Zoysia grass (Zoysia spp.) is a low-growing lawn grass with a fine, dense texture. Zoysia grass prefers full sun to partial shade, with good shade tolerance. This grass grows on a wide variety of soils and is moderately salt tolerant. Zoysia grass requires frequent fertilization and irrigation. As a slow grower, it needs less mowing than other grasses, such as Bermuda or St. Augustine grass. Some pests of zoysia grass include nematodes (microscopic worm-like organisms), mole crickets, armyworms, sod webworms and several fungal diseases. Zoysia grass is started from seed, sprigs or sod. Zoysia grass is very versatile and can be used for lawns, parks and other public spaces.
Korean or Japanese lawngrass (Zoysia japonica) is the most coarse textured of the Zoysia species. This species was introduced to the U.S. In 1895. It has more tolerance to cold than other species and can be started from seed, unlike other zoysia grasses. Meyer zoysia grass is an improved strain (based on color, vigor of growth and texture). Meyer Zoysia grass has a medium-coarse texture and deep-green leaf blades. Two zoysia grasses that spread faster than Meyer are Belair and El Toro.
Zoysia matrella is usually grown in tropical and subtropical areas, but will grow in the north (up to Connecticut). Z. matrella, from Manilla, was introduced to the U.S. In 1911. This species grows densely in full sun and will tolerate shade. The leaf blades of Z. matrella are wiry, narrow and sharply pointed.This grass will remain green all year in tropical climates, but will turn brown (and remain brown until late spring) after frost in cold climates. Zoysia matrella must be propagated by sprig.
Mascarene grass (Zoysia tenuifolia), has fine, short and wiry leaf blades and is the least winter hardy of the zoysia grasses. It forms a dense, fluffy turf and spreads very slowly. Emerald zoysia grass is a hybrid between Z. tenuifolia and Z. japonica. It exhibits better cold tolerance and is faster spreading.