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Common Types of Zoysia Grass

Selecting the ideal zoysia grass for your lawn involves considering various types, each suited to different environments. For example, EMPIRE® Zoysia excels in drought-prone areas, while Innovation® Zoysia is better for shaded lawns. Explore more about the diverse zoysia sod options available.

Looking to buy new St. zoysia sod? Use the Sod Sales Tool below to request a free quote. Start by entering in your address and amount of square feet you need to cover.
Types of Zoysia Grass

Zoysia, native to parts of Asia, includes eight species named after botanist Karl von Zois. In the U.S., the common types are Zoysia japonica, Zoysia matrella, and Zoysia tenuifolia, differing in cold tolerance, texture and growth rate.

Pictured above from left to right: Zoysia japonica, Zoysia matrella and Zoysia tenuifolia.

EMPIRE Zoysia

EMPIRE Zoysia Growing Zone Map

EMPIRE Zoysia, a Brazilian Zoysia japonica variety, is suited for a wide range of applications, particularly in the southern U.S., thanks to its improved disease resistance and ability to thrive in tropical climates.

It’s a low maintenance grass that features a blue-green color, and has a wider blade than many zoysias. Adaptable to various soils and climates, EMPIRE is known for its strong sod, durability and drought tolerance. It has moderate shade tolerance, is resistant to chinch bugs, and shows improved tolerance to large patch disease.

Additionally, it is highly tolerant of most herbicides, facilitating easier weed control. EMPIRE Zoysia is a patented product of Sod Solutions, Inc.

EMPIRE Zoysia Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns with 6–8 hours of sunlight, golf, parks and commercial landscapes
  • Mow Height: 1–2 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Very Good
  • Injury Recovery: Very Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Very Good

More Information on EMPIRE Zoysia:

Where to Buy EMPIRE Zoysia

Innovation Zoysia

Innovation Zoysia Growing Zone Map

Innovation Zoysia, developed by Kansas State University and Texas A&M University, is a cold-tolerant and versatile grass that thrives in the transition zone, outperforming Geo® Zoysia. It is hardy, shade-tolerant, easy to maintain and features a fine-bladed, dark green appearance with a soft feel.

Created to surpass the Meyer variety, Innovation is a cross between Zoysia japonica and the finer-bladed, denser Zoysia matrella, offering better cold, disease and insect resistance. It establishes and recovers faster than Meyer, maintains color into fall, greens up earlier in spring, and provides superior shade tolerance. Innovation Zoysia is patented by Sod Solutions, Inc.

Innovation Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Golf, parks, commercial landscapes and home lawns
  • Mow Height: 1–2 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Good
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Very Good

More Information on Innovation Zoysia:

Where to Buy Innovation Zoysia

CitraZoy Zoysia

CitraZoy® Zoysia, developed by the University of Florida and patented by Sod Solutions, Inc., is a low-maintenance, fine-bladed grass with superior fall color retention and spring green-up. It requires less mowing than other fine-bladed zoysias and remains green longer. CitraZoy is resilient during droughts, doesn’t become as dense, avoids thatch build-up, and has enhanced disease resistance, making it easier to maintain an attractive appearance year-round.

CitraZoy Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Golf, parks, commercial and home lawns
  • Mow Height: 1–3 inches but we generally recommend 1–2 inches
  • Disease Tolerance: Excellent
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Very Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Excellent

More Information About CitraZoy Zoysia:

Where to Buy CitraZoy Zoysia

Geo Zoysia

Geo Zoysia Growing Zone Map

Geo Zoysia, a fine-bladed, deep green grass patented by Sod Solutions, Inc., is bred from Zoysia japonica and Zoysia tenuifolia. Renowned for its beauty, shade and wear tolerance, it’s ideal for residential lawns, thriving in various soils and climates with less thatch build-up. Despite requiring slightly more upkeep, it promises to enhance lawn aesthetics significantly.

