The Q&A Archives: Problems with Zoysia grass

Question: I put down Zoysia sod 2 years ago and I keep having a lot of problems like bare spots and thinning areas. We've tried aerating, fertilizing and other things but nothing works. Could there be too much shade or too much sun?
Please help!!

Answer: The Editors of National Gardening Magazine have co-authored a book with Lance Walheim called "Lawns for Dummies", where I got most of the information I'm offering you now. I'm sure you'd find it helpful. For more details on the book and where to find it, check out First, some facts about Zoisia Grass and proper maintenance. It can take zoysia plugs two years to fill in your lawn; it's the first turf to turn brown and very slow to green up in spring (or as long as the temps remain less than 60F). Hopefully yours is Meyers Z52 which is one of the newer, quick-growing zoysia varieties that will green up faster in spring. Once established, zoysia is very drought-tolerant. Here's how to care for it: plant sod or 2" plugs 6" apart in full sun or partial shade. Watering is tricky, because you don't want the soil to dry out, but you'll need to adjust your sprinkler to provide small drops, or the water will erode soil between the plugs. Fertilize 3-4 weeks after plugging. In general, fertilize with 3-4 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft per year. Apply no more than 1 lb at a time - space your feedings 2-3 weeks apart, starting in late spring. Mow 1-2" high - it's hard to mow if you let it grow higher. Once zoysia is established, you can water less often. I hope this helps you create the lawn you dream of!

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