Weeds that invade your zoysia grass lawn are an inevitable part of lawn care. Your grass is going to constantly need water, sunlight and contact with soil. These requirements also happen to be the same things a weed needs to grow, so it’s normal for a few to pop up.
Fortunately, zoysia grass is one of the more weed resistant types of grasses because it forms a really dense canopy that chokes out weeds. Even the finer-bladed zoysia grasses are somewhat prone to thatch, which creates a thick canopy that sunlight can’t always break through to help weeds photosynthesize.
Weeds can still show up in your zoysia grass lawn and create an unsightly yard, though. In fact, each grass type is more vulnerable to certain types of weeds than others. A few common weeds that homeowners tend to notice include clover or dandelion. Understanding more about the different types of weeds that show up in a zoysia lawn will arm you with the knowledge you need to fight them off.
Read below for information on common weeds that show up in zoysia grass lawns, cultural control methods, pre-emergent control methods and post-emergent control methods.
Common Weeds in Zoysia Grass Lawns
There are a few common broadleaf and grassy weeds found in zoysia grass lawns. Broadleaf weeds, as the names suggests, are weeds that have thicker leaves like dandelions. Grassy weeds have blades that closely resemble grass and can sometimes be a little harder to locate since they blend in with your lawn.
The most common broadleaf weeds found in zoysia grass lawns are dandelion and clover. Other potential weeds that may show up are chickweed, henbit, spurge, wild onion and plantain.
Pictured above from left to right: Dandelion, clover, chickweed, henbit, spurge, wild onion and plantain.
Pictured above from left to right: Nutsedge, crabgrass, goosegrass and dallisgrass.
Having the ability to identify the kind of weed you are dealing with provides you with insight on which control products to use—especially when you’re dealing with a lot of weeds. Once you know the name of the weed, you can browse herbicide labels to see which products will treat them. Be sure to read the product labels thoroughly so that you know if the chemical can be applied to your lawn without damaging the grass. Follow the product label’s instructions upon application. For more information, read Identifying Common Lawn Weeds. It is important to know that there are a few cultural, non-chemical control methods for weed control you can use as well.
Cultural Methods of Weed Control in Zoysia Grass
The first and most important tip for fighting off weeds in your zoysia lawn is keeping it healthy with regular maintenance practices. This includes mowing at the right times and at an appropriate height of 0.5–2 inches. Ideal mowing heights for zoysia slightly vary from brand to brand, but generally speaking, a height of 0.5–2 inches is optimal.
Mowing reduces the chances for weeds to sprout seed heads and spread. It also gives you the chance to walk every part of your lawn regularly so you can keep an eye out on other potential weeds. Be sure to bag up the grass clippings. Although spreading bag clippings on your lawn can serve as vital nutrition for your lawn, it also places any seed heads you just mowed right back into your grass. Sometimes mowing your own lawn in place of paying someone else to do it helps because they won’t be bringing over a mower with leftover grass clippings on the blades of the mower. These leftover grass clippings and seed heads can find their way into your lawn and create weeds. This is especially prevalent with leftover bermuda grass seed heads on mower blades.
Watch for any shaded areas in your lawn. Certain fine-bladed zoysia grasses continue to perform well in shade. However, shade can create bare spots in your lawn since the grass isn’t receiving sunlight. This in turn creates an open space in your grass’s canopy for weeds to grow.
Applying a fertilizer on your lawn may sound odd because it doesn’t directly reduce weeds—but it does help your grass form a dense, thick layer above the surface of the soil so that weeds have to compete for space. Apply fertilizer regularly to help your zoysia grass stay lush and healthy. Sod University recommends the Lawnifi® Fertilizer Program.
Applying pre-emergent herbicides in the spring and the fall to help out with any summer and winter weeds is a super helpful tip that will keep weeds from emerging in the first place. Pre-emergent herbicides, as the name suggests, keeps weeds from sprouting from the surface of the soil. Poa annua, for example, is a common annual winter weed that invades zoysia grass lawns year after year. Applying a pre-emergent for it helps to keep this pesky weed in check. Post-emergent herbicides, on the other hand, kill any currently existing weeds that might be plaguing your lawn. Plan ahead and prevent summer and winter weeds from appearing with the use of a pre-emergent herbicide.
Coverage: 0.5 gallon covers between 87,000–228,000 sq. ft.
Active Ingredient(s): Dithiopyr 24%.
Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with a sprayer.
Best Used On/For: Established turfgrass before broadleaf weeds appear.
Post-Emergent Weed Control in Zoysia Grass
In comparison to pre-emergent herbicides that prevent weeds from appearing, post-emergent herbicides control any currently existing weeds. After you’ve identified the type of weeds that are appearing in your zoysia grass, you can begin researching the best herbicide for that weed. Our blog on The Best Weed Killers for Home Lawns suggests a list of some of the best ones available.
It is important that you understand the difference between selective and non-selective herbicides as well. A selective herbicide will only kill the weeds listed on the product label. An example of a selective herbicide would be SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf or Drive XLR8. A non-selective herbicide, like glyphosate, will kill any and all plants the solution comes in contact with—including your grass. Be careful not to apply a non-selective herbicide to your zoysia grass unless you’re wanting to kill it too.
SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf is a prime example of an herbicide used for broadleaf weeds where as Fusilade II is mostly used for grassy weeds.