Zoysia Grass, Zoysia: “Fairway Favorite”
Zoysia did not become a favorite turf for golf courses by accident. This sturdy, creeping grass is drought tolerant, will control erosion on slopes, and grows thickly enough to prevent weeds from taking hold. Enough to make you wonder why everyone doesn’t have a fairway for a front lawn, isn’t it?
Not so fast. Zoysia has its drawbacks too, the most glaring being that the perennial grass goes dormant in cool weather (in autumn, your grass could turn brown pretty fast after temperatures dip). So while zoysia will survive in USDA growing zones 5 to 11, it’s actually an ideal choice only in warmer states (think: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and other southern climes where temperatures of 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit are common during several months of the year).
Is zoysia a good lawn alternative to try in your landscape? Read on for the pros and cons:
Native to warmer climates—zoysia is a favorite turf grass in Australia, where its low-water personality is particularly prized—zoysia is particularly happy in tropical settings. Among the most widely planted species is Zoysia japonica, which is shade tolerant and has coarse blades. Slow-growing Zoysia matrella, which has slender blades, has a prostrate growing habit and is native to Manila.
Some varieties of zoysia grow in clumps: look for plants or seeds labeled Zoysia tenuifolia. “Due to its slow growth habit and its puffy appearance, it is usually used as an ornamental specimen plant in Asian themed gardens,” notes Clemson University Cooperative Extension.
Keep It Alive
Read more growing tips in Zoysia: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design in our curated Garden Design 101 guides to Grasses 101. For more of our favorite turf grasses and lawn alternatives, see: