreader horizontally, up and down your lawn.

Then, push it vertically. This will ensure that all parts of your lawn are evenly covered with grass seed.

Space

Once your zoysia grass grows in, it will be thick and can withstand heavy foot traffic from kids or entertaining. However, it needs space to grow first.

Try your very best not to walk on the grass sprouts once they come up. This is especially true for kids and pets as they can inadvertently disrupt the soil and the seeds.

Wait at least two weeks after you plant your grass to walk in the area, although a month is preferable.

How to Water Zoysia Grass

A major benefit of zoysia grass is that it is drought-resistant. This means that you don’t have to worry too much about watering it.

After seeding your grass, however, it is very important to water it regularly. Grass seed needs to remain moist to germinate, so after laying down seeds, water them daily until it starts to sprout.

Then, you can drop down the watering to every day or two, depending on if it rains or not.

After your zoysia grass starts to grow in, you can eventually decrease the watering frequency to about once a week. However, during very hot summer months, you may need to increase the water amount.

During the height of summer, you have two options with zoysia grass. You can either water it more often to keep it green or you can allow it to enter a summer dormancy period where it will turn brown.

The good news is that once a heat wave is over in the summer and your zoysia grass gets water again, it will turn green and remain this way until late fall.  

How to Grow Zoysia Grass

how to grow zoysia grass

Speed of growth

At first, you may feel a little impatient with your zoysia grass as it can take a while to get started. During this time, it is especially important to stay off the area to allow it to take root.

However, your patience will eventually be rewarded and once it grows in it, the grass will start to thatch over and become thicker.

There is a two-part process to the growth of zoysia grass. First, above-ground stems, also known as stolons, will spread out. Then, underground you can find grass rhizomes which move under the soil and pop up with new growth.

Maintenance

Ironically, zoysia grass grows better in conditions you wouldn’t think would be ideal. This includes hot, dry areas.

Conversely, if you grow zoysia grass in cooler areas, it means you need to pay more attention to it and will need to devote more time to maintenance.

Fertilizer

Spring is the ideal time to fertilize your zoysia grass. Depending on where you live, this can be anywhere between March and May.

Use a specific grass fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen to keep your grass thick and green. It’s best to use a fertilizer spreader for even distribution. If fertilizer clumps up, it can result in brown, burned patches of grass.

You can apply a final layer of fertilizer in the fall, about six weeks before the first fall date. Again, use a special grass fertilizer and apply it evenly.

Mowing

While you might think it is best to cut your grass super short to prolong the time between mowing, new research indicates that it is better to cut your grass at a higher depth. 2 to 3 inches is the ideal mowing height.

Longer grass blades mean more shade for your ground, which will keep your whole grass area healthy.

Overseeding

For those who want to ensure their grass is as thick as possible, you can overseed with extra grass seed. This is when you add extra grass seed and sometimes a thin layer of soil to help the seeds germinate.

Overseeding is best done in cooler temperatures when the current grass is starting to become dormant. October is usually an ideal month for overseeding.

Dormancy

Yet another benefit of zoysia grass is how long it stays green. From spring to fall, you can expect a lush, medium green color to your grass.

While it does enter a period of dormancy over the winter, it won’t do so until later in the fall. If you are familiar with the popular Bermuda grass, zoysia grass will stay greener for longer.

If you really want green grass all year round, you actually have the option of over-seeding your zoysia grass. You can use rye grass, which is annual, to give your yard a lush green through winter.

How long does zoysia grass take to grow?

Zoysia grass will germinate in about a week after you plant it. After that, it will grow slowly at first but by summer it will start to come in nice and thick.

Zoysia grass is a perennial. It will become dormant in the winter but will start to grow again in the spring.

Conclusion

Zoysia grass is an excellent variety of grass that will withstand drought conditions. It will go dormant in the winter but will come back to life in the spring. Plant zoysia grass in the spring or the fall for best results.

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