Answer: I feel sorry for your zoysia plugs! Soil that's compacted is difficult for plant roots; instead of growing down into the soil, the soil is actually pushing them up. Preparing the soil prior to plugging (or seeding) is really important. Since it is a small area, I'd suggest you remove the plugs, amend the soil, then replant. Start by digging the plugs and popping them into a bucket or wheelbarrow with some water in the bottom (to keep the roots from drying out). Keep the container out of the sunshine while you work the soil. Next, spread a 4-5" layer of organic matter over the top of the soil and dig (or rototill) it in to a depth of about 8". Level the area and then replant the plugs. Water the area thoroughly after replanting, and regularly if rainfall is sparse. Once the roots get into that loose, rich soil, they'll really take off and fill in the area.
Best wishes with your lawn!
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