Converting Your Existing Lawn to Zoysiagrass

Converting Your Existing Lawn to Zoysiagrass

So you are new to Zoysia, huh? Not to worry - converting an existing lawn to zoysiagrass really isn't that hard and we're here to offer a simple guide to doing so: 

A common misconception is that plugs have to be planted in bare soil and that isn't the case at all. A cool season lawn (fescue, bluegrass, etc) can be converted to zoysiagrass by planting plugs into the current turf. The conversion process typically starts out slow, but can be accelerated with a few easy adjustments. 

plug held above fescue

Mow the lawn short (1-1 ½ inches) to help the zoysiagrass spread. The shorter overall height is less hospitable for cool season grasses and will also increase sunlight exposure to the Zoysia plugs 

Change your fertilizing schedule (May to August) to favor the zoysiagrass. Apply light applications of high nitrogen fertilizer.

Plant more plugs, close together. We suggest at least one plug per square foot. If you can plant  one plug every six inches instead you'll have a full zoysia lawn  much quicker. 

Be Patient! Know that it typically takes 2 years+ for Zoysiagrass to take over. Not only do the plugs have to root in and spread, they also have to beat out the roots already in place. 

    plug with roots visible held up

    If you are looking to plug into a warm season lawn (Bermuda, Centipede, etc.) understand that those conditions do make for a little more work on your part.

    First, you'll want to eliminate some of the competition. It is best to use a nonresidual herbicide like glyphosate to selectively spray small areas where you intend to plug. Then, you'll need to wait at least 3-7 days before planting. Be sure to read the label on your selected chemical application - some require more time than others. Do NOT use a product labeled Extended Release.  

    If you'd like to continue to control the other warm-season grasses after planting or kill off a large area without worry for the health of your plugs you can use selective herbicides with active ingredients like fluazifop or fenoxaprop that will target Bermudagrass and Centipede without damaging the Zoysia if applied properly. One such herbicide is Fusilade II Herbicide - take note: for use as a control method on Zoysiagrass requires a REDUCED RATE (see label). 

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