The Best Zoysia Varieties for Southern Lawns Texas, TX property garden advice, USA home planting landscape tips

The Best Zoysia Varieties for Southern Lawns

21 Mar 2023

The Best Zoysia Varieties for Southern Lawns

Have you decided to buy Zoysia turf for your lawn, but you find yourself bewildered by all the choices? You’re not alone. While all varieties are highly drought tolerant and hardy, they also have their own unique characteristics. The question is, which of these characteristics would work best for your yard? You might want a fine-bladed variety like Zeon Zoysia, or one that handles foot traffic well, like Palisades Zoysia. Doing your own research can be helpful, but you could also ask the experts at a company like The Grass Store. They’ll be able to look at your specific property, and tell you which type of Zoysia might work best for you.

In the meantime, though, it wouldn’t hurt for you to learn a bit more about your options. Keep reading to find out which Zoysia varieties grow best in Southern lawns!

The Best Zoysia Varieties for Lawns in Texas, USA

Cavalier Zoysia

It’s typical for Zoysia grass to prefer full sunlight, but Cavalier Zoysia can also adapt to shade pretty well. As long as it gets four or five hours of sun each day, it’ll stay healthy. This variety is said to resemble Bermuda grass, since it has very fine blades that grow close together. It has great drought tolerance, as well as resistance to disease or pests. Anyone who has trouble keeping up with the mowing might like Cavalier Zoysia, as its slow growing time means that frequent cuttings won’t be necessary.

Cavalier Zoysia summary

  • Low-maintenance
  • Drought tolerant
  • Shade tolerant
  • Has fine blades with dense growth
  • Dark green in color

Palisades Zoysia

Do you want grass that will fill in any irregular borders or gaps on its own? Then Palisades Zoysia might be the one for you. It’s known for spreading out without needing much encouragement, and for growing thickly in most soils. Just like most Zoysia varieties, it doesn’t need that much water – just two inches or less per week. Full sun is ideal, but as long as it gets six hours of sunlight per day it’ll keep growing just fine. It has coarse blades, and a color that varies between medium and dark green. It’s popular for use in areas with a lot of foot traffic, as it recovers quickly from this and other sources of stress.

Palisades Zoysia summary

  • Drought tolerant
  • Coarse blades
  • Recovers quickly from stress
  • Can be used in high-traffic areas
  • Moderate shade tolerance
  • Medium to dark green in color

Emerald Zoysia

This variety of Zoysia has many of the qualities you’d expect, like resistance to drought and disease. It’s also bright green (as the name suggests), and has fine blades that provide a thick, soft turf. Emerald Zoysia has above-average shade tolerance compared to other varieties, needing only three or four hours in the sun daily. It greens up quickly each spring, and is slow to go dormant in the fall.

Emerald Zoysia summary

  • Drought tolerant
  • Shade tolerant
  • Feels soft underfoot
  • Intense green shade
  • Long growing season

Zeon Zoysia

Here’s another premium fine-bladed Zoysia. Zeon Zoysia grows into a thick turf, with narrow leaves that have a vivid green color. It can tolerate all but the most intense Southern temperatures; if they hit triple digits, it may start to turn brown. However, cooling temperatures and some extra watering will perk it right back up. It’s known for growing quickly, and having a long growing season. Zeon Zoysia is also resistant to insects and diseases, and won’t build up a layer of thatch as quickly as some other grasses. This means that you won’t have to aerate as often, resulting in less maintenance needed for this grass overall.

Zeon Zoysia summary

  • Drought tolerant
  • Fairly shade tolerant
  • Dark green color
  • Fine-bladed
  • Resists insects and diseases
  • Slower thatch buildup

What to know about keeping Zoysia healthy

There’s quite a bit of variation between different types of Zoysia, but they all have similar requirements when it comes to things like watering, mowing schedule, preferred climates, etc. If you have (or will have) Zoysia growing in your yard, you might find that the information below will come in handy.

  • How much fertilizer does Zoysia need?

If your Zoysia lawn needs fertilizer, nitrogen fertilizer is mostly likely what you’ll have to buy. In most cases, you’ll end up using between 2-4 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn. To reduce the need for fertilizer, you can make sure that the grass clippings from each mowing are allowed to compost into the soil.

  • How much sunlight does Zoysia need?

Even though most varieties are shade tolerant, they all do best with full sunlight. If Zoysia grass can’t get enough sun due to trees, privacy fences, etc., it’s likely to thin out and not grow as quickly. The amount of shade that Zoysia grass can tolerate will depend on the variety, so it’s recommended to check on the availability of sunlight in your yard before making a decision.

  • How much water does Zoysia need?

Zoysia grasses are all known for being drought tolerant, which is partly what makes them such an ideal choice for Southern lawns. Depending on the variety, it’ll need between 1 and 2 inches of water weekly. This is best given all at once, rather than incrementally; when Zoysia grass is watered deeply, this encourages the growth of longer roots, resulting in better drought resistance.

  • Where does Zoysia like to grow?

Zoysia loves sunlight, and it’s best suited for hardiness zones 9 through 11. It can survive in zones 6 through 8, but you should expect a longer dormancy and slower rate of growth. Provided you live in hardiness zone 6 or above – and provided your yard gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day – you should be happy with a yard of Zoysia grass.

The takeaway

From resistance to pests, diseases, and drought, to aesthetic appeal, there are several characteristics that make these Zoysia varieties an excellent pick for Southern lawns. Getting new turf installed can be a pretty big deal, so it only makes sense to pick a grass that will look great with minimal upkeep.

Comments on this The Best Zoysia Varieties for Southern Lawns article are welcome.

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