According to the University of Missouri, zoysia grass grows in the southern two thirds of the state, including St. Louis. Zoysia is a warm weather grass that spreads through rooting rhizomes and stolons. When cool weather approaches, the thick green turf will turn a brown color. A healthy zoysia lawn begins with a sod planting. The best time of year to lay zoysia sod in St. Louis is in late spring to early summer. Full sod can be laid as late as September if the roots have a chance to take hold into the soil.
Collect samples of soil from various locations around the new lawn area. Dry the samples. Deliver the soil sample to your local agricultural extension service for analysis.
Cultivate the soil in the new zoysia sod area with the rototiller to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Remove all errant vegetation and rocks. Broadcast the recommended amounts of fertilizer, agricultural lime and organic matter based upon the soil test results. Incorporate the material into the soil with the rototiller.
Level and grade the planting site with the garden rake. Moisten the soil with the garden hose and sprinkler. Keep the soil moist, not overly wet, while laying the sod.
Start laying the sod from either a sidewalk or driveway area. Align the first row of sod with the straight edge. Keep the end of the rolls of the sod tight to each other.
Stagger the ends of the rolls so they do not align with each other. This can cause erosion under heavy rain conditions. Keep all gaps between the rolls at a minimum distance. Walk only on the already laid sod, do not walk on bare soil.
Cut irregular shapes with the sod knife. Keep all sod pieces to fill in any open areas between the mating edges of the sod rolls.
Irrigate the freshly laid sod immediately. Water the sod to a final depth of 4 to 6 inches. Apply irrigation in the mornings to reduce disease. Keep all foot traffic from the sod for the first three weeks of growth.