Fertilizing Your Zoysia Grass

Fertilizing Zoysia grass is an important part of keeping it healthy and thriving throughout the growing season as well as from one year to the next. This zoysia lawn care guide gives you the details of when to feed your Zoysia turf, what you should use, and how often you should fertilize.

As your Zoysia lawn becomes fully established, you’ll learn to adjust the details provided in this guide to the specific needs of your lawn based upon your climate and the amount of rainfall or watering your lawn gets.

Fertilizing Zoysia Grass

Zoysia likes to be fed regularly, and consistent fertilizing will keep its root system healthy and resistant to disease. All the major brands make fertilizers that work well for Zoysia turf. The best fertilizers for Zoysia grass have a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium, or N, P and K.

That may sound confusing, but when you go to the store to buy fertilizer, the ratio in the different fertilizers will be clearly marked on the bag. For example, a fertilizer bag marked 12-4-8 is a 3-1-2 fertilizer as you can see when you find the lowest common denominator of the 3 numbers, which in this case is 4.

Choose a slow-release fertilizer and make your first application in the spring when the grass is 50-75% green. Drop spreaders and cyclone spreaders are equally effective in applying the fertilizer as long as they are calibrated correctly.

It is recommended that you put down the fertilizer in two applications on the same day. The second application should be at a right angle to the first one. For example, travel east-west on your first application and north-south on the second. Put down half the required fertilizer in each application. This will help prevent a streaky lawn where heavily-fertilized areas show greener than others.

Throughout the growing season, fertilizing every 6-8 weeks is recommended. Start at 7 weeks. If your lawn isn’t looking as vigorous as you’d like it too, fertilize again after 6 weeks. If thatch is developing that is more than ½” thick, a sign of too much fertilizer, then go to 8 weeks. Another option is to adjust the distribution rate on your spreader to give the lawn more or less food.

When your Zoysia grass begins to go dormant in the fall, it will start to turn brown. That’s a good time for the last fertilizer application of the year. You may want to apply a fertilizer formulated specifically for a fall application, though what you’ve been using all along with be just fine too.

Relax! All of these details and specifics may seem overwhelming. After the first season of fertilizing, you’ll feel very comfortable with the process. It will very easy and even enjoyable!

Fertilizing a Newly Established Zoysia Lawn

Zoysia grass lawns are typically planted from plugs of turf or from sprigs of the grass plant. It is rarely grown from seed, and then only in very warm, wet climates with a long growing season. The reason for this is that Zoysia grows very slowly—significantly slower than most other varieties.

If you start a Zoysia grass lawn, it will likely be from plugs or springs. Newly planted lawns need extra fertilizer in order to nurture the establishment of the root system.
Once the lawn is taking root, apply the first round of fertilizer. During the first season, feed the turf every 4 weeks instead of the 6-8 weeks which is normal for established Zoysia grass lawns.

Summary

While fertilizing your Zoysia turf is important, it isn’t as complicated in practice as it may sound. Buy a quality spreader and quality fertilizer. Follow the directions on the bag and your Zoysia grass will reward your efforts by growing green and healthy.

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