Zoysia turf species were introduced into the United States from Asia and provide attractive turf throughout much of the United States.
In recent years, dramatic improvements in Zoysia have been made by turf grass breeders. These improvements include insect resistance, accelerated establishment, and overall performance. Zoysia has been bred to adapt to a variety of soil types and have good tolerance to shade, salt, and traffic. They provide an extremely dense sod that resist weed invasion, that certain pest can be problematic. Zoysia maintenance is very different from other Florida lawn grasses. When improper maintenance practices are followed, undesirable results are likely to occur.
Empire Zoysia is one of the most popular Zoysia turf species in our area. It has a very dense growth habit and maintains a nice green color throughout the year. Empire has performed well in sandy and clay soil types with aggressive growth from it stolons and rhizomes.
Proper fertilization is very important for sustaining a healthy lawn. Empire Zoysia responds better to a “spoon-feeding” fertilizer regimen (smaller quantities applied more frequently) rather than supplying large quantities infrequently. Avoid apply nitrogen fertilizer simply to promote green color. Instead, monitor growth and apply only when the growth rate has dramatically declined. Potassium nutrition also is important and should be applied at rates equal to nitrogen. During excessively rainy periods, potassium may need to be applied more frequently due to its leaching ability.
Establishment of Zoysiagrass is through sodding. Sodding is recommended as it will reduce potential weed competition. It is important to keep in mind that new sod is still very vulnerable and is not yet safe for play, traffic, or other activities. It is quite dependent until the roots of developed an extended down into the soil. Sod should be laid over bare soil that is amended with weed free seed compost.
The amended soil should be moist with the pieces of sod laid in a staggered brick like Patton and edges fitted tightly together to avoid open cracks. Rolling and watering thoroughly ensures good contact with the soil for fast routing. Solid areas should be watered at least twice per day with a quarter inch of water until the sod is held fast to the soil by new roots (usually 2 to 3 weeks), after which watering should be reduced to an as needed basis.
Nutrient management is critical for sustaining a healthy lawn. Fertilization and other cultural practices influence the overall health and quality of the lawn and reduces vulnerable to numerous stresses, including weeds, insects, and disease. It is very important that anyone fertilizing the lawn be familiar with and follow the Florida Friendly Landscaping™ Best Management Practices (BMPs).