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Zoysia Grass needs HELP!

I had my zoysia sod laid roughly 2 yrs ago.  When they installed it, they really didn't give me any info on taking car of it.  Since then, I have TONS of weeds, bare spots and very little grass in the shady areas. My full sun area is very thick, however its too thick in certain spots. =(  Everytime I go into Home Depots garden center for help, I get different answers from different people....I'm so confused!  Also,  does the irrigation heads have to be a certain hight?  Please help!!!

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Posted 2012-03-11T17:04:00+0000  by jjramirez4 jjramirez4

Hi JJ,


Aerating the lawn is always beneficial when the grass is growing. Zoysia should not be aerated in the fall because it goes dormant. Spring aerating is best. Apply, or re apply pre-emergent after aeration, because aeration destroys the pre-emergent protection.


Simply aerating will not eliminate "lumpy areas" though. Determine why it is lumpy and correct them accordingly by removing rocks or whatever it is making the lumps. The zoysia can be temporarily sliced away while the soil underneath is amended, and then replaced back into its original position.


Zoysia is not prone to insect damage. Those beetles are probably kudzu bugs. They are the same shape as lady bugs, but kudzu bugs are solid brown in color. There are thousands of them on my house at this time, making me hesitate to open my windows in this perfect weather.


Any liquid insect spray available at The Home Depot will be affective against these bugs. I have not seen any lawn damage from kudzu bugs, although there is some discussion on commercial crop damage(not lawn), due to their extreme population. Liquid sprays will be most effective because the bugs tend to dwell above the ground, where powder and granular insecticides settle.


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Hook these products to a garden hose and spray. The concentrates can also be mixed in a pump sprayer for more controlled application around doors and windows.



Best Answer

Posted 2012-03-16T13:08:29+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Hey jjramirez4. Ken here in the Chicago area. Welcome to the forum.

Being from the northern half of the country, zoysia grass doesn’t grow here.

But I’ve found a great website on maintaining zoysia grass. It also has a link to

a maintenance calendar. As far as the irrigation head height is concerned, whether

you have fixed or pop-up, the top of the head should be at soil level, below mower

height. I going to alert my cohorts in Atlanta to follow up on this for me to answer

your thickness problem and any other questions you might have. Good luck and take care.

Posted 2012-03-12T20:09:52+0000  by Ken_HD_CHI

Hi J.J.,


I'm Travis from The Home Depot in Atlanta.


Zoysia grass is one of the easiest grasses to maintain. As long as there is enough direct sun exposure (5 hours or more), it will thrive. Areas that receive less than 5 to 6 hours of sun will see competition between the zoysia and seasonal weeds. This is probably why the weeds have been able to establish.


The growth habit of zoysia is so thick, it will choke out most weeds. The grass will grow and spread to thicken. It does not appear to grow tall, so zoysia's mowing requirements are often neglected. Weekly mowing will help keep the weeds in check and prevent the grass from becoming tough. As the Zoysia leaf matures, it will become thick and tough, making it more difficult to mow. Weekly mowing cuts the grass before the leaf thickens.


Zoysia will grow where the sun shines and stop growing where the shade becomes dense. This natural selection is difficult to overcome and is probably the reason mulch islands were adopted. Weed control is easy in mulch beds with the use of Round-Up and other non selective weed killers. IMAGE is a selective herbicide for use in established Bermuda, Centipede, Buffalograss and Zoysia grass. IMAGE kills nutsedge, grassy weeds, such as fescue and rye and several broad leaf weeds in your lawn. Here a link to help you find these products.


Zoysia grows best at one to two inches tall. This is low enough to keep weeds in check while being thick enough to hide the sprinkler heads. The height of the heads is not a critical matter. All that matters is that the lawn gets an even amount of water.  Feed the lawn when it becomes 50% green with a fertilizer/ pre-emergent combination to prevent the weeds from returning.


Keep it simple:

Mow the lawn weekly during the growing season.

Feed the lawn in the Spring by applying fertilizer that contains pre-emergent.

Eliminate existing weeds with post emergent herbicides, such as IMAGE.

Keep the lawn hydrated by applying 2" of water in the dry season.

Feed the lawn in September with the same pre-emergent fertilizer as in Spring.

Apply pre-emergent in January that has no nitrogen to continue your weed prevention.


Pre-emergent is seasonally available both with, and without nitrogen fertilizer. Apply nitrogen to grass only during the active growing season(while the grass is green). Pre-emergent without nitrogen should be applied during the dormant season.


These guidelines will apply to Zoysia, Bermuda, Buffalograss and Centipede lawns. These lawns do not require overseeding and are approved for the application of IMAGE Nutsedge Killer.





Posted 2012-03-13T18:55:08+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL
Thank you! =)
Posted 2012-03-14T14:17:31+0000  by jjramirez4

Okay...thank you. The front of the house where it gets full sun is definitely thicker than the sides where there is some weeds present there, just some lumpy areas.  Someone suggested I aerate that area?    Yesterday while gardening I found some little light brown flying bugs. =(  I looked up cinch bugs and they dont have the red marking on them...but could they be in the same family?  I guess I'm asking you to recommend a bug killer also? lol... 

