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When to Plant Zoysia Grass? – Zoysia Grass Growing Tips

Written by William Golder

Fact checked by Dorian Goodwin

when to plant zoysia grass

As a warm-season plant, zoysia grows well in many southern parts of the United States. Hence, it’s unsurprising that this grass thrives in Texas, in Georgia, and in NC. If you live in a warm climate, zoysia grass may be an excellent option for your lawn.

This turf’s high density and strength allow it to withstand heavy foot traffic, making it ideal for homeowners who often have parties or play sports outdoors.

So when to plant zoysia grass? The best time for this task is late spring or fall when there’s no frost.

Best Time to Plant Zoysia Grass

As stated above, the seasons for zoysia grass planting are spring and fall. Because this grass won’t develop under frost, it’s essential that you avoid planting it in freezing weather.

In detail, it’s best to grow zoysia after the last spring frost and 60 days before the first fall frost.

  • For example, gardeners in Birmingham in Alabama should start zoysia lawns on March 31 or September 7, given that the city’s last and first frosts are on March 30 and November 6, respectively.
  • In this case, planting may occur later than March 31 but not after September 7. Otherwise, the grass won’t have enough time to establish its roots and survive winter.

Tips for Planting Zoysia Grass

Below, we have listed some tips for planting zoysia grass using plugs, sod, and seeds. But before following them, keep in mind these pieces of advice:

  • Growing zoysia from seed is not optimal due to the seeds’ high cost and low availability. In practice, plugs and sod are preferable options for planting.
  • Zoysia will grow best with a soil pH of 6 to 6.5. If the soil is too alkaline, add aluminum sulfate or sulfur to it to lower the pH. If there’s too much acidity, however, increase the pH by using fine agricultural limestone.
  • Once the soil has the right condition, remove weeds, rocks, and other obstacles to make way for your zoysia grass.

1. Growing zoysia plugs

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  • Plant zoysia plugs at a rate of one plug per square foot of land, and dig holes for them with a step-on plugger. Make sure to leave one foot of space between two holes.
  • Set the plugs into the garden the minute you receive them. If you cannot do this task right away, place the grass under direct sunlight and water the soil every day to keep it moist.
  • Once you’re ready to transplant the plugs, just put them into the holes you made and step on them lightly with your feet. Otherwise, the plugs may have difficulties setting in the soil.
  • Finally, apply a starter fertilizer to encourage turf growth, and water the grass daily in short intervals for the first two weeks. Ideally, aim for 1 inch of water per week.

2. Using zoysia sod

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  • Measure your garden’s width and length, then calculate its total area in square feet. You can then use this number to buy zoysia grass sod for your garden.
  • After your grass order arrives, dig the soil and smoothen it in preparation for installing the sod.
  • Next, water the soil so it’s slightly damp, and lay the sod slabs on the ground. If the garden has curves, use knives to shape the grass blocks accordingly. While doing this step, keep the sod slabs under shade to preserve their moisture.
  • Once the sod is in place, roll it to create an even surface. Check for any gaps between the slabs. If there is, rearrange the pallets to ensure weeds can’t grow in between them.
  • After you’re done with your sod arrangement, moisten it right away. Similarly, water the sod every day for the next two weeks.

3. Growing zoysia from seeds

Before planting, you need to check the soil’s pH and nutritional makeup (including its nitrogen content); the latter will influence what kind of fertilizer you use.

Once you’ve got the right fertilizer, till it into the soil and apply compost. At this point, the garden should be free of weeds and detritus and ready for seeds.

Spread the seeds at a rate of 1 to 3 pounds per 1000 square feet. Whether you use Lowe’s zoysia grass seed or that of any retailer, really, pick a package with high germination test results.

After sowing, give the soil an inch of water and ensure the soil’s top 0.5 inch is always damp. Once seedlings appear, they should receive an inch of water per week.

  • Note: To overseed zoysia in existing lawn, trim the current grass down to one inch. Then, aerate and/or dethatch the yard before sowing seeds with a spreader.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the disadvantages of zoysia grass?

As with other plants, there are disadvantages to consider before growing zoysia grass. Some of these drawbacks are:

  • Zoysia grass plugs might need three years to thicken and give your yard that lush, vibrant look. If you want high coverage fast, sod is the best option. However, it is quite expensive (costing up to $1.29 per square foot), so if you have a 100 sq ft. yard, you may spend $129 on sod alone.
  • Another unappealing aspect of zoysia is its demand for water during winter. Because zoysia won’t grow during the cold season, irrigating it may feel like a waste.
  • What’s more, if you forget to water zoysia in spring and fall and let it wilt, it will need 6 inches of water to recover instead of the usual 1 or 2 inches.
  • Also, it’s impossible to just plant zoysia and not maintain it. If you don’t cut the grass every week, its heavy thatch will prevent water, fertilizers, and other soil amendments from taking effect.
  • Finally, dollar spot and nematodes are some diseases that zoysia is vulnerable to.

Will zoysia take over other grasses?

Yes. This is one of the problems gardeners may face when growing zoysia: It can encroach on the space for other plants. Some grasses zoysia may compete with are Bahia, Bermuda, centipede, rye, and Kentucky bluegrass.

To keep zoysia from spreading uncontrollably, you can install garden borders or remove the plant with a sod cutter.

How long does it take for zoysia grass seed to germinate?

Zoysia seed germination often occurs within two to three weeks after sowing. To facilitate sprouting, you should start seeds when the soil is 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, the ideal germination temperature range is narrower, at 68 to 72 degrees.

Which zoysia grass type should I choose?

Some top zoysia varieties are:

  • Empire zoysia
  • Innovation zoysia
  • Geo zoysia
  • Meyer zoysia
  • Zorro zoysia

They can all withstand drought and shade and will make for lovely home lawns.

However, if you want to grow zoysia from seeds, make sure the cultivar you pick is Zoysia japonica, as all other types must be planted using plugs, sprigs, or sod.

At the same time, research the seed package you choose. Empire zoysia seed aren’t really available for sale, so any advertisement for them is likely a scam. It’s safer to get Empire zoysia plugs instead, since you’ll come across authentic products of this type more easily.

Where can zoysia grass grow?

Zoysia grass will thrive in hardiness zone 5 to 10, so you’ll find it in many parts of the US, such as in Aklahoma, New Jersey, and Kansas.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now know when to plant zoysia grass. To sum up, just look up your frost dates and follow the tips above, and that dream lawn will soon turn into reality.

Whether you’re growing zoysia from plugs, seeds, or sod, we hope this article made your gardening easier. Thank you for reading.

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A Few Words From the Author

William-Golder

Hi, I am William – Floridayards’ digital content creator. My job is to find answers to all your concerns with thorough research and our team’s expert advice. I will also bring you honest reviews on the best products and equipment for raising your beautiful garden. Please look forward to our work!

William Golder