Zoysia is a slow growing but extremely thick turf grass. Zoysia does best in full sun with a few varieties having good shade tolerance. A minimum of five hours of sunlight is required. The grass remains green spring through fall, and then changes to a golden-brown in winter. Because Zoysia roots grow slowly, establishment is recommended using sod. Due to slow growth, good shade tolerance, and a turf so dense that weed invasion is resisted, it sounds like the perfect grass. However, its strengths are also its weaknesses. Its slow growth means it is slow to recover from abuse or neglect, such as irregular mowing practices, a dull mowing blade, and freezes during winter months, especially on newly sodded lawns.
For the best appearance, most Zoysias require periodic de-thatching and more frequent irrigation than other warm season turf grasses. Heavy fertilization increases thatch buildup, which is damaging to Zoysia grass. Zoysia is now available in several varieties. Zoysia benefits from an underground irrigation system which provides adequate water during periods of drought. This is because Zoysia doesn’t root as deeply as Bermuda. Zeon and El Toro Zoysia are the most shade tolerant varieties. Typical uses: Affluent golf courses and landscapes (residential and commercial). Artistic Landscapes purchases sod from North Georgia Turf. You can visit them at www.ngturf.com.
Zeon is a new variety that is fast becoming one of the most popular zoysias on the market. Zeon is similar to Emerald in appearance with a fine bladed leaf texture. It is also very shade tolerant and unlike Emerald, Zeon does not have a prickly feel. Zeon Zoysia produces less thatch than other Zoysia varieties except JaMur.
JaMur is a medium to coarse textured Zoysia with an attractive blue-green color. JaMur is characterized as an extremely compact turf with a superior rate of spread. It has excellent recovery characteristics and is the most drought tolerant Zoysia grass. JaMur has shown to produce less thatch than all other Zoysia varieties.
El Toro Zoysia
Medium to coarse textured. ‘El Toro’ grows well in both sun and shade and is very resistant to traffic. ‘El Toro’ has been tested to be very drought tolerant. It also is very easy to mow with a rotary mower. ‘El Toro’ also produces little or no thatch and is disease resistant. ‘El Toro’ is excellent for home lawns and golf courses.
Meyers Zoysia is medium in texture, has wider grass blades than emerald, with good color, good disease resistance, and excellent cold tolerance. Meyers Zoysia can survive temperatures below zero degrees, and is better suited north of Atlanta. This is the Zoysia often advertised as the “super” grass in newspapers and magazines and is used more often than any other Zoysia grass. Meyers Zoysia not only has a wider blade, but is coarser in appearance than Emerald. Both grasses do best in full sun.
Emerald Zoysia is considered one of the finest lawn grasses. Emerald Zoysia is an extremely dense, fine textured turf of true emerald green color. Emerald is more shade tolerant than Meyers, but it is more susceptible to winter freeze damage. While all the hot climate grasses turn brown after killing frosts, small plots of Emerald will maintain their green color throughout most winters. This can be seen as far north as Atlanta in commercial areas where it is well protected and benefits from radiation heating from buildings and asphalt paving. Emerald simply cannot be neglected for long periods of time, but if fertilized once or twice annually, watered as needed, and cut regularly, it makes a lawn in full sun or partial shade that is the envy of any in the neighborhood.
Care and Maintenance of Zoysia Lawns
Zoysia does better with less, rather than more, fertilizer. It tends to form a layer of thatch under the green grass if too much fertilizer and water are used. Fertilize Zoysia after it has turned mostly green in the spring, and repeat in midsummer. Use any brand of turf fertilizer that contains “slow release” nitrogen, at the rate recommended on the bag. For the best appearance, Zoysias require cutting with a bagging mower, periodic thinning or dethatching, and frequent irrigation. Mow the turf no lower than 1 1/2″ to help prevent thatch and cold injury. Zoysia will go semi dormant during a drought, but will green up when the rain returns.