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 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 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 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.
Comes in various sizes
Not suited for Midwestern lawns
Best for Warm Season: Water Saver Lawn Seed Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue and RFT
99 percent weed-free
Speaking of weed growth, you may want to get grass seed that specifically indicates it’s a weed-free (or 99 percent weed-free) formula. Additionally, some seeds are individually coated with a special substance that makes them more absorbent (meaning they don’t need to be watered as often) and resistant to disease.
Great for spot treatments or larger areas
Perennial ryegrass flourishes in full Midwestern sun, but tolerates light shade in this central climate. Valued for versatility, fast germination and easy establishment, cool-season perennial ryegrass forms a lush, finely textured, deep-green lawn. That color stays with ryegrass into winter, and returns quickly in spring. During periods of drought, perennial ryegrass does require additional watering or it may lose color or go dormant.
The Midwest heartland is a cool-season growing region with humidity levels that vary. The Midwest’s eastern states experience humidity similar to the Northeast, but in western states encounter arid conditions. Seasonal fluctuations across the region demand grasses that thrive in cool climates. Bluegrasses dominate, but ryegrasses and fescues also do well with sufficient irrigation in the region’s more arid western portions. Some Turf-Type Tall Fescues do well under droughty conditions. Water Star Qualified Grass Seed by Pennington delivers water-conserving benefits, proven through stringent testing by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance.
Like the Midwest, the West/Northwest region presents diverse growing conditions. Cool, arid inland areas from Montana and Wyoming westward welcome cool-season grasses when adequately irrigated. In this area, east of the Cascade Mountain Range extending from Washington to Northern California, bluegrasses and tall fescues are preferred. West of the Cascades, cool temperatures and the humidity of the coastal Pacific Northwest create conditions similar to the Northeast. This wet, cool climate demands grasses resistant to lawn diseases the conditions encourage.
Pennington, Smart Seed, and Water Star are registered trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc. Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance is a registered trademark of Nexgen Turf Research, LLC.
Kentucky bluegrass spreads aggressively, but its root system remains relatively shallow compared to many other grasses. The luxuriant color of this sun-loving grass depends on supplemental watering during periods of limited precipitation and high heat. Drought induces dormancy in Kentucky bluegrass, but the grass rebounds strong with watering. Though some are slow to green in spring, Kentucky bluegrass blends well with ryegrass for faster greening. However, perennial ryegrasses can sometimes overtake Kentucky bluegrass, so minimize mixing.