Zoysia plugs take up to two years to fill in depending on climate and lawn care. This is considerably longer compared to many other plant species but gardeners may still prefer Zoysia grass because it is more resilient and grows denser once it has properly spread.
When starting a new lawn, you want it to grow as fast as possible. After all, a patchy lawn is not a pretty sight.
However, as any seasoned gardener will tell you, patience is key. You will definitely need that patience when planting Zoysia plugs because they are one of the slower growing varieties.
So, why do people still choose to plant Zoysia plugs over other grass species for their lawn? Read on to learn all you need to know about planting Zoysia plugs for the first time and why they are worth the wait.
What Is Zoysia Grass?
Zoysia grass is a perennial turfgrass type native to Japan. However, its use for lawns has spread all around the world because it is such a sturdy grass variety.
There are five main varieties of Zoysia as listed below.
- Most resilient variety
- Best Zoysia for surviving cold climates
- Less suitable for hot Southern states
- Possible to start from seed
- Thicker turf and finer blades
- Better suited for hot and humid climates
- Most suitable for Southern states
- Must start from plugs
- Finest blades of all varieties
- Most sensitive to cooler temperatures
- Only suitable for warmer climates
- Best started from plugs
- Hybrid version of Z. japonic and Z. tenuifolia
- Finer blades than Z. japonica
- Better cold tolerance than Z. tenuifolia
- Best in transition region
- Hybrid improved version of Z. japonica
- Also known as Z-52
- Easiest variety to grow
- Must start from plugs
Besides the 5 zoysia species mentioned above, there are many more hybrid variations. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses so make sure you consult a landscaping expert to find out which zoysia varieties will do best in your specific climate.
Why You Should Use Zoysia Plugs Instead of Seeds
It is better to plant zoysia vegetatively meaning using either plugs or in sods. The only zoysia species that you might possibly be successful in spreading from its seeds is Z. japonica.
One of the main reasons why you should plant zoysia plugs is that it is a slow growing grass variety. Starting from seeds could mean it takes 3 years or even longer for the lawn to fill in.
There is also a greater chance of uneven growth when starting with seeds. Some seeds may not germinate in the first year which can create a more patchy growth.
When to Plant Zoysia Plugs
Zoysia plugs should be planted long before temperatures start dropping in the fall. Early spring is ideal because this gives the grass more time to mature in preparation for the colder temperatures.
However, don’t plant zoysia too early, either. If there is a late frost just after the plugs are in the ground there is a chance that it won’t survive the cold. In other words, you may need to put in new plugs.
Tips for Planting Zoysia Plugs
- For the fastest spread, space the plugs 6 – 12 inches apart in a checkerboard pattern. The larger the lawn, the further apart you can spread them.
- De-thatch the soil before placing the plugs. Zoysia is known to create thicker thatch than many other grass species.
- Although zoysia can take dry weather, it needs water in both summer and winter when the soil is dry.
- Protect zoysia from heavy traffic during the first year when it needs a long recovery period.
- Zoysia has a very low nitrogen requirement. 2 – 4 lbs per 1000 sq.ft. is enough depending on the climate. Fertilize your lawn 2 – 3 times per year.
- Once established, zoysia spreads easily. Make sure the areas where you don’t want zoysia to grow are barricaded. (This includes your neighbor’s lawn.)
- Generally, zoysia hybrids are stronger than the three main natural variations. These hybrids are better suited to specific climates so ask the staff at your local garden center which zoysia type does best where you live.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Long Does It Take for Grass Plugs to Fill In?
How long it takes for grass plugs to fill in depends on the grass species, the climate and the lawn care. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.
Zoysia plugs specifically take longer than average to fill in. It can take up to two years.
How Quickly Will Zoysia Spread?
Zoysia is one of the slowest growing grass species. On average, it takes 2 years to fill in a complete lawn.
However, once it is fully grown it is one of the most resilient species. In other words, it needs less maintenance and can survive harsher conditions.
How Many Zoysia Plugs Do I Need?
How many plugs you need depends on how fast you want your lawn to fill in. Plugs planted closer to each other spread faster that sparser planted plugs.
A distance of 12 inches between plugs gives you the fastest growth rate. Some recommend placing them further apart at 1 plug per square foot.
Calculating how many Zoysia plugs you need to fill in a lawn requires some math. This is more difficult when you have an unevenly shaped lawn. You can use this handy calculator on Zoysia Farms to help you keep track of the different areas.
So, To Summarize
Zoysia is a beautiful lawn grass variety that does well in a variety of climates. Its resilient nature and pretty blades have brought it to an elite status among the grass species.
Although it is one of the slower growing varieties, people still find that the wait is worth it. You will end up with a dense dark green lawn that makes your neighbors envious.