Zoysia grass generally needs at least 1/2 or more daytime sunlight to prosper. You may plantyour Zoysia plugs any time the ground is not frozen. Of course, planting in the full sunlight is best, but full sunlight conditions are not a necessity. If you are planting in full or partial shade, consider this: Is the shade caused by your house or by other growing plants (i.e. trees)? Other growing plants and their roots systems create competition for the nutrients in your soil - so >your problem may not only be shade, but also competing plants and their roots. Here are some solutions:
1. Trim the branches of your trees to let sunlight and air circulation in and around your planting bed for Zoysia plugs
2. Feed your trees. If you don't, they will prevent your lawn grass from receiving the fertilizer and other nutrients otherwise available to it.
3. Don't over water in the shade. Zoysia grass likes dry conditions better than overly wet conditions. Overly wet conditions create an environment for fungus diseases ... and shady areas don't dry out very fast.
4. Make sure your planting bed is not a "low spot". Believe it or not, it is just as important for excess water to drain off of the planting bed as it is for the planting bed to be irrigated in the first place.
Zoysia Plugs Planting Instructions
1. Planting Bed: For best results, thoroughly till the area to be planted, rake the soil free of any debris and , if necessary, add top soil. You may also want to check the pH of your soil (put some of your soil in a paper bag and take it to your county extension service for testing). A pH range of 6-7 is best but higher and lower pH readings are usually okay for growing zoysiagrass. Tilling and loosening your soil allows the stolons and rhizomes of your new planted Zoysia plugs to receive more oxygen and to use less of its energy fighting against soil compaction.
2. Make Your Zoysia Plugs: Using the pattern on the top or bottom of the box, use a large knife to cut the 12"x15" slab of Zoysia plugs into plugs. The 12"x15" slab of Zoysia makes 40 3" square plugs . It is easier to cut the plugs by placing the Zoysia slab soil side up while cutting.
3. Plant Your Zoysia Plugs: Using a garden hand trowel plant you Zoysia plugs on either 6" centers (approximate growth to maturity two years) or 12" centers (approximate growth to maturity three years). Match the soil surface of your plugs to the level of your soil (Don't over expose the plug and also don't bury it). Water the area you have planted so that all of the plugs and all of the surrounding soil is thoroughly saturated. As the green thumbs say with a laugh, "Keep the green side up! "
4. Care For Your New Planted Zoysia Plugs: During the first two weeks keep the planting bed with your newly planted Zoysia plugs wet. Then do not water more than once a week. Do not fertilize your planting bed until outdoor nighttime temperatures reach approximately 70° Fahrenheit. During Spring months apply a balanced, blended fertilizer (i.e. 13- 13- 13 ). Once during Summer months, brand name "weed and feed" fertilizers will work. Do not fertilize with high Nitrogen fertilizers during the Winter, Spring or Fall. In fact, don't fertilize at all during Fall and Winter! Always apply fertilizer to dry grass and then water thoroughly.
After the first two weeks, only water your Zoysia when conditions seem dry. On the average 1" of water per week during Spring and Summer (including rainfall) is adequate. During the Winter your soil will hold its moisture and you need not water as often. Actually, it is better to starve your Zoysia for water than to over water. Over watering creates an environment for fungus diseases in turfgrass.
5. Mowing and Weeding: You should mow your new Zoysia plugs when the leaf blades (or weeds) reach 1 1/2 inches in height. Mowing helps your Zoysia plug plant material spread by growing through its root system. Letting weeds get too high will shade your Zoysia plug plant material from needed sunlight. We prefer reel mowers but rotary mowing is okay. You may maintain your Zoysia plug planted area from 1/2 inch mowing height up to 3 inches in height. Let your preference be your guide. Follow our mowing rule: "Never mow away more than 1/3 of the leafblade each time you mow."
During its grow-in phase the bare ground around your Zoysia plugs will sprout weeds and possible other grasses. Your Zoysia plugs are resistant to most brand name weed killing herbicides. During Summer months a brand name "weed and feed" fertilizer will usually do a good job on weeds. Simply consult witsh your local nurseryman. If bermudagrass is found, dig it out - herbicides won't kill bermudagrass and it grows six times faster than Zoysia. Bermudagrass is a weed to Zoysiagrass growers! You should allow approximately two growing seasons for growth to full maturity after planting your Zoysia plugs.