Zoysia Grass: The Lawn of the Future
My friends at True Blue Turf keep telling me that this zoysia grass is all the new rage. Are they only telling me this because it's the main product they sell or are there reasons why they can be so confident in their lawn of choice?
With so much pressure on water resources the race is on to find suitable alternative grasses to the ones we've always grown. Grasses like couches and kikuyu which demand great amounts of water to look good are falling to the wayside while drought-tolerant varieties such as soft-leaf buffalo's and zoysia's are becoming more popular.
Most of the US zoysia grasses have originated from the Asian regions of Korea, the Philippines and Japan while the varieties now grown in Australia (such as Empire and Empress) have come from Brazil. As a lawn they're perfect because they grow well in any setting, even under shaded areas, and they are also slow growing. Therefore they require less maintenance than other warm-season grasses.
The difference between the new buffalo's (Sir Walter and Palmeto are the popular varieties) and these new generation zoysia grasses is that buffalo grows by runners while zoysia grasses are grown from sods and are a rhizomous species of grass.
Advantages of Zoysia Grasses
- Extremely drought tolerant. Zoysia's can live purely on annual rainfall in most temperate zones and if they don't receive enough water will turn brown but won't die. As soon as they start receiving water again zoysia grasses will green up almost immediately.
- Zoysia's grow well in almost any soil type and at varying levels of pH. They have a great tolerance for high salt levels lending themselves well to being grown in coastal areas.
- Due to their slow growing habit zoysia grasses require less nitrogen and mowing than most other grasses.
Disadvantages of Zoysia Grasses
- Zoysia's due to their growing characteristics can easily thatch and create problems for your lawn. You may need to dethatch your zoysia lawn every couple of years and regularly aerate it. This isn't a difficult operation and may require only using your garden fork every spring.
- It's a slow growing grass and can take more than one season to cover the area as a full lawn. This is the reason why it may cost more to purchase as roll-on than kikuyu or couch lawns. If you plan to buy it just as plugs then consider buying more than the recommended amount per square metre so that it fills quicker.
Zoysia grasses will also take longer to recover from problems due to their slow growth.
- This type of lawn may also create a few problems when it comes to mowing as the leaf blades are more rigid than other types of grasses. The grass blades are more prone to sit below the mower blades and resist being clipped.