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Horticulture Questions and Answers

Home  >  Lawn Care  >  Selection, Culture and Care  >  When and how should I water my zoysia grass lawn?

When and how should I water my zoysia grass lawn?

Zoysia grass is relatively drought tolerant and does not need frequent watering. