Q: I am considering replacing my St. Augustinegrass with zoysiagrass. What can you tell me about the general care of this grass?
A: I understand you are frustrated with your St. Augustinegrass but there are advantages and disadvantages to all warm season grasses grown in our area. However, if you plan to replace the whole lawn with zoysiagrass it is important to have good information to ensure you make the best selection.
Zoysiagrass came to us from Asia and is often used on golf courses or sports fields. However, more varieties have been developed for the home landscape. Zoysiagrass can tolerate a wide range of soils and it has good shade, salt and traffic tolerance. It is slow growing so it does not need to be mowed often. Home lawns should be kept at heights of about 2-3 inches. The blade or leaf of the grass is generally much finer than St. Augustinegrass varieties.
Right about now you are thinking it sounds like the perfect grass but there are some disadvantages. One such disadvantage is the slow rate at which it fills in an area. This means if disease or insects destroy a patch, it may take a season or two for Zoysiagrass to completely replenish the damaged spot. Zoysiagrass also has a tendency to develop thatch, which will require removal every few years. Many varieties have high nitrogen and water requirements and therefore high maintenance needs. Some varieties are prone to nematode and disease damage. Nematodes, which are microscopic worms, are common in our sandy soils.
For a complete explanation of each of the zoysiagrass cultivars check out the University of Florida publication titled, “Zoysiagrass in Florida”: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/LH/LH01100.pdf