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Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Zoysia Lawn

Summer Maintenance Tips Zoysia Grass Lawn Mower

Summer is the season to enjoy the outdoors! Whether you’re spending it on beach day trips with your closest friends, hosting a neighborhood barbecue, chilling by the pool or hanging in the backyard with a couple of drinks in the evening, having a healthy lawn will impress any guests that come over. 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 and InnovationTM Zoysia.

Zoysia Grass Summer Mowing

Summer mowing is one of the most dreaded outdoor chores as temperatures rise and physical exertion becomes exhausting. It’s even more annoying that you have to keep up with frequent mowing because the lawn mower becomes harder to push if the grass gets too tall.

Zoysia mowing heights during the summer generally range from about 1–2 inches in height, however, if your zoysia is located in partial shade, keep the mowing height around 2–2.5 inches. EMPIRE Zoysia should be kept at a mowing height of 1–2 inches, and both Geo Zoysia and Innovation Zoysia should be kept at a mowing height of 0.5–1.5 inches. Never remove more than a third of the leaf blade. If more than this amount is removed, the grass will stress and turn brown for a short period of time.

If you are returning from a summer vacation, you may have to mow multiple times to get the grass back to its desired height. Be sure to wait about 3–5 days between each mowing. If you want to reduce the amount of time spent outside mowing your lawn as much as possible, check out our blog on Strategies for Reduced Mowing Inputs During the Summer.

Man Napping In Hammock Beside Lawn Mower
Zoysia Grass Summer Fertilization

Zoysia grass, as well as any type of turfgrass, requires different nutrients as seasons change. This is because outdoor temperatures change throughout the year and, as a result, so do soil conditions. Your lawn will more than likely endure some form of stress from the summer heat around this time. It’s important to feed the grass with the appropriate amount of nutrients to help out with this stressful period.

Grass requires less nitrogen in the summer than it would in the spring when it’s coming out of dormancy and trying to green up. Nitrogen promotes new growth, which will not survive in the heat of the summer. The wrong fertilizer combined with excess sunlight during the summer can easily cause scorched spots in your yard. Sod University recommends two different fertilizer options for the summer. You will only need to use one of the two options for summer fertilization. Using both at the same time may result in burns in your lawn.

The Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box is a liquid fertilizer program designed to give lawns the nutrients they need to survive and flourish during the hot summer months. With one bottle of Maintain and two bottles of Recover, the Summer Fertilizer Box’s application schedule will give your zoysia nutrition all summer long. Maintain’s 16-0-4 formulation works to fortify your lawn with potassium, amino acids and carbon. Recover’s 13-0-0 formulation was created to provide the optimal balance of nutrients to lawns as temperatures start to rise. In addition to nitrogen, Recover delivers critical micronutrients like soluble manganese, iron, sulfur and carbon, which help your lawn get through the dog days of summer. Each bottle of Lawnifi easily hooks right up to the end of your garden hose for an even spray application.

Lawnifi Foundation is a granular fertilizer option that comes in a 25 pound bag and lasts for three months. With a 29-0-5 NPK formulation, Lawnifi Foundation is the perfect granular fertilizer for lawns and gardens. The two percent iron included in Lawnifi Foundation’s mixture helps plants carry oxygen throughout the leaves, roots and other parts of the plants to promote a green, healthy lawn. Featuring slow-release nitrogen, Foundation gradually feeds your lawn over an extended period of time without overwhelming your lawn with nitrogen during the summer. Both Lawnifi Foundation and the Summer Fertilizer Box cover 5,000 sq. ft. Learn more in Granular vs. Liquid Fertilizers or by clicking on the two products below. For more generic information about the Lawnifi brand, read Why Use Lawnifi Fertilizer?.

Lawnifi Summer Box Bottle On Outside Deck
Zoysia Grass Summer Watering

The summer season comes with significantly warmer temperatures and a longer amount of time with sunlight. This frequently tempts homeowners to water the lawn more often to make sure it’s hydrated. This is not always recommended as waterlogged soils in warm climates are ideal environments for disease outbreaks. Despite the hot temperatures that occur during the summer, zoysia should only need about one inch of water on a weekly basis. This is best accomplished with one or two waterings a week. Water in the early mornings for longer periods of time, less frequently and take any rainfall into consideration. Watering your lawn in the early morning decreases the dew period. As a result, this also decreases the amount of time the grass blades are wet, which is a helpful disease management practice. If you aren’t sure how to measure one inch of water, consider conducting an easy irrigation audit. If the lawn seems to become too warm or starts accumulating scorched, brown spots, consider adding a layer of top dressing to keep it shaded and cool. Read more about this in How to Top Dress Your Lawn with Compost.

Irrigation Watering Lawn With Sprinkle Summer
Zoysia Grass Summer Weed Control

The summer season is one of the worst seasons for herbicide applications on any type of turfgrass. When temperatures reach or exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, herbicide chemicals will damage the grass. It’s best to wait until it gets cooler and apply a post-emergent herbicide to any weeds that are currently in your yard. In the future, apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to reduce summer weeds and be sure to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall to keep fall and winter weeds out. Learn more about the timing for herbicide applications in The Best and Worst Times for Herbicide Applications.

This doesn’t stop you from removing weeds during the summer altogether, though. You can always hand-pull or dig out the weeds. You can also spot-treat them with a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate or other non-selective alternatives. Be careful though—non-selective herbicides will kill any plant it comes in contact with whereas a selective herbicide, as its name suggests, will kill off certain types of weeds it’s labeled to treat. Glyphosate and other non-selective herbicides will kill any vegetation it comes in contact with…this includes your grass.

