Korea Grass (Zoysia)
“Is there a lawn grass that I don’t have to mow as often?” This question often comes up when discussing gardens. The answer to the question is “try Zoysia”. Zoysia is a genus of grass from tropical and sub-tropical Asia and has been adopted worldwide for a variety of purposes.
It is a deep rooted, slow growing grass, yet is relatively short. The root and rhizome system is so dense that it out-competes most common lawn weeds.
This is one of the more shade tolerant grasses being able to get by on as little as 3 hours of sun per day. It will even cope with a period of no sunlight at all as long as it receives adequate sun at other times of the year.
All Zoysia have a fine upright leaf with a blue green colour. This colour will be darker if the grass is fertilised. Mowing of this grass can be at a lower level than for most other turf grasses. In some areas this is the turf of choice for putting greens at golf courses.
All this sounds too good to be true – the perfect grass. But, yes, there are some points to consider. If it is grown beside a flower bed and the barrier between the two is not of adequate depth, Zoysia will establish itself among your prize plants and be quite difficult to remove without stripping out the garden. Also because has such a slow growth, any damaged areas will be equally slow to recover. If a Zoysia lawn receives almost no sunlight during the winter, regular traffic and vigorous play should be avoided to reduce this damage.
Growing this grass from seed is so slow that it is not really an option for the home gardener, therefore new Zoysia lawns need to be established by laying cut slabs of turf.
One of my favourite ways to use Zoysia is to leave it completely unmown. The best one for this is Z. tenuifolia or Korean Velvet Grass. It will form soft mounds resembling rolling green hills in the countryside. These mounds, up to 150mm high, have a sculptural feel which work well in rockeries, around ponds and pools and among feature trees in an area which doesn’t take traffic. It is also commonly found in Japanese style gardens, working its way among the rocks resembling moss.
As a lawn grass, Zoysia suits the lazy gardener and for those who like to remain active, it frees up time to spend on other aspects of the garden.