What Is Zoysia Japonica, Everything You Need to Know About This Variety of Grass

Zoysia is a very resistant variety of grass that can tolerate heat, drought, heavy traffic and other challenges. In its optimal growing areas, this herb can provide a spectacular lawn with very little maintenance. If Zoysia’s lawn fits your pretensions and the climate of your garden, you will have found the ideal option.

Zoysia features

  • It is a grass of warm weather with some tolerance to cold
  • He prefers the sun but can tolerate some shade
  • Tolerates heat and drought
  • Supports slightly saline soils
  • It has a dense growth that supports intense trampling
  • It is a low maintenance lawn

What weather is appropriate for planting Zoysia

Japan’s Zoysia is native to China, Japan and other areas of Southeast Asia. It is what is known as warm-season grass because its active growth begins with the warm temperatures of late spring and peaks with the hot summer heat. Zoysia is perennial and is maintained year after year when grown in appropriate climates. In Spain, it adapts perfectly to the warm climate of the south and the Mediterranean and gives good results in transition zones, provided that there are no very strong or persistent frosts. Its great tolerance to heat and moderate resistance to cold allow Zoysia to be planted where another cespitose fails.

How to plant Zoysia

As with other types of grass, there are two ways to get the floor upholstered in green. The most common and also the most economical is to do it by sowing the seeds and wait for the plant to germinate, grow and spread. There is a second option, every day more popular, which is to do it with tepes or bread. Bread are pieces of grass that are already grown and bought in square pieces or rolls, as if it were a carpet, and spread over the earth. This option is ideal for those in a hurry and no problem with making the timely disbursement, as it is much more expensive.

Sow Zoysia seeds

Zoysia japonica is the only variety that can be found available in seeds. Other varieties, such as centifolia, only by division of rhizomes or tepes.

Zoysia japan seeds need a minimum temperature of 18ºC in the soil to germinate and lose color below 10ºC. It is advisable to do it at the end of spring when the soil temperature is around 20ºC. If you read the article in which we talked about the grass, you will know that this type of grass should be sown in good weather. With cold, it goes into dormancy and if it does when it is germinating it can spoil. Zoysia germinates and grows more slowly than other herbs, it takes almost a month to germinate with temperatures above 20ºC. For that reason many choose to install tepes or bread, a much faster alternative to obtain a green meadow of Zoysia japonica in a short time; but also much more expensive.

Plant Zoysia in tepes

In tepes, you can find other varieties of zoysia, such as Zoysia centifolia or material.

The tepes are carpets of pre-cultivated grass and its advantage is that the grass is extended in the ground immediately and definitively. Planting Zoysia japonica in tepes can be done at any time of the year, but it is always advisable to do so when temperatures are not too cold to allow time for plants to acclimatize well to their new location. 

Drought tolerance of Zoysia japonica

Zoysia can be well maintained with little water, but as long as it is well established. The newly planted or newly sown Zoysia should be watered daily the first year during the warm seasons: spring, summer, and autumn. In winter you can water somewhat less, depending on whether or not in dormancy. After the first year, the grass will already be taking root and the irrigation frequency can be lowered gradually. The minimum frequency of irrigation will vary from the climate of the place, the type of soil and the time of the year. But in the middle of summer, you can endure with only one irrigation a week or even less.

Symptoms of excess or lack of water in Zoysiagrass

  • When Zoysia lacks water, the leaves become thinner, twisted and with a straw appearance. 
  • Zoysia is a slow-growing lawn. If you have too much watering, we will notice it because you have to mow very often.

Zoysia lawn maintenance 

The Zoysia grass is established more slowly than other varieties of grass but forms a very dense carpet on the ground. It spreads through stems on the ground called stolons and underground stems called rhizomes, weaving a fabric so dense that few weeds manage to thrive among the established Japan Zoysia.

As with all gramas, the color of the Zoysia during the growing season is intermediate green and turns yellowish or brown when it enters winter latency. Even so, it stays green much longer than the others. In spring it is one of the first herbs to green.

The root system of Zoysia is deep, a characteristic that allows it to find moisture and resist drought. For short periods without water, the grass stays green. If the lack of moisture and heat persist, Zoysia becomes brown and straw, but it recovers when the irrigation is resumed. Zoysia likes to grow in full sun, but tolerates light shade, unlike other weeds that only grow in the sun.

Zoysia care

Due to the dense growth habit of the Zoysia, the grass tends to develop a lot of feeling, that layer of thick organic matter that accumulates between the grass plants and the soil. Aeration and scarification of Zoysia grass should be done in early spring, just before returning to the growing period. In this way, the grass recovers to the maximum in the shortest time.

Zoysia lawns have enough water to grow well with weekly watering. It is convenient that this irrigation is deep to stimulate root growth in-depth, which makes them resistant to drought. In sandy soils (they retain little water) some extra watering may be necessary during the summer. Zoysia is a slow-growing herb and does not need very frequent cuts, it is recommended to cut when necessary to maintain a height between 2.5 and 4 cm.

Pay the Zoysia

Zoysia japonica is not very demanding in terms of soil and grows well in soils where other types of grass would need more nutrients. Zoysia will usually suffice with a fertilizer application in spring and autumn. Soil pH should be between 5 and 7 to optimize nutrient availability. If the soil is too acidic it will be necessary to make an alkaline amendment, if it has a lot of lime we will have to rectify with iron sulfate and contributions of organic matter.

I hope you find this information useful. If you want for your garden a green meadow of drought-resistant, low-maintenance and drought-tolerant grass, the Zoysia japan is a good choice.

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