I recently received a question from a reader in Cherokee County. She and her husband had seen an advertisement for a particular zoysiagrass that promised a wonderful appearance but little maintenance. “It sounds wonderful if it really works” she said. “Can you give us any information about this type of grass?”
There is a great deal of truth in the advertisement she saw. Zoysia is indeed an excellent grass, requiring little fertilizer or pest control once it is well-established.
So why doesn’t everyone in Atlanta enjoy a zoysia lawn? Because zoysia is slower to establish than other grasses and it cannot tolerate the shady sites many of us have. The advertisement she saw offered quantities of one inch diameter zoysia plugs. It recommended that they be planted twelve inches apart. My experience with zoysia is that it spreads so slowly that it can be completely dominated by weeds while it is trying to become established. One inch plugs are very small and are difficult to keep alive once planted.
The nugget of information I pointed out to her is that the advertised zoysia is exactly the same as the ‘Meyer’ zoysia available from any local nursery in late spring. If she wants to have a zoysia lawn, she can sod her lawn and have instant cover and weed control. To save money, she can plant zoysiagrass plugs – but three inch plugs cut from a fresh piece of healthy sod would be much more likely to survive than those a third as wide. In addition, planting the pieces eight inches apart in full sunshine would stimulate the plugs to grow together tightly by fall. Zoysiagrass makes a superb lawn, but buying it locally makes more sense than ordering it from afar.