Zoysia Brown

Think twice before planting Zoysia grass on a northern lawn, unless you really like that ‘straw brown’ color.

It’s that time of year when newspaper and magazine ads promote the idea of adding Zoysia grass to your lawn. The sales pitch can be quite convincing, but the photo encapsulates what those results look like for most of the year in western Pennsylvania.

During my years as a landscape contractor, we never planted Zoysia, spending far more time trying to get rid of Zoysia. “Trying” is the keyword. Descriptions of that grass as being “tough” are true — I recall using a Ryan sodcutter on one lawn where the heavy, 8 horsepower machine, had a hard time cutting 18-inch wide strips of Zoysia for removal.

The grass spreads, becoming extremely invasive across property lines. I recall the dedicated efforts one homeowner made to stop the invasion of Zoysia from a neighboring lawn — he even installed and maintained an above/below ground plastic barrier. Photos of his efforts are seen below:

I’ve also noticed how wild onions favor Zoysia lawns, creating a weedy appearance, with their vertical green growth. Next to planting invasive Bamboo, it might be the worst lawn decision you ever make, but in fairness, I have spoken with one person who really likes it.

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