Zoysia Propagation and Seeding

Zoysia Seeding

Zoysia Seeding of a new lawn is a demanding task. May or June are the ideal times to plant Zoysia. Proper preparation of the soil is mandatory and tilling to kill existing vegetation as well as to loosen up the soil is mandatory in order to get Zoysia to germinate. One technique used to kill existing vegetation prior to zoysia seeding are to use an herbicide. Another technique is to smother the existing vegetation with a black plastic tarp. The heat generated by the sun on the black tarp will kill the vegetation underneath.

Preparing the Soil

Till or cultivate the soil to a depth of 6”. Add any amendments such as lime or fertilizer at this time. Without any testing 5-10-15 is a good starter fertilizer. Apply at the rate of 20# per 1000 Square feet. Adding composted material or peat moss and lime at this time is advisable as well. Mix the top area well. Plant the Zoysia seed to a depth of no more then ¼”. Lightly rake the seed in to accomplish this. Use straw as a light mulch to prevent erosion. Note that Zoysia seedlings and sprouts cannot dry out or they will die. A daily watering schedule is mandatory for the first Three weeks.

Also note that without direct sunlight Zoysia seeds will not germinate,. Planting Zoysia seed in shady areas is fruitless.

Over Seeding Existing Lawn

Over seeding should only be done for existing Zoysia lawns. To change an existing lawn of another variety to centipede plugging is the technique of choice. Seeding will fail in almost every attempt to establish a new Zoysia lawn without first completely, either chemically or mechanically, removing the existing lawn.

To overseed existing Zoysia lawns, cut the existing lawn as close as possible without scalping it. Rake or scratch the soil and apply the seed over it at the rate of ½ to 1 Pound per 2000 Square feet. Follow up with mulching and watering instructions as listed above.

Zoysia Propagation – Sprigging and Plugging

Zoysia propagation can also be accomplished by Sprigging and Plugging Plugging being the most common method. This is the preferred method of planting a zoysia lawn.  Zoysia propagation is generally more time consuming but highly effective and necessary when establishing a new lawn without removing an old lawn of another variety. Lawns composed of Zoysia are aggressive and once established, will choke out competing grasses and weeds. 

Zoysia plugs can be purchased typically online. You can also buy strips of Zoysia sod and cut your own plugs, which is generally more economical. Zoysia propagation through sprigging can fill in a new lawn quicker. However, I have found it to be impossible to buy sprigs without having to buy enough for an entire golf course.

Preparing the Soil for Zoysia Propagation

Proper soil preparation is critical to the success of a sprigged or plugged lawn. Tilling the top 3-6 inches, clearing the soil of debris such as rocks and twigs, liming and the use of starter fertilizer (5-10-15) will all contribute to a good start to a new healthy and good looking lawn.

When plugging, sod should be cut into sections of 2 to 4 inches and planted 6 to 12 inches of center from each other. Whether sprigging or plugging it is worth noting that the closer the plugs or sprigs are set the quicker the new lawn will be to establish itself. Keep the area moist (but not soggy). Do not mow until new growth is seen. Additionally, do not mow if the soil is wet as you run the risk of pulling the centipede out of the soil if the roots have not established themselves yet.

WARNING, Do not use any weed and feed fertilizers or weed preventative applications when seeding a lawn.