Zoysia grass is a popular warm season grass used as lawn grass in the southern half of the United States. Although it is often used on golf courses in areas of light traffic, it is slow to recover when planted where there is heavy concentrated foot traffic. Also known as Manila grass, zoysia is most often sold as plugs by mail order companies.
Obtain a soil test of your planting area by contacting your local county agricultural extension office and asking for assistance. The extension office provides information on how to take an effective soil test as well as where to send the sample. A soil test helps you save money by telling you what to add to your soil so you don't create a nutrient imbalance, or waste money purchasing amendments you do not need. It will take between two and four weeks to receive the results of your soil test in most locations.
In spring, after the last average frost date for your area, spray the planting area with an herbicide containing glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Use a weed killer containing glyphosate because it does not remain active in the soil for more than two weeks. It takes about two weeks for glyphosate to kill the existing grass and vegetation.
This is a good time to schedule the delivery of your zoysia grass plugs. You want the plugs to arrive when the planting area is ready. Measuring your planting area with a measuring tape will help you determine the correct number of plugs to order.
Clear all grass and weeds from the planting area after they are dead with a shovel, hoe and rake. Spread a 1-inch layer of compost over the planting area, along with the required soil amendments listed on the soil test. Work the compost and amendments into the top 2 inches of soil and rake the area smooth. If you have to wait a few days for the plugs to arrive, keep the prepared area lightly moist so the dirt cannot blow away.
Use a grass plugger or bulb planter (both long-handled tools) to dig small holes for each plug. Begin in the back, or most difficult-to-reach area, and dig out 10 holes at a time. Plant the zoysia grass plugs in a checkerboard fashion 6 to 12 inches apart. Plant the plugs so the grass is visible above the soil line, but the roots are completely covered with soil. The closer the plugs are planted to each other, the faster you will have complete coverage. Press the soil around each plug as it is planted to ensure good root-to-soil contact.
Add water to the newly planted zoysia grass plugs, keeping the area moist, but not wet, until the zoysia grass is established. After the grass is actively growing, follow a regular watering schedule.