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. For those of us who own zoysia grass, summer lawn care is of utmost importance.
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 zoysia, EMPIRE® Zoysia, Geo® Zoysia, Innovation® Zoysia and CitraZoyTM Zoysia.
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1. Keep Up with Summer Mowing (and Reduce the Time Spent on This Chore)
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. Take a look at the mowing heights for our Sod Solutions zoysia varieties below.
- EMPIRE Zoysia: 1–2 inches
- CitraZoy Zoysia: 1–2 inches
- Innovation Zoysia: 0.5–1.5 inches
- Geo Zoysia: 0.5–1.5 inches
A good rule of thumb is to never remove more than a third of the leaf blade at a time. 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.
Note: Get ahead of summer mowing and check out our tips on reducing time spent mowing your lawn as it gets hotter outside: How to Mow Your Lawn Less During the Summer.
2. Keep Your Heat-Stressed Zoysia Strong with the Right Summer Fertilizer
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 zoysia 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 by using a summer lawn fertilizer.
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, however, 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.
Option 1: Our first recommendation is the Lawnifi® Summer Fertilizer Box, a liquid fertilizer program designed to give zoysia 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 zoysia 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.
Option 2: The next recommendation we have is Lawnifi Foundation, a granular fertilizer option that comes in a 25-pound bag and feeds 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 zoysia 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?.
3. Make Sure Your Zoysia is Hydrated…But Not Too Hydrated
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.
4. Be Cautious with 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.
If temperatures are consistently below 85 degrees, it’s generally safe to apply post-emergent herbicides for any summer annual and perennial weeds. However, we suggest waiting until it gets closer to the fall season. If temperatures are low one day and exceed 85 degrees in the following days, the grass is still vulnerable to damage from the herbicide.
Learn more in How to Control Weeds During the Summer.
Pictured above from left to right: Knotweed, spurge, lespedeza and crabgrass.
Pictured above from left to right: Goosegrass, nutsedge and sandspur.
Be sure to read herbicide labels thoroughly before application.
5. Watch Out for Insect Infestations or Damage
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.
Pictured above from left to right: A grub worm, mole cricket, hunting billbug and spittlebug.
Symptoms of an insect invasion differs from insect to insect. For example, signs of a billbug infestation, which is common for zoysia grasses, have symptoms that look similar to drought damage such as the yellowing of turf.
A common way to identify a grub worm problem, on the other hand, is by seeing an increase in burrowing mammals, like moles, that are feeding on them. You can also dig a little in your lawn and spot them that way.
June is about the time to apply a preventative insecticide for grub worms because the adult beetles like the Japanese beetle or May/June beetle start flying around and drop eggs at this time. Apply a systemic insecticide like Acelepryn to prevent and treat grub worms.
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.
As previously stated, the hunting billbug can be a large nuisance for zoysia lawns. Symptoms resemble drought damage 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 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 jumping around. Another big sign of spittlebugs is noticing a white, frothy substance in the blades of grass or on garden ornamentals. These look like masses of sticky bubbles that are produced by spittlebug nymphs hiding from other predators.
Lastly, sod webworms and other leaf-eating caterpillars can be a problem between the months of May and July depending on where you live. Sod webworms do what is called “skeletonizing” a grass blade so that only the veining structure remains. They do this by eating the green out of the blade and leaving it transparent looking.
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.
Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin – 1 Quart – Ready to Spray$32.95
Natural Guard Spinosad – 1 Quart – Ready to Spray$32.95
Merit Imidacloprid .5G Granular Insecticide$57.95
Imidacloprid 2F Select T/I$64.95
Product on saleComplete Lawn Bundle – Spring, Summer, & FallFrom: $599.00 / year
6. Relax About Zoysia Disease Control—But Don’t Overwater!
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.
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.
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!
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.