When starting your first lawn, select zoysiagrass for a low-maintenance lawn. Zoysiagrass has numerous positive characteristics, including needing very little watering and fertilization and having few pests, according to the University of Maryland. Provide zoysiagrass with the conditions it needs for optimal establishment for an attractive and long-lasting lawn.
Unlike many lawn grass species, zoysiagrass tolerates light shade. For optimal growth once planted, select a site with full sunlight.
Zoysiagrass doesn't compete well when grown in soil with pre-existing plants, according to the University of Maryland. The university says all vegetation needs to be completely removed before planting and recommends spraying the area with a systemic glyphosate herbicide to ensure total eradication of any weeds. Once you've cleared all vegetation, Texas A&M University recommends breaking up the soil into a finely pulverized surface. Use either a spade or a mechanical tool like a rototiller.
For optimal establishment and growth, plant zoysiagrass in soil with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 6.5, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension. Find your area's pH using a basic testing kit available from most garden stores. If the planting site's pH needs adjusting, consult your regional cooperative extension office for amendment suggestions. Commonly used pH adjusters include agricultural lime and various types of sulfates.
Zoysiagrass prefers well-drained soil. Mix in several inches of compost to improve soil drainage and also help the soil remain moist longer, thereby helping with seed, plug and sod establishment. Before planting, fertilize the area with a basic lawn starter fertilizer available from all garden stores. Spread the fertilizer at the rate listed on its label, since potency varies widely by product and brand.
Zoysiagrass establishment methods vary according to the specific zoysiagrass variety you're growing. All types of zoysiagrass can be started from plugging sprigs or laying sod. Only the Zoysia japonica variety can be started from seed, according to Texas A&M University. Consult your regional cooperative extension to find what varieties do best in your area.