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At What Temperature Does Zoysia Grass Turn Brown?

Image by, courtesy of Ville Miettinen

Zoysia grass is a warm season turf popular in the southeastern United States for its dense and attractive appearance. It is drought and shade tolerant, but has a tendency to go dormant in the winter months.


Zoysia grass is native to China, Japan, and other parts of southeast Asia. According to the Texas Cooperative Extension, zoysia was named to honor 18th century Austrian botanist Karl von Zois. In 1911, zoysia was introduced to the United States from Manila by USDA botanist, C. V. Piper.


In the United States, zoysia grass is found along the Atlantic coast from Florida up to the Connecticut, along the Gulf coast to Texas, through the transition zone of the United States and in California.


There are many different varieties of zoysia grass. Meyer, Emerald, Empire, El Toro, Empress and Belair are a few of the many varieties. Each has different cold and shade tolerance, texture and shade of green color.

The Facts

Zoysia will turn brown in mid-October when temperatures drop below 55 degrees. It will stay brown until March or the beginning of spring when temperatures rise above 55 degrees.


When zoysia grass is brown in the winter months, it can be colored green. Green grass colorant can be purchased at a garden supply store.

Start Zoysia Grass

Install zoysia plugs during May, when conditions are optimal for its establishment. Push the plugging tool through the existing lawn until the top of the cutter is even with the surface of the soil. Twist the tool and lift to remove the core. Place the first zoysia plug into the first hole. Avoid applying fertilizers during the first month of zoysia establishment, but do apply a single treatment of nitrogen fertilizer during mid-August to give the grass an extra boost.

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