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Zoysia – It’s Not Just For the Golf Course!

Zoysia (play /ˈzɔɪziə/)[2] is a genus of creeping grasses native to southeast and east Asia (north to China and Japan) and Australasia. These species, commonly called zoysia or zoysiagrass, are found in coastal areas or grasslands. The genus is named after the Austrian botanist Karl von Zois. (Thank you Wikipedia)

So what does this mean to the average homeowner?  Well, if you want a tough, dense low maintenance lawn and minimal environmental impact, Zoysia is the way to go.

Zoysia on a golf course

Zoysia - front lawn (not ours!)

Here in middle Tennessee the active growing period is from mid to late May all the way into November.  When I say active, this turf-grass is about the laziest grass you can get (which translates into low maintenance for you!).  It is a very slow grower and therefore has minimal water and fertilizer requirements.  This saves a homeowner 3 fold:

  • Reduced frequency of mowing (once every 2 weeks)
  • Reduced fertilizer (Aproximately 1lb per 1000sq ft.)
  • Much lower water requirements (1-2″ month during the summer for sustainability)

Zoysia Zones of Adaptation

Heres a few other bonuses:

  • Because it is highly resilient, Zoysia is often used on ball fields, fairways and border greens on golf courses. This grass grows extremely dense which helps to suppress weeds.
  • There is no need for annual coring and reseeding, which is a continuous battle with cool season grasses such as Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass.

The only drawback to Zoysia is the fact that it is a warm season grass, so it does go dormant in the winter and turns a golden beige color.  You can always over seed the Zoysia with Annual Winter Rye grass to maintain a green lawn year round.

Dormant Zoysia (again, not our house)

It also is a little bit more expensive on the front end as it needs to be installed as sod rather than seed.  Think of it as a turf carpet!  I managed to talk Meredith into letting me tear out (well, really just mow down to the soil surface and then lay the sod directly on top) the hodgepodge of Bermuda and Fescue grass this past fall (which grows like a weed in the summer – I was having to mow twice a week when we’d get a lot of rain!) and have the Zoysia sod put in.

Without question, all the pros outweigh the cons.  The very low water requirement that this turf has could just about pay for the cost of installing Zoysia in a year or two, depending on where you live.  Or by having your maintenance costs cut in half by not having to mow weekly!

Either way you will save and help to end the waste surrounding Fescue and other cool season grasses that are used in hot, dry locations.

We are looking forward to May when our Zoysia wakes up and turns a lush green!  Expect photos soon!


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