Zoysia Grass in Tampa Lawns

February 15th, 2013

Zoysia Grass in TampaZoysia Grass in Tampa

I clearly remember the first time I laid my eyes on Zoysia sod. The fine leaf blades, the emerald green color, and the dense stand of grass made quite an impression on me. In the late ‘90’s I moved to Florida, and over the years I have seen Zoysia used on golf courses and in home lawns here. Interestingly, over the past several years in the Tampa area we have seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of Zoysia used in home lawns. One thing we know for sure about any turfgrass type is that there is both an upside and a downside. Let’s take a quick look at both the advantages and disadvantages of Zoysia grass as a home lawn in the TampaBay area.

Above Zoysia grass is pictured in a Tampa, FL lawn. Photo taken in late Feb 2010 during very cold weather.


  • Zoysia grass does not get chinch bugs! If you are fed up with replacing your St. Augustine lawn due to chinch bug damage, this is good news. Zoysia grass can have issues with billbugs and worms, but in our experience it is much less likely than getting chinch bugs in your St. Augustine grass.
  • Empire Zoysia grass, the most popular variety in Central Florida, needs less nitrogen than St Augustine grass. Empire zoysia needs 3 LBS of Nitrogen per year per 1,000 square feet, while St Augustine grass needs 3-5 LBS.
  • Healthy Zoysia lawns can become incredibly thick. In fact, they can become so dense that they completely prevent weeds from establishing a foothold.
  • Although there is some variety among different Zoysia cultivars, zoysia is a slow growing grass. This can be an advantage, in that you may not have to mow as frequently as with St. Augustine grass.


  • Zoysia grass is slow to green up as it comes out of dormancy from the winter into the spring. This frustrates some people as they expect it to perform likes St Augustine grass. Pushing zoyisa grass to green up faster than it naturally prefers through excess fertilization, will likely cause issues with disease some where down the road.
  • Thatch build-up can be a problem with zoysia. This can be mitigated to some degree by proper management of fertilziation and height of cut. At some point a zoysia grass lawn may need a mechanical dethatching, which is labor intensive.
  • Zoysia cultivars can be susceptible to nematodes. Nematodes are soil dwelling, microscopic worms that feed on plant roots. Unfortunately, there is no effective control for nematodes in a home lawn.
  • The slow growing nature of Zoysia grass was listed above as an advantage, and in many cases it is; however, the other side to that characteristic is that the turf will be slower to recover from damage.

Zoysia grass is a personal favorite when it comes to home lawn turf. It may be a good option for your lawn if you live in New Tampa, South Tampa, Brandon, Fishhawk, Riverview, Carrollwood, Westchase, or Lithia and are looking for something other than St. Augustine grass. Call or email us at Green Solutions Lawn Care & Pest Control if you are interested in learning more about Zoysia grass in Tampa for your lawn.

You can learn more about us by going here.

-- Green Solutions Lawn Care & Pest Control is an award-winning provider of lawn care and pest services in the Tampa Bay area. Our staff boasts two university educated turf agronomists and a university educated horticulturist. We offer fertilization, weed, insect and disease control programs for residential and commercial clients. We also offer general household pest control services. We have developed “GREEN” options for most of our services. We happily provide free estimates.

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