The Q&A Archives: Care Of Zoysia Grass

Question: I have just completed plugging my front and back yard with Meyers Z52 Zoysia plugs from a local sod farm. The plugs provided were about 2-3 inches deep. Some of the plugs have turned brown even with watering while others have stayed green. Is there anything to be concerned about? How should I care for my Zoysia yard? I spaced the plugs out about a foot apart (about 2,500 in total). Can white grubs harm Zoysia? What about chinch bug? Fertilizing? Where can I get a complete source of information for Zoysia? Any help would be appreciated. I am tired of fighting the problems with Blue grass here in the MidWest which is why I decided to switch to Zoysia.
Chuck Luchen

Answer: Wow, you've put a lot of work into your lawn this year! I'm afraid you sort of put the cart before the horse, though, if you're just now doing research about zoysia, since it may not have been your best choice. Sorry to be so frank, but better you know ahead of time than wonder what went wrong later! I don't know what kind of trouble you had with blugrass, but you may see some of the same problems with zoysia, which is best suited for the upper South, Southern Coast and southern California. When properly maintained and kept thatched, it resists common troubles such as brown spot, dollar spot, armyworms, billbugs and sod webworms. If the sod farm where you purchased your plugs can't provide you with detailed information on care and maintenance of zoysia, your extension service (ph# ) should be able to help. 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 Meyers Z52 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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