Zoysia grass is a type of turfgrass that is grown for its durability and salt tolerance. These grasses are often used on golf courses but can also be used in lawns and gardens. There are many options available if you are looking to install new zoysia grass or replace your existing lawn. This article will discuss some of the most popular Zoysia cultivars and species found in the Sarasota/Manatee marketplace today.
Zoysia Japonica Steud
Japanese lawn grass, also known as Korean lawn grass and Zoysia japonica Steudel, is a coarse-textured variety with a fast growth rate and excellent cold tolerance. This species was introduced in the United States around 1894. It has been used in residential areas and golf courses because of its ability to spread rapidly through runners.
One characteristic that makes this variety popular with homeowners is its ability to thrive in dry conditions. In fact, it performs best when exposed to full sun or partial shade when grown outdoors year round.
Zoysia matrella, also known as Manilagrass, was introduced in 1892. It’s a fine and dense turfgrass with a slower growth rate and will generally take about two years to establish itself. The Zoysia matrella is more susceptible to disease than other Zoysias, but it can still perform well under ideal conditions.
Zoysia Pacifica can also be called Mascarenegrass or Korean velvet grass. It has the finest texture among all Zoysiagrass. The turf variety has good wear tolerance but poor cold tolerance, so it’s best to keep this grass warm and watered during our winter months in Florida. Because of its tenderness, Pacifica may need extra care if you use it on more sensitive lawn areas like around tree trunks, swimming pools, or sidewalks where heavy foot traffic occurs.
Zoysia Japonica Cultivars
1. El Toro
El Toro is an improved Zoysia japonica. It is characterized by its drought resistance and early spring green-up, which makes it an excellent choice for lawns in the Sarasota/Manatee marketplace. El Toro is also resistant to rust disease.
2. Empire Turf
Empire Turf is a coarse-textured cultivar that grows quickly and has greater density than the other types. It is well adapted to sandy and clay soils but can be susceptible to large patch disease.
JaMur Sport is a medium coarse textured zoysia that does well in moderate shade. It’s susceptible to large patch disease and needs regular mowing at 2-3 inches.
The grass is widely used on sports fields, golf courses, commercial properties, residential lawns, and grounds maintenance applications.
Zoysia Matrella Cultivars
1. Cashmere, Diamond, Toccoa Green, and Trinity Cultivars
The finer textured grasses are more shade tolerant and will not look as lush in full sun. In fact, they may require more frequent mowing than the thicker varieties.
The optimum height of cut for these grasses is 0.25 inches (6 millimeters). As with all Zoysia species, care must be taken when mowing with a rotary mower or vertical-axis mower: if the blades are set too high, you can cut through their creeping rhizomes, which can cause browning or damage to the lawn.
This new generation of fine-textured zoysia cultivars, with proper care should give you many years of enjoyment!
2. Geo, Zeon, and Zorro
Geo and Zeon have a fine leaf texture that makes them ideal for use in areas where a finer leaf is desired, such as golf courses and residential landscapes. They are also very drought-tolerant grasses, making them attractive to homeowners with limited water resources available to their lawns. Zorro has a medium-fine leaf texture and can be used to replace bermudagrasses on golf courses as well as residential landscapes.
Depending on the variety, Zoysia performs well at 0.5” to 2” height, so you want to plant at least two weeks before anticipated cool season growing conditions.
In conclusion, many new Zoysia cultivars and species exist in the Sarasota/Manatee marketplace. They offer a wide range of characteristics, from heat tolerant to shade tolerant grasses, that can be used for many landscape applications.