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Zoysia grass

Zoysiagrasses are warm season grasses native to China, Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia. The species was named to commemorate an 18th century Austrian botanist, Karl von Zois. In 1911, Zoysia matrella was introduced into the United States from Manila by a U.S.D.A. botanist, C. V. Piper. Because of its origin the grass was commonly called Manila grass.
Zoysia grass is a fine textured grass that creates a nice looking lawn. It spreads by surface runners, unlike Bermudagrass that also has underground stems. It is a warm season grass that uses little water during the dormant season. The slow growth is the greatest negative characteristic. That slowness will allow for weed growth and creates the need for you to manage the weeds until the zoysia grass lawn has been established and completely covers the soil. Once established, the zoysia grass will compete with weeds. With proper mowing and lawn management, weed problems will then be reduced.
There are 3 species available. Japanese lawn grass (Z. japonica), Manila grass (Z. matrella), and Korean grass (Z. tenuifolia). Korean grass is more a ground cover than lawn grass. It’s wiry but fine-textured and creates interesting mounds as it grows. It is a very fine textured species, but is the least cold tolerant of the three species. Only Japanese lawngrass is available as seed. The color of Japanese lawngrass is similar to bluegrass, but blades are much stiffer.
The grasses turn brown after the first hard frost and are among the first warm season grasses to green up in the spring. The species vary from extremely fine textured to coarse textured types and the leaf blades are very stiff due to a high silica content.
A highly versatile species, zoysiagrasses make ideal lawn grasses (gives you a dense, cushiony turf) in some situations and can be used on golf courses, parks and athletic fields. They can be grown in all kinds of soils ranging from sands to clays and both acid and alkaline in reaction. In the U.S., zoysiagrasses are adapted along the Atlantic coast from Florida to Connecticut and along the Gulf Coast to Texas. They are also adapted throughout the transition zone of the U.S. and in California.
Zoysia seed germinates very slowly, so most Zoysia grass is only available in stores as sod. This is wise because it can take up to 12 months for sprigs or plugs to merge and cover a lawn area. Also, unless you’re extremely patient, you should cover the entire planting site with Zoysia sod. Remember, too, that Zoysia grass is especially slow to grow if planted in the shade. If there’s a lot of shade in your garden, no matter the climate, you should probably pass on Zoysia grass. Shady lawn patches simply won’t go green.
Seed strains of zoysia have been developed, but getting the seed to germinate can be a challenge because it requires direct sunlight. This makes it difficult on a slope, where the exposed seed might wash away. The window for seeding is from mid-June to mid-July. Zoysia plugs can be planted anytime between now and late August. Zoysia lawns are typically given one application of fertilizer in late spring.

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