Zoysiagrass were introduced into the United States from Asia and provide attractive turf throughout much of the United States. In recent years, dramatic improvements in Zoysiagrass have been made by turf grass breeders. These improvements include insect resistance, accelerated establishment, and overall performance.
Zoysiagrasses are sod-farming perennial species that possess both stolons and rhizomes. The grasses turn brown after the first hard frost and are among the first warm season grasses to green up in the spring. The species vary from extremely fine textured to course textured types and the leaf blades are very stiff due to high silica content.
A highly versatile species, zoysiagrasses are more ideal lawn grasses in some situations and can be used on golf courses, parks and athletics fields. They can be grown in all kinds of soil ranging from sands to clays and both acid and alkaline in reaction.
In the southern U.S. the zoysiagrasses grow well in moderately shaded locations.
Zoysiagrass is extremely drought tolerant. Although it does turn straw colored under severe drought conditions, it has the capacity to respond to subsequent irrigation or rainfall. Its water requirements similar to those of Bermuda grass. The leaf blades of Zoyiagrass are among the first to roll under drought conditions, Thus it tends to conserve moisture more effectively than other species. Zoysiagrass also has a deep root system allowing it to more effectively extract water from greater soil depths.
Zoysiagrass is nearly as salt tolerant as Bermuda grass. It is widely grown along sandy seashores where drainage is adequate. Zoysiagrass does not tolerate poorly drained soils whether they are saline or otherwise.
Zoysiagrasses are among the most wear tolerant turfgrasses. However, their slow rate of growth gives them very poor recuperative potential. Therefore, they perform satisfactorily on lawns, golf courses fairways and baseball fields. But, they are not recommended for football or soccer fields where traffic is concentrated in certain areas of the field. If the grass is completed worn in those areas, Zoysiagrass is very slow to fill in the damage areas.
There are three principal species of zoysiagrass used for turf: zoyia japoniea, zoyia matrella, and zoysia tenufolia. These species are differentiated by texture, cold tolerance and aggressiveness.
Empire is an improved zoysia japonica, very dense growth habits, performs well in sandy and clay soils, can be mowed with a standard rotary lawn mower, and does not do well in shaded areas.
Emerald Zoysiagrass is a selected hybrid between zoysia japonica and zoysia tenuifolia developed in Tifton, Georgia and released in 1955.
Pristine Flora is a zoysia matrella cultivar released by the University of Florida. It is recommended for use in high-maintenance situtions, including high-end home lawns.
El Toro is an improved zoysia japonica released in 1986 from California. “El Toro” is reported to have early spring greenup, more shade tolerance, better cold tolerance and improved resistance to rust diseases.
Untimate Fora is a zoysia japonica developed by the University of Florida. It has similar leaf texture and upright growth habits to Meyers but it has a faster rate of speed and better adoptability for use in Florida.
Zoysiagrasses can be established from seed, sprigs, plugs or sod. Zoysia Japonica is the only species that can be established from seed. Most of the Zoysia grass lawn that has been established in Gulf County has been done by sodding methods. The seeded should be finely pulverized, smooth, firm and weed-free prior to planting.
Fertilization and other cultural practices influence the overall health and quality of the lawn and reduced its vulnerability to numerous stresses, including weeds, insects and diseases.
For additional information on maintaining your Zoysia grass lawn, please contact your local county Extension Service at 639-3200.
Other Sources of information are:
ENH979, Homeowners Best Management Practices
For Home Lawn (http://edis.Ifas.ufl.edu/es236.Edis-ENH11