Turf Management Series: Zoysia

By Paul Kurilla - paulk@landings.org
Public Works/CDD Director

It’s no surprise that curb appeal in the form of a well-landscaped lawn increases the marketability and property value of your home. Whether you conduct your own lawncare maintenance or utilize a local landscape contractor, it’s important to understand the type of turf you are dealing with to ensure its long-term success throughout the growing seasons of the year.

Over the next several months, we will feature various types of turf that are commonly utilized in coastal Georgia and The Landings. The turf spotlights will include information on the management of Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede, and Bermuda.

This month’s focus is on the turf Zoysia, which is planted in the turf area around Delegal’s Sunset Pavilion and The Landings Association’s Administration Building. Below, you will find the turf’s watering requirements, maintenance needs, and more!

ZOYSIA

Characteristics: 

  • Light to medium green turf during the summer.
  • Produces a very dense lawn when maintained properly.
  • Known for its ability to stand up to heat and heavy foot traffic.

Advantages: 

  • Drought tolerant during the heat of the summer.
  • Lower watering and maintenance needs than other turf species (specifically St. Augustine and Bermuda), which makes it very appealing to property owners.
  • Produces a high shoot density, which makes Zoysia tolerant to high traffic areas, and also which can outcompete many weed species.

Disadvantages:

  • Zoysia is a slow growing turf. If the turf is damaged, it takes much longer to recover than other grasses, specifically Bermuda.
  • Due to its high shoot density, Zoysia lawns tend to develop a substantial thatch layer, which can become a breeding ground for insects. This can be mitigated by aerating and dethatching each spring/early summer.
  • Similar to Bermuda, the two main insects we fight in the Southeast are Mole crickets and Army worms on Zoysia lawns. Both of these insects can be devastating to Zoysia grass if not treated promptly. The easiest way to prevent infestations of these two insects is to implement a preventative program.
    • Mole crickets: Mole crickets reproduce in early spring. By conducting an early application of insecticide in late April/early May, you can kill off all nymphs in the soil. A second application is recommended in July.
    • Army worms: Army worms typically begin to infest zoysia grass in mid-to-late summer. The first signs of Army worms generally occur with the presence of small moths flying from the turf. Once moths are present, it’s important to treat your lawn immediately with an insecticide to prevent moths from laying eggs that turn into Army worms. It’s recommended to repeat applications every three-to-four weeks through September.

Irrigation:

  • Zoysia requires 0.5 to 1 inch of water per week to maintain effective growing conditions.
  • During dry summer months, additional water may be required to keep Zoysia lawns green and growing.
  • Soil conditions play a big role in water needs. For example, sandy soils may require additional watering, while clay-based soils require less watering.