Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass and is used as a general turf grass. While zoysia grass tolerates moderate foot traffic, it recovers slowly from excessive wear. In general, Zoysia needs at least 1 inch of water a week to keep it green. A drought-tolerant grass, Zoysia will turn light brown during dry spells but will return to green after a thorough watering.
Zoysia japonica, called Korean or Japanese lawn grass, was introduced to the U.S. in 1985 from China. A warm season grass, zoysia japonica has a coarse texture and is cold tolerant, according to the University of Florida Extension. There are several cultivars available. Meyer zoysia grass has a medium blade texture, a dark green color and tends to develop thatch. Belaire has a medium green color and has a faster germination rate than other zoysia types. Palisades has good shade tolerance and produces a coarse- to medium-textured grass. El Toro is a fast growing zoysia grass and generates less thatch than Meyer zoysia grass. Crowne is highly drought and cold tolerant.
Zoysia matrella originated in Manilla and came to the U.S. in 1911. Zoysia matrella tolerates moderate shade but prefers full sun, according to the Texas Cooperative Extension. The texture is wiry with sharply pointed blades. A tropical grass, zoysia matrella is evergreen in warm climates but turns brown in the cold weather. The grass is only available as sprigs. Cultivars include Cavalier, which has a fine texture and high density, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Cavalier is both drought and shade tolerant. Royal is cold and shade tolerant with a fine texture. Royal is suitable for use on golf courses. Zorro is also suited for use on golf courses and tolerates low and frequent mowing. Diamond has the finest texture of all the cultivars and is shade tolerant.
Zoysia tenuifolia, also called Korean velvet grass or mascarene grass, has a fine texture with short blades, which makes it very dense and fluffy, according to Aggie Horticulture. Used as a ground cover, zoysia tenufolia is not as cold tolerant as other zoysia grasses and is prone to thatch. The grass is propagated only from sod, plugs or sprigs.
Emerald is a cross between zoysia tenufolia and zoysia japonica. Emerald is cold tolerant, spreads quickly and has a fine texture.