Zoysia grass is also referred to as a grass with a pretty name; Brousemichea Balansa. Because of its hardiness, it is ideal for golf courses and lawns. Extreme variations in water, temperature and sunlight can be tolerated by this grass and it proliferates in warm weather. Native to Southeast and Eastern Asia, it is a creeping grass. This grass is mostly found on grasslands and is common in Australasia, Japan and China. Karl Von Zois was an Austrian botanist after whom this grass is named.
Less mowing and watering is required by Zoysia grass. It has a unique style of growing through ‘stolons’ due to which it can spread quickly. It sends out more stolons along with sideway branches which take root in the soil. It is considered pleasant for walking barefoot because it makes a thick layered carpet which feels soft. The area in which it grows in is not infiltrated by weeds. It has deep roots and as compared to other grass it can thrive on very less water. Therefore, it uses the underlying moisture to sustain itself. The grass does not grow quickly because it has a lateral growth pattern and this leads to less mowing.
- During the extremely hot summer months, Zoysia grass can grow well.
- A cushiony, thick and dense turf can be easily established with it.
- Summer weeds and crab grass can be controlled and prevented with its thick growth.
- The cool-season grasses become very unattractive in the summer months while this grass maintains its green color.
- Close mowing of this grass is also possible.
- If it is managed properly, this grass can be grown in most types of soil.
- During the summer season, it can withstand wear and tear.
- After it has been well established, it can also tolerate low fertility.
- Severe heat stress can also be tolerated by this particular grass.
- In comparison to other cool season turf grasses, it needs very little water.
For the first two weeks after it has been put in, Zoysia grass requires light watering everyday especially in the absence of rainfall. Later, a strong root system will be encouraged by infrequent yet thorough watering. When the leaf blades give signs of wilting, then only should it be watered. This grass is drought tolerant because it has a deep root system and can extract moisture from greater soil depths.
During active growth i.e. from April to October, the grass should be fertilized per 1000 square feet with two to four pounds of nitrogen. It should be fertilized in the fall as well if you want a better color in cool weather.
Zoysia grass should be mowed fairly low which is around ½ or 1 inch high. A reel mower should be used preferably. Also, in order to avoid a thick layer of thatch, the height of the grass should be kept below two inches which means it has to be mowed on a frequent basis. Mowing evenly can prove to be very tricky especially with long blades because it has a prickly texture. In order to remove thatch, periodic vertical mowing should be done which is quite useful.
Types of Zoysia Grass
There are several types of Zoysia grass which can be found. Some of them are listed below:
- Japanese: Having a coarse texture, Zoysia japanonica greatly resembles tall fescue. As compared to any other type of Zoysia grass, it grows faster. It can also survive well in the cold weather, has light green leaves and is hairy.
- Mascarene: This grass cannot stand the cold and is known as Zoysia tenuifolia. It can form a dense and fluffy turf because its leaves are short and fine. Mostly used as a low growing ground cover, it was introduced from the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.
- Manila: In 1911, Zoysia Mantrella was brought from the Philippines into the US. The lawn produced by this grass is denser than that of Zoysia Japanonica and it grows slowly. It requires sufficient sunlight and the texture of its leaves is very fine. In lawns where slow growth is not an issue, this grass is recommended for high maintenance and high quality.
There are other types of this grass which are hybrid of the above mentioned types such as Emerald, Meyer etc. Basically, Zoysia grass is ideal if you are looking for a low maintenance lawn.