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How to Mow Zoysia

Zoysia is a warm-season grass native to southeast Asia. Because it grows dense and thick, and grows well at short heights, zoysia grass is commonly grown on golf courses and athletic fields. Also, zoysia is extremely heat and drought tolerant and will even grow in partial shade. Its blades are tough; therefore, it can withstand being trampled and played upon, which is important for many home lawns. If you take the time to care for your zoysia grass, including proper mowing, you will have a lawn that looks as if it is professionally maintained.

Mow your zoysia grass the first time each spring at the lowest setting possible. According to the University of Missouri, this practice will remove dead tissues from the winter and will help your lawn grow greener earlier in the spring. The zoysia will then grow more evenly for the rest of the growing season.

Decide how short you want to maintain your zoysia grass. If your grass is in full sun, typically, anywhere between 1 to 2 inches will suffice. If it is in the shade, closer to 2 inches is ideal. If you’re trying to maintain a lawn that looks like a professional golf course, mow your zoysia grass closer to ½ inch.

Mow frequently. No matter what height you decide, the key to a well kept zoysia lawn is cutting no more than 1/3 of the height at any one time. For example, if you decide to keep your grass 1 inch in height, you’ll need to mow it whenever it reaches 1½ inches high. For the home lawn, this usually equates to a mowing every 5 to 7 days.

Rake and remove clumps of grass after mowing. This will help prevent thatching (which is the accumulation of dead, non-decomposed debris between the blades of living grass), which can cause serious problems over time.

Change the direction of your mowing each time you mow. If you mow in the north-south direction one time, then mow in the west-east direction the next time.

Raise the mowing height in the fall (usually in September or October) by ½ to 1 inch to help your zoysia prepare for its dormant season. For example, if you have been maintaining a lawn that is 1 inch in height, now mow it at a height of 1½ to 2 inches.


According to Kansas State University, a sharp reel mower is better for zoysia grass maintained at less than a 1½ inch. A sharp reel motor will suffice for zoysia grass kept taller than this. Keep in mind that watering and fertilizing your grass will help you maintain a healthy-looking lawn, but it also means you will have to mow more frequently.

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