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Summer Maintenance Tips For Your Zoysia Lawn

Summer Care Tips for Your Zoysia Lawn

During summer’s peak, maintaining a zoysia lawn properly is vital for its health and vibrancy. This involves mowing at the optimal height for zoysia, watering judiciously to prevent water-logging and choosing a fertilizer that meets the unique needs of zoysia under summer stress. Additionally, effective weed control, pest management and disease prevention tailored to zoysia grass will help keep your lawn thriving throughout the season.

Here are some of our top recommended tips for zoysia lawns this summer. Be sure to also keep up with our series of Homeowner Maintenance Guides for generic zoysiaEMPIRE® ZoysiaGeo® Zoysia, Innovation® Zoysia and CitraZoyTM Zoysia.

Want us to do some of the summer lawn care for you?

If so, check out the Lawnifi Complete Program! The Lawnifi Complete Program is a year-round subscription for seasonal lawn care delivered to your door. Our boxes include everything your lawn needs in one lawn care subscription. Products are curated by our turfgrass experts for each active growing season. Delivered spring, summer and fall.

1. Keep Up with Summer Mowing (and Reduce the Time Spent on This Chore)

Man Napping In Hammock Beside Lawn Mower

Summer mowing can be exhausting due to the heat and physical effort, especially since lawns need frequent cuts to prevent the grass from becoming too tough to mow if it grows too tall.

For zoysia grass, recommended mowing heights are 1–2 inches, but if it’s in partial shade, aim for 2–2.5 inches. See our Sod Solutions Zoysia varieties’ mowing heights:

  • EMPIRE Zoysia: 1–2 inches
  • CitraZoy Zoysia: 1–2 inches
  • Innovation Zoysia: 0.5–1.5 inches
  • Geo Zoysia: 0.5–1.5 inches

Always trim no more than a third of the leaf blade to avoid stressing and browning the grass. If you go on a vacation or break and your grass gets too tall while you’re gone, mow gradually to the desired height, allowing 3–5 days between mowings. Taller blades benefit the lawn by shading the root system and retaining moisture.

Tip: For strategies to reduce mowing time in the heat, check out our guide — How to Mow Your Lawn Less During the Summer.

2. Keep Your Heat-Stressed Zoysia Strong with the Right Summer Fertilizer

Zoysia grasses need seasonal nutrients due to changing temperatures and soil conditions. In summer, zoysia may experience stress from the heat, necessitating a summer lawn fertilizer with appropriate nutrients but less nitrogen to avoid growth that can’t withstand the heat and potential scorched spots from excess sunlight.

Sod University suggests one of two summer fertilizers:

  1. Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box: This liquid fertilizer program includes one bottle of Maintain (16-0-4) to strengthen your lawn with potassium, amino acids and carbon, and two bottles of Recover (13-0-0) to provide a balance of nutrients and essential micronutrients like manganese, iron, sulfur and carbon for summer resilience. The bottles easily attach to a garden hose for application.
  2. Lawnifi Foundation: A 25-pound bag of granular fertilizer with a 29-0-5 NPK ratio, ideal for lawns and gardens, feeding for three months. It contains 2 percent iron for plant oxygenation and slow-release nitrogen to gradually nourish zoysia without nitrogen overload.

Both products cover 5,000 sq. ft.

Summer Fertilizer Box

Lawnifi is a liquid fertilizer program powered by Catalyst Technology. For optimal results, feed your lawn monthly during the active growing season (spring, summer, fall). Simply attach a hose to the sprayer top and apply evenly to your lawn.

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3. Make Sure Your Zoysia is Hydrated…But Not Too Hydrated

Despite the temptation to water more in summer, zoysia grasses typically need only 1 inch of water weekly, including rainfall, to avoid disease-promoting waterlogged conditions. Aim for one or two deep waterings early in the morning each week to minimize dew duration and reduce disease risk and take rainfall into consideration.

Watering in the early morning decreases the amount of time dew is present, which is helpful for managing any potential disease outbreaks. Unsure of measuring water? Try an irrigation audit. If heat stress appears, top dressing may help cool and protect your lawn.

Irrigation Watering Lawn With Sprinkle Summer

4. Be Cautious with Weed Control

Applying weed control to zoysia grass in summer can harm it, especially when temperatures exceed 85°F. It’s safer to apply post-emergent herbicides when it’s cooler and use pre-emergent herbicides in spring and fall to manage seasonal weeds.

If below 85°F, you can cautiously apply post-emergent herbicides, but it’s advised to wait for cooler fall conditions to avoid risk, as subsequent hot days can still cause damage.

For more details, see How to Control Weeds During the Summer. Common summer weeds include knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, crabgrass, goosegrass, nutsedge and sandspur.

Pictured above: Goosegrass.

 Be sure to read herbicide labels thoroughly before application.

Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns + Crabgrass Killer

Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns + Crabgrass Killer is a post-emergent herbicide that kills over 470 types of common lawn weeds including chickweed, yellow nutsedge, crabgrass, foxtail and dandelion. Available in a single quart bottle.

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5. Watch Out for Insect Infestations or Damage

Summer is peak season for lawn-damaging insects, not just fire ants or mosquitoes, but also grub worms, mole crickets, billbugs and spittlebugs, among others. Each insect presents unique symptoms; for instance, billbug infestations in zoysia grass resemble drought damage with yellowing grass, while grub worm issues may be indicated by increased mole activity, as moles feed on them.

Pictured above: A hunting billbug .

Early summer is the time to apply preventive insecticides against grubs, with products like Acelepryn targeting the larvae of beetles such as the Japanese and May/June beetles.

Mole cricket damage is noticeable through their soil-upheaving tunnels and brown, dying grass. Billbug damage, often mistaken for irrigation issues, can be confirmed by the “tug test” where affected grass pulls away easily. Spittlebugs are identifiable by their hopping movement and the white frothy masses they leave on grass and ornamentals. Sod webworms, active from May to July, eat grass blades leaving only the veining, resulting in a “skeletonized” appearance.

It’s crucial to read insect control product labels carefully before application. For more on lawn insect identification and management, see Insect Identification.

Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application. 

Bifen L/P Insecticide Granules

Bifen L/P is a professional granular pesticide made available for the homeowner and used to control the most common insects including ants, fleas, ticks, crickets and others. Available as a 25 lb. bag.

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6. Relax About Zoysia Disease Control—But Don’t Overwater!

Disease outbreaks in zoysia lawns, such as large patch and dollar spot, are rare but can occur with summer overwatering.

Disease Damage Grass

Pictured above: Large patch in EMPIRE Zoysia.

While fungicides can treat these diseases, preventive cultural practices from our Zoysia Homeowner Maintenance Guides can enhance lawn health and resistance to pests and diseases. Before using any disease control products, it’s crucial to read their labels carefully. For more information on these lawn diseases, see Identifying Common Lawn Diseases.

Heritage G Granular Fungicide

Heritage G Granular Fungicide is a broad-spectrum systemic fungicide that prevents and cures a variety of turfgrass diseases for up to 28 days. Available in 10 lb. and 30 lb. bags.

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And remember…if you want lawn care made simple, the Lawnifi Complete Subscription provides your lawn with what it needs during the current season and for years to come.

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