Best Places to Grow Zoysia Grass

When considering whether or not to grow Zoysia grass, there are two questions about location. First, in what region of the country do you live? Secondly, if growing Zoysia grass is an option for your area, how much sunlight does Zoysia grass need? Let’s take a look at the answers to these two questions.

In What Parts of the Country Does Zoysia Grass Grow Best?

Zoysia is a grass that is native to warm areas of the Far East such as the Philippines and Japan. These regions also receive more rain than most areas. Therefore, this warm season grass thrives in similar climates in the United States.

Zoysia grass grows best in the southern half of the country with warm summers and moderate winters. This grass thrives especially well where it also gets plenty of rain or is watered on a consistent basis. In southern climates, this grass will stay green a minimum of six months out of the year and often much longer before it goes dormant for the winter.

With development of new Zoysia varieties, this turf grass can now be grown further north than ever before. With the right conditions, it will do very well throughout the middle section of the country and areas of California that are not desert. It is now being grown with success in a band that stretches from southern California east to southern New England, a swath of the country that includes parts of the Southwest, the Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic states.

If you live in the Northwest, the Rocky Mountain region, the Upper Midwest or northern New England, cool season grasses are a much better choice for your lawn. See our list of Grass Guides for grasses that thrive in the North. Rye grass might be a good place to begin your search.

In What Type of Lawns Does Zoysia Grow Best?

Zoysia grass loves the sunshine but can do well in limited amounts of shade. To consider Zoysia, your lawn should be mostly open and get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. The further north this grass is grown, the more sun it requires. To help Zoysia tolerate shade better, water it more often and keep it about 1 inch longer than grass grown in full sunlight.

Stay off the shaded grass as much as possible since it won’t hold up as well to traffic. If you need to pass through that area regularly, consider an attractive path made out of stone, decorative slabs or wood chips. It will also help if you keep the shade trees pruned. Consider removing all branches up to 12 feet in order to give the Zoysia grass more sunlight early and late in the day. Finally, give shady areas only half the fertilizer you use for sunny areas.

When considering Zoysia grass varieties to use in areas that get limited shade, Emerald Zoysia is the most shade-tolerant of all the varieties. If you’ve got numerous shade trees in your lawn that are large and thick with leaves during the summer months, Zoysia probably isn’t the best choice beneath them. Consider Fescue or other shade-tolerant varieties for lawns with more shade. See our lawn care guides for additional grass types that do well in the shade.

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