Types of Zoysia Grass

Types of Zoysia Grass Every Gardener Would Want to Know About

Zoysia grass is not known as the 'supergrass' for nothing! It is a popular lawn grass preferred across the United States because of its many characteristic features. In this article, we shall have a look at the many varieties of zoysia grass and also learn a little about its maintenance.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
Zoysia grass was first brought to the U.S. in 1911 from the Philippines, and the name of the species was Zoysia matrella. Native to parts of Southeast Asia that have a tropical climate, the zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that cannot withstand very low temperatures. If the region you live in has a tropical or sub-tropical climate, then zoysia grass is the ideal grass for your lawns. Now, if you've wondered what makes the zoysia grass the recommended lawn grass by experts, then you'd be glad to know that this grass has many advantages indeed. Not only does the lush texture of zoysia grass make your lawn or garden look beautiful, it also needs little to no maintenance! What's more, these grasses do not require fertilized soil to grow, but can thrive on poor soil. However, note that these grasses may not grow well under certain climatic conditions, which makes it essential that you do a little research before planting these grasses on your lawn or garden.
Different Kinds of Zoysia Grass
There are many species of zoysia grass and all of them are native to Asia. In the southern regions of the United States, where the climate is relatively warm, zoysia grass can serve as good lawn grass, as well as planted on golf-course fairways. It is one of the most durable types of lawn grasses. If you visit a nursery to get zoysia grass for your lawn, you'll see that this grass is sold in three different forms: a sod, a net or a plug grid. The zoysia grass spreads horizontally and has underground stems known as rhizomes. Also, adjacent grasses are connected by stolons that are horizontal stems running just above the ground surface. This grass grows best during the summer months of June, July, and August. Not only is the zoysia grass low-maintenance, but also highly resistant to diseases. However, zoysia grass has one minor drawback: the grass loses its lush green color in winter, and turns a dull shade of brown till it regains its color with the advent of spring. Although many species of zoysia grasses are grown all over the U.S. there are three main types. Here you'll find a little about the three types of zoysia grass.
Korean Lawn Grass (Zoysia japonica)
The Korean lawn grass is also sometimes referred to as Japanese lawn grass, and is native to the Manchurian province in China. This variety of zoysia grass is perennial and has a coarse texture. The blades of the grass are covered with fine hair, and are light green in color. The Korean lawn grass can grow up to 12 inches in length, but is slow-growing with stiff leaves. It is drought-resistant and can withstand high temperatures. During the winter months when the temperature drops below 50° F, this grass loses its lush green color and turns to a light shade of brown. However, with the advent of spring, the grass regains its original color. This species of zoysia grass requires an adequate amount of sunlight for normal growth, but can survive even in shade. This variety grows best in well-drained soil that has a neutral pH. It is the only species of zoysia grass that can be grown from seeds. However, the Korean lawn grass is prone to infestations from billbugs and nematodes.
Manila Grass (Zoysia matrella)
This was the first species of zoysia grass to be brought into the U.S. Native to the Philippines, Manila grass grows well in areas that receives moderate sunlight. The blades of the Manila grass are narrower than those of the Korean lawn grass, and are long, stiff, and covered with fine hair. Just like the other species of zoysia, the Manila grass turns brown in color during the winter months when the temperatures are very low, and regains its green color in spring. The other names for the Manila grass are Mascarene grass and Siglap grass. This type of zoysia grass grows up to 13 inches in length, and the leaves are not as coarse as that of the Korean lawn grass. A characteristic feature of Manila grass is that it can grow well even in sandy soil, where other species of zoysia grass cannot. Although this type of grass grows slowly as a seedling, it develops stolons and spreads rapidly after a period of 5-7 weeks. The Manila grass is grown from sprigs, and is sometimes called the Matrella grass. Just like the Korean lawn grass, it too is susceptible to nematode infestations.
Mascarene Grass (Zoysia tenuifolia)
The third type of zoysia grass that we shall discuss in detail is the Mascarene grass, which is otherwise known as the Korean velvetgrass. Like all other species of zoysia grass, the Mascarene grass is native to the continent of Asia, and was first brought to the U.S. from the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean. This variety grows to a maximum height of 6 inches. Its color is dark green and the blades are not as coarse as those of the Manila grass or the Korean lawn grass. One advantage of the Mascarene grass is that it can grow well even in shade, as it does not require direct sunlight. Since this type of zoysia grass is relatively slow-growing and hardly grows very high, it does not require mowing. The Mascarene grass is fairly resistant to drought, but is unable to withstand very low temperatures. Also, build-up of excessive thatch is a problem with this species of zoysia grass. The Mascarene grass is an ornamental grass and is ideal for lawns and as a groundcover for gardens.
In addition to the three main varieties of zoysia grass mentioned above, there are a few more varieties as well. The names of these are as under.
  • Emerald Zoysia: It is a hybrid between Zoysia japonica and Zoysia tenuifolia. Emerald zoysia forms a dense turf and has a fine texture.
  • Meyer Zoysia: A hybrid variety of Zoysia japonica, it is dark green in color. Of all the varieties of zoysia grass, it has the maximum resistance to low temperatures.
  • Cashmere Zoysia: This type is similar to Emerald in color, density, and texture.
  • Empire Zoysia: This type of zoysia grass is native to Brazil.
  • Belaire Zoysia: The Belaire zoysia is an improved variety of Zoysia japonica, and is fairly resistant to low temperatures.
  • El Toro Zoysia: Similar to Meyer zoysia in appearance, this is an improved variety of Zoysia japonica.
  • Zenith Zoysia: This variety is similar to Meyer zoysia in appearance, but has a very low resistance to cold climate.
Irrespective of the variety, zoysia grass needs some basic maintenance. Mowing, watering, fertilization, liming, and controlling thatch and weed, are the essential steps in maintaining the grass and ensuring its proper growth. Liming is the process of adding limestone to the soil to regulate its pH, which should ideally be between 6 and 7 pH. Also, pest control might be necessary from time to time to prevent damage from nematode infestations.
One of the biggest advantages of planting zoysia grass on your lawn, is the ability of this grass to effectively withstand long spells of drought, by becoming dormant when there's scarcity of water. So, if you have been looking for a suitable grass for your lawn, you can choose one from the many varieties of zoysia grass.