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Perfectly Installing Zoysia Sod

Perfectly Installing Zoysia Sod

When it comes to installing Zoysia (Zeon, Empire, Emerald, Compadre) sod, there are three keys to the castle. Location, timing, and preparation. We will cover all three below.

Perfect Location (Warmer Areas/Not too shady):

Before you go ahead with your Zoysia sod project, it is important to make sure that you are in the right location for it. Not only in the right part of the county, but also that your property provides an area that the grass can thrive.

Zoysia grass does not grow well in areas that get less than 5-6 hours of sun a day. Zeon Zoysia is more shade tolerant than the others, but not by a much. Grass just needs sun to do well, theres no way around it. Also, avoid areas that stay wet, a lot. This is usually a shady area anyways, but just in case its not, its worth noting. (Its also worth noting that if an area is wet in spring or summer, it gonna be really wet in the fall/winter when the grass isnt actively growing and soaking/drinking up all the water.)

Also avoid areas that have a lot trees (likely to be shady), or an area near/directly under a tree. The trees and grass will play a natural game of "survival of the fittest", that the grass will lose every single time.

Avoid hills. Not slow rolling hills, but the ditch-type, run-off steeper hills. Water runs off of these hills, and doesn't settle into the soil for the grass the drink. Along with the water running off the steep hill, the nutrients go as well.

As far as zoning goes, and whether or not the Zoysia will grow in your part of the country, I have attached a map. Credits to Patten Seed Company.

Perfect Time to Install Zoysia (Late April-May)

Timing is what will differentiate between when you install warm and cool season grasses. Since we are discussing installing Zoysia (Zeon, Empire, Emerald, Compadre) the "perfect" time of the year is end of April-May. Because Zoysia is a warm season grass, it takes about a month of warmer weather to "spring" back to life from the cold off-season. It's pretty obvious when this is case, as the grass slowly greens up throughout the spring. This will vary depending on what part of the country you live. If you live in warmest regions of the south like Texas, Florida, Alabama, or Louisiana, you may warm up earlier than the folks in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Not by much, but maybe a few weeks.

You want to buy the sod once it is 100% green. Then you are good to go.   In fact, you can ask the Sod Farm, Sod Supplier, or your landscaper what "percent" green the zoysia is. The closer to 100% it is, the faster it will take root. If you do your zoysia install in an in-between stage (50-75% green), be prepared for the grass to slide back into its dormant stage a little more as it tries to survive the "shock" of being transplanted. This will also delay the rooting process some as well since the plant isn't growing as fast as it possibly can.

This is what grass will look like at about 75% green
The optimal time is mid-spring to early summer. Be advised that, although you may be able to get away with planting the zoysia in the late summer, you have to be lucky to not hit a super dry or hot spell. Likewise, you may also be able to get away with planting a warm season grass in the fall, but its tougher to get it to root before it starts to go dormant (as soon as it cools down in late September/early October).

 Just know that when you sod a lawn, you are putting the plant into survival/stressed out mode, in which case it goes dormant (browns/thins out) to try to survive, before it roots, and the green leaves come back and everything looks perfectly healthy.

Perfect Preparation

The preparation is going to be the same for warm and cool season grasses. Whether you are installing a warm season grass (Zoysia, Bermuda, St.Augustine,Centipede) or a cool season grass (Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, perennial ryegrass), the prep work is exactly the same. In fact, the only real difference between warm and cool season installs will come from the location and timing that we discussed earlier.

Depending on your soil conditions, you may or may not need to add topsoil. If the area you had wasn't growing much before (not just grass, but clover, flowers, or any kind of weeds), then you will probably need to add some topsoil. If it was growing something (maybe a healthy strand of weeds or a different kind of grass), then you are probably ok. Remember that you get 2 or so inches of topsoil with the sod.

The roots are going to need some room to run, so make sure you make it easy on them! Loosening up 3-4 inches of dirt on the top level should be more than enough for the grassroots to do their thing. You may also want to add a very light 18-24-12 starter fertilizer, to help with the root development. Make sure you read the bag and err on the light side. DO NOT PUT TOO MUCH. Most zoysia sod is going to come already fertilized, so be careful with anything you add.

Perfectly Prepped Lawn
You will want to make sure the area is hand-raked so that it is very nice and even. You do not want big clumps or a bunch of rocks all over the place. Avoid trying to prep a lawn right after it rains. It wont rake nicely and it will take you 5 times as long and it still wont come out nice and even like it should.

The Final Product

Finally, the final product. If you did everything right, planted the sod in the right location, at perfect time, and prepped it perfectly, then all you had left to do was lay the rolls (so the sides butt up next to each other and cut the edges/shape where you want)

Make sure to water accordingly (every day for a week, every two days for the next 2 weeks, in the early AM.) Expect the grass to take 3 weeks or so to settle/root in and get that lush green you've been wanting for so long!

If you think this is a little more than you want to deal with, and would like to talk to a couple of the Landscape Professionals we work with, then give us a call today at 866.228.5324 or click the link Install Sod and select your region. There is also a direct region link at the top left of this page. We'll pick up the phone and help you out!