Green Industry Resources
Hort Update- Seasonal Information for the Green Industry
Care of Zoysiagrass
The most commonly used turfgrasses in Nebraska are Kentucky Bluegrass and Turf-type Tall Fescue, both cool season grasses. Cool season grasses grow most actively during the mild temperatures of spring and fall.
However two warm season grasses can also be found in Nebraska lawns, namely zoysia and buffalograss. These warm season grasses grow most actively during the hot months of June, July and August, and become dormant in fall following the first hard frost. Because of this difference between cool and warm season grasses, warm season turfgrasses should be maintained using a slightly different schedule. In this article, we will concentrate on good maintenance practices for a zoysia lawn.
Zoysiagrass is a long-lived perennial that forms a dense, high quality, low growing turf. The stems and leaves are tough and stiff, which contributes to the grass's superior wear tolerance when it is actively growing, but also can lead to mowing problems. Zoysiagrass is best adapted to full sun or partial shade. It has good salt tolerance.
Begin mowing zoysia in mid-late April, cutting the grass as short as possible. This will remove any debris, such as rocks and sticks, from the lawn and also allow the soil to warm more quickly thereby encouraging the grass to green up as soon as possible. Once the grass begins to green up, begin mowing weekly at a height of 1.5 inches. Continue mowing at this height throughout the summer until late September. After September 20th, raise the mowing height to 2 inches and continue at that height until the first frost. After frost, zoysia will turn light brown and become dormant, and mowing can be discontinued.
A zoysia lawn should be fertilized three times during the summer; May 30th, July 1st, and August 1st. This coincides with the period of most active growth. If a zoysia turf is fertilized before the grass is actively growing, much of the fertilizer is wasted and may encourage weed growth. Apply ¾-1 lb of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. at each application, using a complete fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Fertilizers with at least 50% slow-release nitrogen are preferred.
Zoysia is a very drought tolerant grass and will only required watering during periods of extended drought to maintain growth, color and quality. When irrigation is required, water infrequently but deeply to develop a deep, extensive root system.
Insect & Disease Control
Well-established zoysia lawns are usually dense and are relatively weed free. If weeds do occur the preferred method of control is spot spraying with the proper herbicide.
Insects and diseases are usually not major problems in zoysiagrass, although chinch bugs and large brown patch disease are two problems that can affect the quality of a zoysia turf.
Power raking and/or aerification should be done from June 1st to July 15th when the grass is actively growing. Power raking removes excess thatch, and should be done when the thatch layer exceeds 1/2 inch. Aerification relieves soil compaction and improves rooting of the turf. Annual aerification helps prevent thatch buildup.