zoysia grass

I have seen ads (which are usually biased, of course) about this “miracle grass” called zoysia, which needs less water, less care, and stays green longer. Well, it certainly sounds too good to be true, but I’m curious.

Does anyone here know the real story? Is this stuff as great as they claim? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

My neighbors had it when I was a kid. It certainly is hardy, as it is taking over my parents’ lawn. I hate it because it thick, bristly, and uninviting.

It does need less water and care, it certainly stays greener longer, it’s one of the first to green in the spring and it spreads quickly. However, it’s a coarse, uncomfortable grass, and you have to mow it more often. I much prefer softer grasses such as Kentucky Blue.

“I hate it because it thick, bristly, and uninviting.”

If what you are talking about is, in fact, zoysia, it is probably Meyer zoysia. Emerald zoysia is fine, soft, and wonderful to run around on in your bare feet.

Zoysia does need less water and probably less fertilizer than many other grassses but it is strictly a warm season grass and turns a buff color for the winter where it is cold. If you really want to know whether or not zoysia would be good for your particular lawn, I suggest you ignore the ads and consult an extension agent or turf specialist. There are many factors to consider.

I have been told that the grass in the ads is Meyer zoysia and that the plugs that are sold are so small that it would take years to establish a decent turf if you used them.

My father has it in his backyard, and one of the advantages is that it’s so thick and lush, crabgrass and other lawn weeds get choked out. I rather like the feel of it on bare feet, so the texture is subjective. I’ve found that it browns rather quickly in the fall, though, unlike the other posters to this thread.

I’m thinking of asking Dad if I can swipe a few plugs from his lawn to implant in mine, since the shade covering most of my yard discourages other types of grass from growing. A few plugs, and a little patience, and in a few years, I may have a whole new lawn!

“…and you have to mow it more often.”

I’m not sure that’s true if you refrain from overfertilizing the zoysia.
“…since the shade covering most of my yard discourages other types of grass from growing.”

In my experience, zoysias need more sun than do fescues. With fescue, you can always throw down some more seed in the thin spots in the shade.

Maybe it depends on where you are. Here in North Texas, I’ve been considering zoysia because I’ve heard it’s the only grass I could grow in the back, which gets almost zero sun after the tree leaves come out.

We planted some kind of fescue last year which did OK for April and May, but died as soon as it started getting hot (even with no sun).

My front yard in SE mizzou is mostly zoysia (& bermuda), completely dormant in winter and seldom needs mowing in the summer~once or twice a month. Very sunny Front yard.

Backyard is shadier but receives plenty of sunlight and has a mixture of grass, fescue, bluegrass, bermuda, and misc. weeds. It needs mowing once every five days…ugh.

I much prefer the zoysia. I really like walking on it with bare feet.

Nineiron implies a golfer to me & hard to beleive a golfer would not know what zoysia grass is. If it is not the “cadillac” fairway grass of golf courses, it is darn close.

I used some cashmere zoysia, but the yard was too shady and it didn’t grow wll. It was fine bladed, thick, and short.

I have two lawns of entirely Emerald zoysia, and they are great. Everyone comments on how thick and springy the lawn is.

They need no water - in 4 years, they have never been watered. They need no fertilizer. They get mowed about 4 times in the Spring, twice in the Summer, and once in the Fall.

And that’s it. Yes, the grass goes yellow and dormant, and looks ugly. But I prefer to think of it as looking natural. And seeing my neighbors dump tens of thousands of gallons of water on their lawns every year, and spending all that time fertilizzing, only to have to mow it down every single Saturday, I just can’t think of anything but…why? Why are they so obsessed or low on self-esteem that they feel their lawn needs that many resources, time, money, and so forth?

And yet, everyone I know is “lawn crazed”, and laugh when I tell them I have zoysia grass. :rolleyes:

I hate Zoysia grass.

“thick and bristly” describes it pretty well, and if they only tell you it’s “zoysia grass”, what do you think are the odds that it’s going to be “emerald Zoysia”?
My father put it on our front lawn. It turned brown and uninviting in the summer, well before fall.

Of course, I hate my current grass, too.

Generally, Zoysia is one of the more disease resistant, traffic resistant, slow growing, low care grasses around. Most grasses offer such features, but all these features in one grass is hard t find.