A few common weeds you might see during the summer are knotweedspurgelespedezacrabgrassgoosegrassdallisgrass, nutsedge and sandbur. If temperatures are below 85 degrees, it is safe to apply a post-emergent herbicide for any summer annual and perennial weeds. Be sure to read product labels thoroughly before application.

Pictured above from left to right: Knotweed, spurge, lespedeza and crabgrass.

Pictured above from left to right: Goosegrass, dallisgrass, nutsedge and sandbur.

  • Coverage: One bottle covers 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredient(s): 2,4-D, Dimethylamine salt 3.74%, Quinclorac 1.79%, Dicamba, dimethylamine salt 0.43%, Sulfentrazone 0.22%.
  • Ease of Use: Hooks up to the end of your garden hose for even spray application.
  • Best Used On/For: General outdoor weed control and crabgrass.
  • Coverage: One gallon covers between 71,000–171,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredient(s): 2, 4-D, 2-ethylhexyl ester 9.02%, Dichlorprop-p, 2-Ethylhexyl ester 5.19%, Dicamba acid 0.59%, Carfentrazone-ethyl 0.47 %.
  • Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.
  • Best Used On/For: Broadleaf control in established grasses.
  • Coverage: A 1/2 gallon bottle covers 44,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Dimethylamine salt of quinclorac: 3,7-dichloro-8-quinolinecarboxlic acid 18.92%
  • Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.
  • Best Used On/For: Broadcast and spot treatment applications for grassy weeds.
Zoysia Grass Summer Insect Control

This time of year is the absolute worst time for insect invasions. Bugs like fire ants or mosquitos aren’t the only ones to watch out for—there are a lot of insects that can cause severe damage to your lawn. Some of the most common summer insects include grub wormsmole cricketsbillbugs and spittlebugs.

Pictured above from left to right: A grub worm, mole cricket, hunting billbug and spittlebug.

Grub worms are the main insects to watch out for at this time. Preventative treatments for grub worms can be made anytime around June, which is around the time adult beetles start flying around and laying eggs. Apply a systemic insecticide like Merit 0.5G to prevent grubs from taking over. If you currently notice grub worms in your lawn, Scotts GrubEx or Dylox 6.2 can be applied as a curative treatment.

Although mole crickets are frequently spotted in the fall, they can also invade zoysia grass during the summer. A mole cricket infestation can be identified by their tunnels which push up soil and grass, as well as the presence of brown and dying grass due to mole cricket feeding habits.

Billbugs and spittlebugs can be a problem in zoysia lawns during the summer as well. Signs of a billbug infestation can often be confused with drought or poor irrigation. Rule out poor irrigation by conducting the “tug” test. Pull up from the middle section of the damaged grass and be sure to grab as much grass blade as possible. You should be pulling from the base of the grass blades. If it comes up very easily, that is a sign of billbug damage. Spittlebugs, however, are easy to spot because they’re usually hopping around the yard. Walk through the yard to disturb them and see if you can spot any. Another big sign of spittlebugs is by noticing a white, frothy substance in the blades of grass or on garden ornamentals. These look like masses of sticky bubbles and they’re produced by spittlebug nymphs hiding from other predators.

Some of the insect control products listed below are labeled to treat these common insects. Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application. Learn more about different types of lawn insects in Insect Identification.

  • Coverage: One bottle covers 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Gamma Cyhalothrin 0.08%.
  • Ease of Use: Hooks up to the end of your garden hose for even spray application.
  • Best Used On/For: Outdoor general insect control.
  • Coverage: 30 lbs. cover between 16,000–21,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredient: Imidacloprid 0.5%.
  • Ease of Use: Requires a drop or broadcast spreader for application.
  • Best Used On/For: General outdoor insect control.
  • Coverage: One quart covers between 106,000–458,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredient: Bifenthrin 25.1%.
  • Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and spray application.
  • Best Used On/For: Pre- and post-construction termite treatments, turf and ornamentals and outdoor perimeter pest control.
Zoysia Grass Summer Fungus Control

Disease outbreaks in zoysia lawns are pretty uncommon at this time. They can still happen though—especially if you overwater your lawn during the summer. The most common of them in zoysia at this time are large patch and dollar spot, which occur when conditions are warm and wet.

Disease Damage Grass

Pictured above: Large patch in EMPIRE Zoysia.

Although certain chemical solutions found in fungicides have the ability to cure lawn disease, there are a few cultural methods you can perform to keep disease outbreaks from occurring beforehand. These cultural methods are common maintenance practices found in our Zoysia Homeowner Maintenance Guides. Overtime, they promote a healthy lawn that can withstand stressors and fight off things like insects or disease.

However, there are a few recommended disease control products we’ve listed below. Be sure to read the label thoroughly before application. You can learn more about these diseases in Identifying Common Lawn Diseases.

  • Coverage: One bottle covers 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredients(s): Propiconazole 1.45% and Lamda-cyhalothrin 0.08%.
  • Ease of Use: Hooks up to your garden hose for an even spray application.
  • Best Used On/For: Outdoor topical/contact fungus and general insect control.
  • Coverage: 10 lbs. covers between 2,500–5,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredients(s): Azoxystrobin 0.31%.
  • Ease of Use: Requires a drop or broadcast spreader for application.
  • Best Used On/For: Systemic strobilurin fungicide used to control certain turfgrass diseases.
  • Coverage: 2 lbs. covers between 21,000–53,000 sq. ft.
  • Active Ingredients(s): Trifloxystrobin 8.33%, Tradimefon 41.68%.
  • Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and spray application.
  • Best Used On/For: Preventative disease control.

Summer maintenance tips for your zoysia lawn are mostly about keeping it healthy and stress-free during the hot summer temperatures. This will help it continue to thrive when temperatures eventually cool down and we enter into the fall season. We will see you back here in the fall for our updated fall maintenance tips for zoysia grass lawns.

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