Is Zoysia for me?

Is Zoysia for Me?

Just about any grass will grow pretty much anywhere you put it, but some grasses will definitely do better than others. Temperature is the biggest factor in how well grass can grow. Grasses in cooler parts of the country perform best when temperatures are below 70-75°. They’ll grow when it’s hotter, but not as fast, and some will even go dormant if it’s hot and they don’t get enough water. Head south, and grasses like Bermuda and St. Augustine, which love long, hot summers and mild winters, are the traditional picks.

Then there’s the middle part of the country, where it’s sometimes cold enough to snow and summers can be warm but not scorching. This is what’s called the transition zone, and finding a well-adapted grass for it can be challenging. That’s where Zenith zoysiagrass comes in. Zoysia in general has proven to be a solid transition zone performer, and Zenith has been bred to be the cream of the crop (pun intended!).

For residents in the middle part of the United States, grass will grow almost anywhere you put it, but some grasses will definitely do better than others. Temperature is the biggest determinant of how well grass will grow, which is why grass is referred to as cool-season or warm-season. Their names pretty much say it all. Cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass, prefer cool temperatures. They perform best when temperatures are below 75-70 degrees. They will grow in hot climates, but they don’t grow as fast. Some cool season grasses will go dormant if they don’t get enough water when it’s hot out.

Warm-season grasses, like Bermuda and Zoysia, like things hot. Long, hot summers and mild winters are their ideal conditions. They can take humidity, but they can’t take cold temperatures. When temps drop too low, they’ll go dormant, just like cool-season grasses do when it’s too hot.

For the most part, cool-season grasses do best in parts of the U.S. that get real winters—temperatures below freezing and snow. Warm-season grasses do best almost everywhere else. But what if you live in a part of the U.S. where it’s sometimes cold enough to snow and summer might mean warm weather but not necessarily scorching temps? Then you’re in what we call the transition zone. It stretches roughly across the middle of the U.S. and it is the most challenging part of the country to live in when it comes to having a lawn. In the more northern parts of this zone, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass can grow pretty well. Go just a little bit south and warm-season grasses like Zoysia, which is considered the best-adapted warm-season grass for this region, might be your better bet.

Zenith Zoysia is a warm season grass that thrives in heat and requires ¾ less water than your cool season grasses (such as Tall Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass). This can cut your watering bill in half! It is also mowed substantially less than any other grasses because of its slower vertical growth so you cut it once every 2-3 weeks compared to once a week or more often with your other varieties. It grows very thick which chokes out unwanted weeds and crabgrass without the need for additional chemicals once established. It heals itself and can fill in open spots and when it is damaged. It thrives in full sun and when all other sod is requiring a large amount of water Zoysia is nice lush and green. Zoysia goes dormant after the first frost and comes back when the weather warms up and the soil reaches a temperature of about 50 degrees.

Zoysia vs Cool Season Grasses Planting. See our Zoysia Prep and Planting Page for more info!

Zoysia Typical Cool Season
Establishment Method Plugs Seed or Sod
Time to Full Establishment 1 year (depending on planting density) Seed: 1-2 years Sod: 2 weeks
Establishment Cost $ Seed: $$ Sod: $$$
Zoysia vs Cool Season Grasses Maintenance. See our Zoysia Maintenance Page for more info!

Zoysia Typical Cool Season
Mowing Frequency 1x per Month 1-2x per Week
Water Requirement (once established) Low Medium to High
Fertilizer Requirement Low to Medium Medium to High
Requires Overseeding No Yes
Zoysia vs Cool Season Grasses Characteristics

Zoysia Typical Cool Season
Color Deep Emerald Green Emerald Green to Dark Forest Green
Plant Density High Medium to High
Dormancy Period First frost in fall to spring Partial Dormancy During Winter