Zoysia grass is a good choice for homeowners who want a beautiful lawn but do not want to spend a lot of time mowing, watering and maintaining it. It is drought tolerant and flourishes in a variety of soil conditions, including clay and alkaline. Zoysia is also a slow-growing grass, so homeowners will find they don't need to mow as often as with other types of grasses.
It is usually planted using sod or plugs, but some varieties can be planted with seed. Once established, it is a very dense grass and will naturally keep out weeds. It does not require as much fertilization as other grasses. Zoysia grass is also resistant to many common grass pests and diseases.
Because this grass is very tolerant to wear, zoysia grass is often used for recreation or athletic purposes, including golf course greens and baseball fields. It is not often used for sports such as football or soccer because it is slow to repair on these types of high-traffic sports fields.
Zoysia grass is native to Souteast Asia. It was introduced to the U.S. in the early 20th century by botanist C.V. Piper who had seen the grass in the Philippine Islands. Because of this, Zoysia grass has also been commonly referred to as Manila grass. In the U.S., Zoysia is mostly grown in the Gulf Coast region, though it is also used along the East Coast, some Midwest states and even Southern California.
There are several varieties of this grass. Zoysia japonica, which can also be known as Korean or Japanese lawngrass, is more tolerant to cold than the other varieties. It is often grown in climates with hot, humid summers and cold winters. Zoysia matrella, the variety introduced by C.V. Piper, is distinguished by narrow pointy leaf blades. Zoysia tenuifolia is very fine and wiry and is more commonly used for ground cover, rather than lawn.