Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I rejuvenate or repair dead spots in my zoysia grass lawn?

The method of renovation or rejuvenation of a zoysia grass lawn depends on the amount of damage sustained and the time of year that it has occurred.

If your zoysia grass lawn has completely died or has thin or dead spots it in, the first step prior to any renovation should be to figure out what caused the decline or death of the lawn area(s) in the first place.

The cultural requirements of zoysia grass, a warm-season grass, are totally different from that of cool-season grasses. Additionally, there are specific insects and diseases that affect zoysia grass.

Answers in our FAQ’s on the following questions may help you determine the cause(s) of the death or decline of the zoysia.

In the St. Louis area, the best time of year to renovate or rejuvenate a zoysia grass lawn is from late May through June. This is also the correct time of the year to dethatch or core aerify an established zoysia grass lawn.

If the lawn area that needs renovation is completely dead, the old sod will need to be removed and discarded. This is best done with the use of a sod cutting machine.

After removal of the sod, the soil will need to be properly prepared prior to plugging or laying new sod. See “How do I grow a zoysia grass lawn?

If the damaged turf has a mix of live and dead areas, you can add plugs here and there to speed up fill in of the thinner areas. Proper maintenance practices will encourage the process, but be aware that warm-season grasses such as zoysia grass are slow to recover and again become a thick stand of grass.

If the dead areas or damage doesn’t occur or isn’t noticed until late summer or early fall, replanting of the zoysia grass needs to wait until the following year.

Zoysia grass goes dormant from first frost to mid-May and cannot be sodded or plugged in the fall.  The sod or plugs would not root in and just die over winter.

Areas that have totally died will need to be sodded or plugged in late May or June as described above. Lawns that have a mix of live and dead areas may fill in as growth resumes in May and June. Adding a plug here and there and following proper maintenance practices will speed up fill in.

So, what can be done for a zoysia grass lawn in the fall?  The answer is, not much. You can’t replant or plug these areas in fall but you can use the opportunity to kill and remove any perennial weeds or cool season grass weeds, such as fescue, that may have invaded these areas with a glyphosate product in fall or spring before embarking on the renovation process in late May.

If looking at the dead areas for another 7 to 8 months is unacceptable, one option would be to power-rake and overseed the dead areas with a cool season “temporary” grass such as annual or perennial ryegrass.  With this option, you would want to kill off the cool season grass with a glyphosate product in the spring before embarking on the renovation process in late May or, in the case of perennial ryegrass, it will become a weed in your zoysia grass lawn.