A native of South East Asia and Northern Australia, Zoysia grass is a favourite of Northern Australian backyards. Having evolved in Australian conditions, it deals with the often unpredictable and extreme Australian climate in a way that no imported grass can quite match.
A warm season grass that is dense, tough, and low growing, Zoysia may be just the variety for your backyard, recreational or commercial application. Let’s have a look at what you need to know about this hardy Australian native.
Zoysia is not only a brilliant looking grass, it is also super soft underfoot. The supple blades form a dense mat, making it the perfect lawn to let the kids loose on. This results in little to no irritation, meaning hours of barefoot fun for the whole family.
A low maintenance grass, Zoysia is a very slow grower. This means less time pushing around a mower for you! It also means that, despite having runners that allow the grass to spread, it won’t be overtaking your flower beds too quickly. You’ll have plenty of time to act if your Zoysia starts to invade other parts of your garden. You’ll also see next-to-no thatch build-up in the lawn.
It is hardy. Zoysia can withstand heavy backyard use, being very resistant to damage. It can cope happily with any domestic high traffic area. This hardiness extends to the conditions that it will grow in – Zoysia doesn’t need an overly fertile soil to happily grow, nor does it need to be regularly fertilised. Although, it should be noted, if you want your lawn looking its very best, a small dose of fertiliser twice a year will certainly help.
For a warm season grass, Zoysia is surprisingly tolerant of shade. While other warm season varieties such as Couch and Kikuyu require a heavy amount of sunlight, with shade tolerance of around 10%, Zoysia can cope with up to 40% shade – perfect for grassed areas that have overhanging foliage.
Being used to Australian conditions, Zoysia needs very little water, and is fairly drought tolerant. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t irrigate unless there are physical signs in the grass that it requires moisture, such as when you see a browning of the blades.
The weed resistance of Zoysia is also worth noting. Because it develops such a thick mat of grass, Zoysia effectively chokes out weeds, preventing them from invading. This mat will develop over the first three years of the lawn’s life, so lawns may still be somewhat vulnerable in those first few establishing years.
While it is a great choice for tropical and sub-tropical climates, Zoysia can get found out in Australia’s more temperate regions. It is far from frost resistant, and will quickly brown off if exposed to cooler temperatures. If you are in a region of Australia that is not particularly cold, but is temperate, you may be wise pairing Zoysia with another grass that copes better with cooler conditions, to provide a good looking lawn all year round.
While it is a hardy grass that’s hard to damage, when you do manage to damage it, its slow growing nature can mean that it takes a while to get back to 100%. For this reason, it isn’t the ideal choice for areas with extreme levels of wear and tear, such as sporting fields.
The same can be said for its drought resistance. It is certainly drought tolerant, and will eventually bounce back, just not at the same rate as more aggressive grasses such as Couch. It simply takes a little longer to come out of its state of dormancy.
The Wash Up
Zoysia is as low maintenance and unfussy as a warm season grass can be, and on top of that, it is soft underfoot and beautiful to look at. You almost can’t do better if you’re in the market for a warm season grass in Australia.
McKays’ have two Zoysia seed varieties available; McKays Pure Zoysia, the ideal seed for Australia’s north, and the Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed Blend, a seed blend created for the more temperate and cool areas of the country.
For more information on these or any other grasses, contact the friendly team at McKays.