Best Fertilizer For Zoysia Grass

Last Updated on August 24, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

Zoysia grass is a grass-type favorite with homeowners in the United States.

It’s relatively easy to care for, and once it gets established, it will grow thick and healthy.

It’s great in hot and dry conditions, so it is ideal for gardens in the midsection of the country where the climate is hot and humid.

The grass blades can withstand quite heavy traffic, so as well as capturing the hearts of American homeowners, it’s also used in parks and on golf courses.

Zoysia grasses grow well with a bit of help from the perfect fertilizer. We’ll let you know the best fertilizer for Zoysia grass, how you should apply this, and how often.

In this guide, we’ll go through:

  • How Does Zoysia Grow?
  • What Type of Fertilizer Does Zoysia Grass Need?
  • How Much Fertilizer Does a Zoysia Lawn Need?
  • When Should My Zoysia Grass Fertilizer be Applied?
  • Zoysia Management Practices — Calendar

Zoysia is a great-looking grass with a beautiful green shade during the spring and summer months. It’s the grass of choice for many Americans, all over the country.

It’s best suited to a dry, hot climate, so it works best in the Southern Transition Zone, which ranges from Kansas to the Carolinas. The conditions here are perfect for Zoysia grass.

As the grass is dense in texture, it makes it difficult for weeds to come through, and it can choke the weeds that try to penetrate it.

The one thing about Zoysia that may put some people off is that when it’s in the dormant stage, it goes from green to an unattractive brown. It also has sharp grass clippings that can dull your mower blades.

There are many varieties of Zoysia grass, and each has its challenges and good points. Some types have been developed to be grown from seed rather than sods, and some can tolerate colder conditions.

Horticulturists have developed varieties that are softer with thinner grass blades. Zoysia is known for being hard and sharp with thick grass blades, so this is quite a change.

How Does Zoysia Grass Grow?

Zoysia grass does grow slowly, so most people will choose to grow it from sods or plugs to get a quicker result. If growing from seed, you need to be patient as it could take two years to develop an established lawn.

Zoysia likes sunlight and ideally wants between six and eight hours of sunshine per day. It will still grow in shaded areas, but this will be at a slower pace.

The grass can survive on just one inch of water each week. It doesn’t need fertilizer throughout the year, but it will thrive when given some in early spring and summer.

What Type of Fertilizer Does Zoysia Grass Need?

Even though Zoysia lawns need very little care and attention and are relatively tough, it still needs some fertilizer to keep it in the best condition. This will help keep the vibrant green color of the grass and promote healthy growth and strong root development.

The fertilizer that you choose should contain nitrogen and potassium to get the best out of your Zoysia lawn. The perfect fertilizer would be a slow-release granular fertilizer with a 3-1-2 N-P-K ratio. This means that it contains three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorus, and two parts potassium. A 15-0-15 N-P-K ratio is ideal when your lawn is established.

Apply solid fertilizer to your lawn using a push spreader. A drop spreader for small areas or a more efficient rotary or broadcast spreader for larger areas. A liquid fertilizer can be applied easily to your lawn by attaching its container to the end of your hose.

One of the best solid fertilizers available for your Zoysia grass would be the Scotts Select States Turf Builder Bonus S Southern Weed and Feed. This is ideal for all Southern lawns and has been specially formulated for Zoysia and other warm season grasses, and the best time to apply the weed and feed is in early spring.

You will need 3.45 pounds of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet, and one bag will cover 5,000 square feet.

You can also apply liquid fertilizer to your Zoysia grass and a good option would be Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced NPK — Lawn Food Quality Liquid Fertilizer. It’s easy to apply by attaching the bottle directly to your garden hose. One bottle will cover up to 3,200 square feet.

The pH level of your lawn is important, and you should check this with a home soil test kit when applying fertilizer. The ideal pH level for Zoysia would be between six and seven. You can add lawn lime and sulfur to your soil to correct an over-acidic pH imbalance.

How Much Fertilizer Does a Zoysia Lawn Need?

Most Zoysia lawns will require three to four applications of fertilizer throughout the year. You can add pesticides, soil enhancers, pre-emergent and post-emergent weed killers to your fertilizer application to increase the benefits of your treatment and for improved weed control.

Be careful not to over-fertilize your lawn, as this will cause more damage than good and create thatch in your grass.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is the primary nutrient that Zoysia needs. It usually requires 3-4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually.

Potassium

Potassium helps your grass become resistant to drought and wear and tear.

Phosphorus 

Phosphorus is excellent for root growth and also helps with the development of seeds. This should be included in fertilizer for a lawn starting out to help it reach maturity.

When Should My Zoysia Grass Fertilizer be Applied?

Give your Zoysia an application of starter fertilizer at the start of the spring season. The grass will be dormant throughout the winter and will need fertilizer treatment to start its growing season in the best way.

Treat your Zoysia with an application of fertilizer up to three times each year. After your first application in spring, follow this up with a second treatment in the middle of summer. You should apply your third and final treatment of the year, late summer into early fall.

The grass doesn’t need fertilizing in the winter. It’s dormant at this time, and the fertilizer may encourage it to grow. This will break the dormancy of the grass and will make it susceptible to freezing in cold temperatures.

When applying the fertilizer, always check the manufacturer’s instructions. The best weather conditions for fertilizing your grass would be warm and dry.

Once applied, a light rain is favorable to enable the fertilizer to soak into your soil. If no rain is forecast, water your lawn to wash the fertilizer granules into the ground, which will activate them quicker.

Zoysia Management Practices — Calendar

To give your lawn the proper care, you need to fertilize it at the right time with the right amount of chemicals. It doesn’t require much fertilizer, but if you do it right, you’ll have the best-looking lawn around.

Springtime

As your grass comes out of the dormant winter season and you see the first signs of growth, it will appreciate a fertilizer treatment. This is the most important treatment of the year for Zoysia as it will kick start its growing season in the best way.

The first application of fertilizer should include nitrogen and potassium, with an N-P-K ratio of 15-0-15. However, if you have planted grass seeds or your lawn is still in the early stages, you should also add phosphorus to this mix. This will help with the root development of your grass.

A good fertilizer to use at this time of year would be the Espoma Organic All Season Lawn Food. This provides a slow release of nutrients, including nitrogen, to provide your growing grass with the goodness that it needs.

A pre-emergent herbicide would be an excellent addition to your lawn at the start of the season. This will prevent the weeds from taking root and becoming a problem later in the season.

Summer

As the grass continues to grow during the summer, it will be ready for another treatment of fertilizer. You may see some weeds coming through the lawn, so now would be the best time to apply a post-emergent weed killer alongside your fertilizer.

This will kill the weeds that are starting to come through before they can take a hold in your grass.

Fall

As the Zoysia growing season is coming to an end, give your lawn a final fertilizer application. If your grass is weed-free, now’s the best time to apply a pre-emergent weed killer to prevent any future growth and to prepare your lawn for winter weed control.

Conclusion

Zoysia grass is easy to care for and doesn’t require much fertilizer. However, the right fertilizer at the correct times will do your lawn a world of good. Nitrogen and potassium are the critical ingredients for your fertilizer, with a bit of phosphorus when your grass is becoming established.

We hope you’ve found our guide useful and it helps you to achieve the best lawn possible.