Geo Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Golf, parks, commercial and home lawns
  • Mow Height: .5–1.5 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Very Good
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Very Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Very Good

More Information About Geo Zoysia:

Geo Zoysia Maintenance

Where to Buy Geo Zoysia

Meyer Zoysia

Meyer Zoysia Growing Zone Map

Meyer Zoysia, a medium-bladed grass, has been popular in the southern U.S. for over 60 years due to its dense, dark green turf and good cold tolerance, especially in the transition zone. While it grows well in partial shade and suits areas with hot summers and cold winters, Meyer is more disease-prone and less cold tolerant compared to varieties like Innovation Zoysia. It also recovers more slowly from damage and is no longer licensed, thus lacking strict growing regulations.

Meyer Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Parks, commercial landscapes and home lawns
  • Mow Height: 1.0–1.5 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Good
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Very Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
Where to Buy Meyer Zoysia

Palisades Zoysia

Palisades Zoysia Growing Zone Map

Palisades Zoysia, developed by Texas A&M University, is a medium-to-coarse textured grass known for drought resistance and dense turf, making it low-maintenance and ideal for home lawns. Though less shade tolerant than finer zoysias, it excels in heat, salt tolerance and cold hardiness, with good fall color retention. Its quick establishment and recovery make it highly wear-resistant, suitable for high-traffic areas.

Palisades Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns, parks, golf, commercial and residential landscapes
  • Mow Height: 1–2 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Very Good
  • Injury Recovery: Very Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought Tolerance: Very Good
Where to Buy Palisades Zoysia

Zeon Zoysia

Zeon Zoysia Growing Zone Map

Zeon® Zoysia, patented by The Turfgrass Group, Inc., is a fine-bladed cultivar designed for superior performance in both the lower South’s heat and the cooler transition zone. It boasts increased shade tolerance, fast spread rate, low thatch production, and high resistance to pests and diseases. With its dense growth, Zeon effectively suppresses weeds, requires minimal maintenance, and can be mowed with a standard rotary machine, offering an exceptionally fine texture for landscapes.

Zeon Zoysia Characteristics

  • Ideal Use: Golf, parks, commercial landscapes and home lawns
  • Mow Height: 1.5 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Excellent
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Very Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Good

Where to Buy Zeon Zoysia

Zorro Zoysia

Zorro Zoysia Growing Zone Map

Zorro Zoysia, patented by King Ranch Turfgrass, is a fine-bladed, dark green grass ideal for residential lawns, especially in the southern U.S. It stands out for its superior shade tolerance, thriving with just 3–4 hours of sunlight and has excellent fall color retention. Zorro is soft to the touch, resistant to common pests, and adaptable to both full sun and partial shade. It requires minimal water and can be mowed with either a reel or rotary mower, making it a low-maintenance choice.

Zorro Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Home lawns, commercial landscapes and parks
  • Mow Height: 1-2 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Very Good
  • Injury Recovery: Not Sure
  • Shade Tolerance: Good
  • Drought Tolerance: Very Good
Where to Buy Zorro Zoysia

El Toro Zoysia

El Toro Growing Zone Map

El Toro is a medium-bladed, lighter green zoysia grass known for its dense canopy and durability under heavy traffic. It grows slower vertically, reducing mowing needs for homeowners. Despite its slow initial growth, it’s heat-tolerant, disease-resistant and thrives in various soils and hot temperatures. El Toro is also notable for its excellent shade tolerance, drought resistance and low water and maintenance requirements.

El Toro Zoysia Characteristics:

  • Ideal Use: Golf, commercial landscapes and home lawns
  • Mow Height: 1.5–2.5 inches
  • Wear Tolerance: Good
  • Injury Recovery: Good
  • Shade Tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
Where to Buy El Toro Zoysia

For homeowners who love zoysia grass, selecting the right variety is important for a successful yard. Understanding different zoysia cultivars ensures a thriving lawn suited to your environment. Utilizing resources like this guide and the right fertilizers, such as the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box, can enhance your lawn care. Ultimately, zoysia grass varieties offer adaptability and durability, making them ideal for vibrant, warm season lawns.

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