Zoysia is a warm-weather perennial lawn grass that thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 and above. The 'Empire' cultivar can grow in zone 6. Zoysia is a slow grower with deep roots, that may go dormant and turn straw colored in the winter in cooler climates. This dense, wiry grass is used on golf courses and athletic fields and can be planted in heavy traffic areas.
Zoysia seeds should be planted in bare soil areas, where a new lawn will grow. Do not use for overseeding. Soil should be amended to be neutral to slightly acidic. Plant seeds in late spring to early summer, and water regularly. Fertilize with nitrogen-rich product about one month after planting.
Zoysia seedlings are available as plugs. Plant zoysia plugs in late spring or early summer, when soil temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Use zoysia plugs to create a new lawn or beef up an existing lawn. Zoysia spreads by runners, and plugs will spread throughout the lawn area.
Like most grasses, zoysia thrives in full sun. Zoysia can tolerate partial shade, particularly in warmest areas, including zone 9 and above, and may be used under trees or in other areas that provide filtered light.
Water new zoysia--seeds or plugs--daily for the first month to help roots establish. This grass requires 1/2 inch of water per week once established. Do not overwater and let the area get boggy.
Zoysia should be fertilized with a nitrogen-rich product, or one specifically made for zoysia grass. Fertilize one month after planting either seeds or plugs. Once established, fertilize twice a year--in May and August.
Zoysia should be mowed to 3/4-inch high. After planting, do not mow until grass reaches 1 inch or more.