Zoysia in the north, where we get freeze/frosts, Zoysia goes light brown from the first frost until the last frost. This can mean brown grass from Nov to May. That’s alot of brown grass time!

However, Zoysia is very bullet proof. I find it funny that anyone would pop in here and talk about the virtues of Blue Grass! Blue Grass is a pretty sissy in the grass world. Think of a rich fussy woman, and that is blue grass! High maintenance, looks good with care for special occassions.! When it’s sick, everyone knows and it needs ATTENTION! Zoysia? Plant and ignore.

Gen Questions brings out the best answers! :dubious:

Where do you live, nineiron? New turf type fescues offer some of the best balance between care/durability/appearance.

Zoysia is the last to go green, as many northern grasses it would compete with in NJ are in the fescue family, meaning a good portion of lawns in the northeast are mostly green all winter long.

Mow more often? One of the well known virtues of Zoysia is that it grows slowly and spreads slowly!!!

Q.E.D., you must be talking about another grass you think is Zoysia! My friend owns a Zoysia farm and he found the whole post amusing!

Yes, nineiron, where do you live? In Texas at least, the most drought tolerant and disease/pest tolerant grass is buffalograss. Shade tolerance is less than St. Augustine, though.

Zoysia ROCKS! I have it in my yard and it was one of the most attractive things about the landscapr when we bought our house. We live in South Texas, it only needs to be watered once a week compared to three times for other grasses (there is hot then there is TEXAS HOT!) I never get crab grass or diseases, it is thick and luch and actually looks and feels inviting to walk on. It does need to be edged because it is so thick but then that is a personal choice. It’s aggressive and has grown into my neighbors yard but they like it because it’s better grass than the Bermuda they have. It turned brown in December (about the first month we get freezing temps here) but is already startng to turn green again. (First Spring rains) This is the best grass I’ve ever had.

Zoysia grass is definitely a right choice for some areas. I haven’t used it myself, but others I’ve heard of that didn’t mind putting in the time for it don’t regret it one bit. It survived the droughts we had here in TX for years, and even when it does rain, it rarely needs mowing. I would be careful ordering seeds through a mail order catalog. Try to find a local nursery that has already established a particular variety of Zoysia in your area. As has been noticed, plenty of people love this grass in TX, although it still doesn’t seemed to be used by very many. I suspect it’s because how long it takes to spread, which is probably its biggest negative. It’s a lot of work at first, as most lawns go, but starting with Zoysia seeds is going to take a few years before your lawn gets established. Weeds will be competing for that space and will probably win more battles than it loses with Zoysia grass at first unless you really know what you’re doing. Maybe it you timed it out just right, the seeds will take, but it seems like everything I hear says it is slow going doing it like this. Plugs although more expensive, seem to be the way most prefer to do it.


I remember in the 70s when they would promote this on tv as a miracle grass… I saw some in SD, Calif & it would turn brown in the summer & some people would get this green dye & spray the grass green in the summer!

Sort of like Meadow in a Can, looks great in the spring, pretty flowers & all but come summer, a big brown meadow.

Wow, lots of great answers. Thanks!

To answer the question of a couple of people here, I am from the Northeast (Western Massachusetts in particular). I am most definitely NOT a “lawn guy”; that is, I don’t fertilize, I hardly ever water, and I don’t really lose sleep if my lawn has weeds or brown spots. (I must admit, though, that I do find pleasure in mowing the lawn on a nice summer day.) That’s why I asked the question in the first place: if I could have a nice lawn with little to no work, and if it wasn’t too expensive; I’d go for it.

I love when the local lawn care place makes a telemarketing call to my house. When I tell them I’m not interested (I can’t see spending big bucks on a lawn), they seem aghast: “Why not? You don’t want a nice, green lawn?” No, I just don’t want to pay for it. I don’t have a huge property or anything, but I know that these things can get expensive if you let them.

Find a good turf type tall fescue. Grass is sold by region.

Zoysia in Mass? Will be brown 8 months of the year.

-turf type tall fescue, sold at local nursery and home center.
-find well know brand
-fertilize once in fall, with an organic fetilzer.

end of story.