Looking for EMPIRE Zoysia Grass Seed? You Won’t Find It!
One of the most common questions we get here at Sod Solutions is about EMPIRE® Zoysia grass seed. The thing is, there’s no such thing!
If you poke around online, you’ll likely come across products that claim to be EMPIRE Zoysia grass seed, but they are all fake. EMPIRE Zoysia is only sold as sod material (plugs, sprig, rolls, slabs, etc.) because it’s grown vegetatively.
Pictured above: EMPIRE Zoysia plugs.
Where to Buy EMPIRE Zoysia Grass Seed
There are several advantages and disadvantages to each propagation method (vegetative sod or plugs vs. seed) that this blog post will not address.
Instead, this blog will address the fact that there is not a seed option for EMPIRE Zoysia when establishing a lawn. You can read more about the differences between various methods of installation in the Sod University article on When to Use Sod, Plugs or Seed.
Alternatives to EMPIRE Zoysia Grass Seed
EMPIRE Zoysia does in fact produce some seed, but the problem is that it does not produce enough seed material to sell it commercially. If you’re looking for an alternative, consider purchasing EMPIRE Zoysia plugs, which are small clumps of grass that can be spaced out and grown into a dense sod canopy over time.
Another technical issue that makes it difficult to produce enough EMPIRE Zoysia seed for sale, is the fact that zoysia seeds do NOT germinate very well. So, if you were by some miracle, able to find 1-pound of EMPIRE Zoysia seed, you could only get less than ⅓ of that seed to germinate and be useful to you. In a nutshell: it is hard to produce, expensive to buy and does not germinate well. That’s why you won’t find EMPIRE Zoysia seeds on the market to buy.
Plugs are actually a great alternative to seed because they can be more cost effective and can grow into deep, dense patches of grass more quickly than seeds do. A grass plug is an individual turf plant that is grown in a tray; their size can vary, but generally an individual plug measures anywhere between 1.5–3 inches in length/width.
Planted from 9–12 inches apart, they will continue to spread and fill in over time, creating a solid ground cover of your preferred grass type.
If you’re interested in plugs as a cheaper alternative to installing sod, learn more about grass plugs in the Sod University article, What are Grass Plugs and When to Use Them.
Although other zoysia grasses, like Compadre, do produce enough seed to be sold commercially, the quality of these zoysia grasses are not on par with EMPIRE and as previously mentioned, zoysia seeds don’t germinate well. Some of the ways that EMPIRE is superior to Compadre include its striking green color, dense growth pattern and durability. Homeowners also love how EMPIRE Zoysia is drought tough and disease resistant. Learn more about EMPIRE here.
How EMPIRE Zoysia is Propagated
Sod farms propagate EMPIRE Zoysia vegetatively, as they do most warm season grasses. Sod farms cultivate new EMPIRE sod fields by planting small plantlets (plugs/sprigs) of EMPIRE, which grow into a full field of sod in 8–12 months depending on the latitude of the sod farm. Take a look at the video below to see the process of how farmers sprig warm season grasses using slabs of sod.
Once the sod is harvested, the sod farmers leave ribbons of grass or grow it back from rhizomes left in the field, which then re-grow into a full field of sod in a little less time than the original field grew in.
So sure, EMPIRE is not sold in seed form, but it is so much better than the other options out there! EMPIRE is the #1 zoysia grass for a reason, and there are many other ways to install EMPIRE. Trust us, it’s worth it!