Thank you so much for your help! =)

Posted 2012-03-14T14:32:21+0000  by jjramirez4

Mowing your Zoysia grass is best accomplished with a reel-type mower. The action of the blades is akin to scissors, rather than a whirling piece of steel that rips the blades of grass off rather than actually cutting them. Zoysia is typically cut very short, keeping it from getting too spongy. If you find that you have some uneven spots in the ground that make mowing with a reel mower difficult, just spread some sand in those areas. The grass will grow through it and the ground will fill and firm up.


What you'll find is the longer you let the Zoysia go between mowings, the tougher it will be to cut. If you keep your grass between 1"-2" in your sunny areas (a bit longer in your shaded areas) you'll find it relatively easy to keep maintained and looking nice. The longer you let it get, the tougher the grass is and the more often you'll have to sharpen your blades. Again, this is the advantage of a reel-type mower, It will allow you to cut that shorter length and do it evenly.

Posted 2012-04-03T20:43:45+0000  by Paul





I live in Orlando, FL and have Zoysia in my yard. I had it sodded in March this year. It has developed these brown patches in the front yard. To give you a perspective, my house faces South and therefore I have sun on the front lawn almost the entire day.

Interestingly, before I mowed the lawn, the entire lawn looked green (I couldn't spot any of the brown patches that you see in the picture). I could only see it after I mowed the lawn yesterday. I normally keep about 2.5" - 3" of mowing height on my lawn with the fear that my lawn might die if I mow it too low.

Another point that I would like to mention which may not be important, is that while mowing yesterday, my lawn mower could not keep up with the torque required to cut the grass and stalled a few times. 

Can anybody help me understand what could be possibly wrong with the lawn and how to eliminate the brown patches?


Till date, I have fertilized my lawn once in May with a starter fertilizer that had Phosphorous (N-P-K) in it.

I have also sprayed Ortho Weed B-Gone once in June on the lawn.


Thank you for your help in advance.

Posted 2012-07-26T21:03:17+0000  by Jatpat
Simply put, your grass is too long. When you cut it back an inch or so, you've now cut off all the green growth out on the ends. The longer your zoysia gets, the spongier it gets. No matter what mower you have, you'd have to raise it way up and cut off a bit, then lower it for at least a second pass. Residential zoysia lawns should be kept around an inch, no more than 2" and even that is pushing it at 2". The lower you keep your zoysia, the healthier it will be, the better looking it will be and the easier to mower it will be.
Posted 2012-07-26T23:31:54+0000  by Paul



Thank you for the reply. Will that take care of the brown patches as well or is that due to some pest or fungus activity?



Posted 2012-07-27T19:11:21+0000  by Jatpat

Your pictures don't look like brown patch (common problem with zoysia). It looks more like a mowing issue.


Brown patch is most prevalent on zoysia which has been heavily fertilized when night temperatures are above 68 degrees and day temperatures are above 80 degrees. Dead patches of grass may start small but can grow and join together to make patches more than 3 feet apart. Sometimes, there will be a ring of brown, dead grass surrounding a patch of green grass. To control brown patch, fertilize zoysia moderately in summer and if you irrigate, do it in the very late evening or very early morning. There are lawn fungicides available to control brown patch. Read the label carefully and use the rate and timing that is indicated.


 Dollar spot occurs when nights are cool and days are warm in the spring and again in the fall. The spots of dead grass are about the size of your hand. They are very noticeable on closely mowed lawns. Look for a lesion on the grass blade, particularly on the edge of the grass blade. Sometimes these areas go all the way across the blade, causing the tip to die and to take on a straw color. The pattern and color of lesion development on the foliage is a good means of distinguishing dollar spot from brown patch. Dollar spot is associated with a lack of fertilizer and drought conditions. To control it, apply a moderate amount of fertilizer and irrigate deeply only one time per week. 


Never water in the early evening. The best time to water is in early morning. Turfgrass is much more susceptible when it has lush, green growth plus warm nighttime temperatures. Warmth at night can not be avoided but lush growth can be moderated. The second step is to water at the right time. Since brown patch needs 14-16 hours of wet leaf surface to reproduce itself, water only after the dew has dried in the morning. An alternative is to water after nightfall. Since the grass is wet with dew anyway, watering in the dark does not unnecessarily extend the wet period.


To positively identify if you have a fungus in your grass, make use of your tax dollars. Call your county Extension office and find out when you can bring in a sample of your yard. Once you've done that and know when you can drop it off, find where the live grass meets some dead grass. This is called the disease margin area. You need to cut a 4 X 4 inch square that has half dead grass and half live grass in it. Include the roots. Do not allow the sample to heat, do not allow the sample to dry out. Place in a paper bag or plastic bag which is not sealed. If you cannot bring the sample in the same day you cut it, it is best to refrigerate it.


If they tell you that you have a fungus, fungicides aren't cheap (less expensive than new sod though). Ask your Extension agent about recommended fungicides for your area and grass.


Hope this helps.

Posted 2012-07-28T19:52:52+0000  by Paul
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