Zoysia is a warm-season grass. Around here, in the Midwest, zoysia grass is a popular choice at golf courses, but not so much for homeowners. However, there are most definitely pros and cons of zoysia grass. The final decision ultimately comes down to what you personally value and strive for from your home lawn.
The Bad: While zoysia grass boasts a few attributes, there are many downsides. One drawback is that zoysia will not stay green year-round. zoysia grass will look its best for about three months of the year. Zoysia lawns lose the desired green hue around mid-autumn. Often, the lawn will stay brown well into Spring, which is a deal breaker for some. So, if year-round color is a must for you, you may want to think twice before choosing zoysia grass. Zoysia will not tolerate heavy traffic during these dormant periods. Another negative is the very poor shade tolerance under trees. Yards with sun and shade areas would require shade beds under trees or choosing a different type of grass seed to grow in shade.
The Good: The one major appeal is that it is fairly low maintenance. Zoysia grass also makes for a durable lawn as it is resistant to weeds, insects, and diseases that would be bad news for other types of grass. Zoysia is an extremely aggressive spreading grass that can literally choke out weeds. Zoysia is pleasant on the eyes and feet. It tends to have a soft, fine texture and is naturally low-growing.
The Ugly: The aggressive nature of zoysia can also be labeled invasive. Be prepared to deal with picky neighbors, should your zoysia lawn spread into their property. Zoysia grass is also prone to thatch problems, therefore routine annual de-thatching and aerification are required. Here in the Midwest, zoysia seed has a difficult time establishing because of our cool soil temperatures. Thus, most people who choose zoysia grass must plant it in plugs or sod during the summer months. This can get pricey. And lastly, zoysia grass sometimes takes two to three years to fill out and reach the desired density. It may be low maintenance, but if immediate results are what you want, zoysia grass may not be for you.
When deciding which grass seed is best for your lawn, it’s crucial to consider several important factors, including climate, maintenance, and sun requirements. Check below for some of the elements you should consider when purchasing grass seed.
With enough determination and money, you can grow most of the above grass seeds just about anywhere in the country. It’s not uncommon to see beautiful Kentucky bluegrass lawns in the baking heat of the Southwest. But going against climate guidelines will make the job a lot harder and more expensive, requiring significant investments in irrigation systems, water, and fertilizers. Paying attention to climate will make establishing a lawn much more manageable. Consider where you live and what grass types will thrive in your region with minimal maintenance and watering.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed
While some property owners enjoy fussing over their lawns, many homeowners dread long hours spent maintaining a yard. Consider which grass types require the least amount of care and how much work you’re willing to put into a lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, requires annual dethatching, while perennial ryegrass will not self-repair and requires patching. Bermuda grass, in comparison, requires very little maintenance.
How you go about reseeding a lawn versus planting a new lawn is quite different. When seeding a new lawn, you’ll be applying seed to the bare dirt you’ve prepared for new planting. For reseeding, you’ll be attempting to thicken an already existing lawn. With that in mind, you typically need about twice as much seed to start a new lawn as you need to reseed an existing lawn.
Despite your best efforts to prepare your yard for seeding, some seeds simply weren’t meant to become plants. This is where germination percentage comes into play. Germination percentage is a measure of the viability of a collection of seeds. It is calculated by dividing the number of seeds that germinate by the total number of seeds. Given how much grass seed can cost, the higher the germination percentage, the better, and it mostly relates to seed quality. Although you might be tempted to buy a cheaper bag of grass seed, chances are it will have a lower germination percentage, resulting in significant waste. High-quality grass seed has a 90 to 95 percent germination rate, making it worth the additional investment.
Lawn aeration relieves compaction in your lawn and allows room for roots to spread and grow in the soil. Core aeration removes small plugs of soil from your lawn. When the holes are in the ground from aeration, it is the perfect time to seed. The seeds with be able to make contact with the soil much easier when the lawn is punctured and cored. If you are seeding your lawn because of bare spots, know that bare spots are a symptom of a compacted lawn so aeration will be beneficial to keep it healthy and avoid future bare spots. Some other symptoms of a compacted lawn are puddles and pooling in the yard and dry brownish lawns. You should aerate your lawn at least once a year to help make your lawn greener and healthier.
Bare spots in your lawn got you down? Are you creating a new lawn? Either way, you’ll need some advice on the best grass seed! The best grass seed for cool season grasses used in Ohio lawns are Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue grass. Cool season grasses grow best between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, making the spring a good time to start taking care of all of those brown spots on your lawn. Both are great grasses, but there are a few differences in them that one person or homeowner may prefer over the other. Read up on Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue to see if they seem like they are the best grass seed for your lawn.
There are some treatments that will help your new grass thrive. Be sure to do some of the following treatments on your lawn.
Fertilizer provides your lawn with vital nutrients that may not be provided through your soil naturally. In order to most effectively add nutrients to your lawn, you or your lawn fertilizing company should take a sample of your soil and test it to see which nutrients occur naturally in the soil. Using this information, the lawn company should be able to give your lawn the lacking nutrients. Early spring fertilizing is something we want to do with our cool season grasses. It is best to get a few fertilizing treatments in before it gets too hot outside because fertilizer does not work well with high heat. A really great time to fertilize is right after your lawn has been aerated. The cored soil will be able to absorb the nutrients very well.
Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the best grass seeds. It is a cool season grass popularly used in Ohio. Fun Fact – this grass originated from Europe and Northern Asia! Kentucky Bluegrass grows vigorously when it is cooler outside in the spring and fall. In the summer heat, the grass grows very slow. This cold seasonal grass has shallow roots, which makes the grass not very drought resistant because it cannot hold a lot of water. This makes the grass have a lower tolerance for heat as well. When Kentucky Bluegrass is healthy, it grows beautifully with an emerald green color that has a hint of blue in the lawn. If you have a lawn with Kentucky Bluegrass, it is important to make sure you water your lawn regularly to keep it green and healthy because it cannot store as much water in its roots as fescue or other cool season grasses. The seeds in the Kentucky Bluegrass spread quite well, making it easy to repair damage and grow a thick lush lawn.
When you have decided on the best grass seed and go to purchase the bags for your lawn, there are a few things you should know. With whatever grass seed you decide to buy, pick out a 75/25 mixture with 25 percent annual rye. The annual rye will not grow back after the first year, but it will cause the perennial grass to sprout and grow strong from the seed. The rye germinates faster than the other seeds, making the rye able to protect and shade the growing grass. The harsh rain storms can wash away the seeds if there is not annual rye to protect it. Imagine doing all of the hard work of seeding for nothing!
Tall Fescue grass is another one of the best grass seeds for cool season grass. It is abundant in the Ohio area. This grass is very resilient and it thrives in the spring, summer, and fall. It can withstand the harsh cold of the winter which sounds perfect for our crazy Ohio seasonal weather. The root system grows deep into the ground, 2 to 3 feet, making it drought resistant and able to endure the high heat of the late summer, unlike the Kentucky Bluegrass. Tall Fescue grass absorbs much more water than most other cool season grasses because of its deep roots. In fact, your lawn may require 30 percent less water per year to stay hydrated and healthy than other grasses.