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9 Varieties of Zoysia Grass (With Pictures)

Zoysia grass

Zoysia grass is a great choice for lawns because it looks fantastic and is easy to maintain. There are also several varieties to choose from, so it’s easy to find the perfect match for your environment. Keep reading as we list several types that will work great in your yard.

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The 9 Most Common Types of Zoysia Grass

1. Empire Zoysia

Zoysia japonica (Image Credit: Raffi Kojian, Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0)
Growing Zone: 6b–11
Characteristics: Wide blade, open growth
Mow Height 1–2 inches

Empire Zoysia is a dark-green grass that has a wide blade and open growth, so you can cut it with a standard mower. It’s dormant from zones 6B to 9, requiring little maintenance, and it will grow well into zone 11, so it’s a great choice for much of the southern United States. It will also help you save water because it only requires occasional watering.


2. Innovation Zoysia

Growing Zone: 6–11
Characteristics: Thin blade, thick growth, cold hardy
Mow Height 1–2 inches

The fine researchers at Kansas State University are responsible for creating Innovation Zoysia, a variety of Zoysia grass with exceptional cold hardiness, so it can grow farther north than many other varieties. On the east coast, you can find it as far north as southern Pennsylvania and anywhere on the west coast. It has soft, dense growth, perfect for lawns, parks, and golf courses.


3. Geo Zoysia

Growing Zone: 6–11
Characteristics: Thin blade, thick growth
Mow Height .5–1.5 inches

Geo Zoysia is a dark-green variety that grows well in zones 6–11. It’s popular due to its softness, making it a great choice for lawns. The dense growth helps keep weeds at a minimum, and it’s drought tolerant, so it’s a good choice for places that don’t get much rainfall.


4. Meyer Zoysia

Growing Zone: 6–11
Characteristics: Great cold and heat tolerance
Mow Height 1.5–2.5 inches

Many people refer to Meyer Zoysia as the Cadillac of lawn grass. It adapts to many different soil types and is extremely tolerant of hot and cold temperatures. It enjoys full sun and grows best in zones 6–11. The dense growth helps prevent weeds. You will need to purchase it commercially in sod form because it is not available as a seed. It’s drought resistant but requires at least 1 inch of water per week to grow to its potential.


5. Palisades Zoysia

Growing Zone: 5–10
Characteristics: Thin leaf, medium green
Mow Height 1.5–2.5 inches

Palisades Zoysia is a light-green grass that is dense growing like most other varieties on this list, so it is naturally resistant to weeds. It’s also resistant to pests like grubs, and you can start it from seed or sod. It enjoys temperatures around 80 degrees, but you can grow it in colder zones than many other varieties. Many people choose this variety because it’s quite tolerant to different soil types, including acidic soil.


6. Zeon Zoysia

Growing Zone: 5b–11a
Characteristics: Thin leaf, medium green
Mow Height 1.5 inches

Zeon Zoysia is a popular type of lawn grass due to its extreme durability — it’s even been in the Olympics! It’s an official golf course grass in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. It has a thin leaf with a fine texture that grows slowly, so you won’t need to mow it as often as many other varieties. It has a medium-green color, and it is resistant to drought and shade. It also repairs itself quickly, and you will usually purchase it as a sod instead of seed.


7. Zorro Zoysia

Growing Zone: 7–13
Characteristics: Thin leaf, medium green
Mow Height 1–2 inches

A team from Texas A&M University created Zorro Zoysia in 2002. It is a popular choice for lawns because it maintains its deep-green color well into fall, when other grasses have turned brown. It does well in shady areas and is extremely resistant to wear, so it’s a great choice for families with children who like to play outside.


8. El Toro Zoysia

Growing Zone: 7–11
Characteristics: Medium- to coarse-textured grass, dark green
Mow Height 1.5–2.5 inches

El Toro Zoysia is a University of California creation that tolerates shade well and keeps its color into fall, so it’s a popular choice for home lawns. It’s drought resistant and requires less water than many other varieties, so it’s a great choice for areas that don’t receive much rainfall. It’s also easy to mow with a standard mower, and you can let it grow to about 2.5 inches.


9. Emerald Zoysia

Growing Zone: 7–11
Characteristics: soft, dense, dark green
Mow Height 1–2 inches

Emerald Zoysia is one of the most popular varieties of Zoysia grass. Its deep-green color will stand out against other lawns, and it’s extremely resistant to drought and wear. It’s tolerant of shady areas, and it grows quite slowly, so you won’t need to mow it as frequently as many other types of grass. Many people describe the thick grass as having a hedgehog appearance.

garden flower dividerWhat Is Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia grass is a type of creeping grass that is prevalent in Australia and Asia. It is a popular grass to use on golf courses in America and other countries, and it’s also a good choice for lawns. Most varieties are resistant to drought and won’t lose their color as quickly as many other types of grass. Since it doesn’t need as much water, you also won’t need to cut the grass that frequently.

How Can I Grow Zoysia Grass?

Area

Most varieties of Zosia grass grow best in hot temperatures. While many varieties can live in the 6–9 hardiness zones, they are dormant and grow extremely slowly. However, this grass grows quite well in zones 9–11, though it will require more frequent cutting. Therefore, we recommend using it in a warm environment above hardiness zone 6, limiting your growing area to the southern states in the U.S.

Water

Many varieties of Zoysia are extremely resistant to drought. They don’t require much watering, meaning they grow well in dry areas, and you can even use them to lessen your water bill by reducing or eliminating the amount of watering that you need to do. Most varieties only need about 1 inch of water per week.

Lawn Fertilizer
Image Credit: Mariakray, Pixabay

Fertilizer

Most varieties will not require any fertilization. However, a few will grow better if you add nitrogen fertilizer. Most experts recommend 2–4 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn.

Sunlight

While a few of the varieties on this list can handle shade, all will grow better in full sunlight. We recommend looking over your yard to ensure that it will get enough sunlight before planting this grass. If you have many trees or fences, you might want to choose a different type. The more sunlight that this kind of grass gets, the thicker it will be. Too much shade will cause it to thin out.

Soil

Zoysia grass likes soil that is not too compact so it can drain effectively. The pH will also need to be above 6.0, or you may need to add lime to increase it.

garden flower dividerSummary

There are several varieties of Zoysia grass, and more are possible through hybrids of the varieties. Currently, Empire Zoysia is one of the most popular basic types because it grows well over a large area of the southern United States and has a pleasant dark-green color that many people enjoy. Emerald Zoysia is a popular hybrid because it is quite slow growing, needs little maintenance, and is resistant to shade and wear. We highly recommend the Meyer or Innovation varieties if you need something more resistant to cold temperatures.


Featured Image Credit: Fermuz, Shutterstock

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