5 Steps to Confidently Care For a Zoysia Lawn in Oklahoma

Brendon Willis
zoysia lawn grass

Have or Want Zoysia Grass? Here’s How To Care For A Zoysia Lawn

Zoysia grass is a great option for many homeowners. It’s a bit of a cross between the benefits of Bermuda and Fescue. However, it’s not very common in Oklahoma. It can be pretty expensive to install but has many great benefits such as sun and shade tolerance, less water use than fescue, and self-healing properties.

  1. About Zoysia
  2. Establishing a Zoysia Lawn
  3. Watering a Zoysia Lawn
  4. Properly mow a Zoysia Lawn
  5. Fertilizing a Zoysia Lawn
  6. Controlling weeds in a Zoysia Lawn

About Zoysia Grass Lawns

  • Tolerance for full sun and 50% shade
  • Spreads and thickens on it’s own
  • Very dense covering
  • Can be labor intensive to mow due to being rigid and dense
  • Medium water and fertilizer needs.
Zoysia grass looks similar to fescue except a finer blade and lighter green. This is Zoysia in a full sun area at dawn.

How to Confidently Establish a Zoysia Lawn in Oklahoma

Establishing a new zoysia lawn is relatively easy. Whether establishing a new lawn or even converting from another grass to zoysia – it can be done. Whether you plant by plugs, sprigs, or sod – zoysia can establish itself and overtake an existing lawn (in most cases) or bare ground. However, Zoysia does tend to be priced pretty high compared to other grasses.

Plugs, sprigs, or sod are most often used to establish Zoysia vegetatively. Sod can be really labor intensive and expensive.

Plugs or sprigs can be another good option. Plant plugs or sprigs with plenty of room to spread—ideally, 6-8” apart in small holes that are 2-3” in depth. Planting the plugs closer will give you a denser, fuller lawn faster but with a higher cost. Spreading them further apart results in slower fill in but can be done at a lower cost.

You can also establish a Zoysia lawn by seed though it is uncommon to find Zoysia seed for sale by reputable dealers in Oklahoma.,

How to Correctly Water a Zoysia Lawn in Oklahoma

Zoysia requires more water than Bermuda grass but less than Fescue. Watering at the right intervals and in the proper amount plays a significant role in the upkeep of this type of grass. Water a Zoysia lawn up to 5 days per week in the heat of the summer, for a weekly total of 1” of water in the soil. Watering in the morning is best for this grass type. The proper watering schedule and amount can prevent many of the common issues seen in Zoysia lawns, like fungus, discolored patches, and some pests.  

Watering is best done in a manner than makes the grass “worry” that it’s not going to get another drink because it makes the roots grow deeper. But then give it a really generous drink when you do water it as the water will travel down into the soil deep to where the deep roots survive.

Spray vs rotor sprinkler system
Spray vs rotor head

NOTE: These time are approximate and can vary greatly depending on soil type, sprinkler nozzle type, slope, wind, rain, drainage, and shade.

For sprinkler system zones with “spray” nozzles, typically watering 10 minutes as-needed in the cooler months and 10-12 minutes once every day or two in the hotter months will be adequate.

For zones with “rotor” nozzles, try 15 minutes per zone in the cooler months and 25-30 minutes per zone in the hotter months.

How to Properly Mow a Zoysia Lawn in Oklahoma

Not to short and not too long is the Goldilocks zone for Zoysia grass. The range of 1-2.5” is an optimum leaf length, allowing individual blades to be a focal point. Any shorter and you risk damaging the grass, any longer and it will become thinner as it reaches towards the sun.

How to Properly Fertilize a Zoysia Lawn in Oklahoma

Zoysia grass doesn’t require a strict fertilizing schedule like other high-maintenance grasses. Distributing a nitrogen fertilizer appropriate for Zoysia 3-4 of times per year between April and August will do the trick.

When choosing a fertilizer, make sure it’s appropriate for your lawn and that you follow the quantity instructions on the label. To get a dark green Zoysia lawn, it’s important the fertilizer includes iron.

How to Effectively Control Weeds in Zoysia Lawns in Oklahoma

The most ideal way for most people to control weeds in any lawn, including Zoysia, is to stop them before they come in. A pre-emergent herbicide is the best herbicide for this job. Applying a pre-emergent in spring and fall will help prevent both spring and summer weeds.

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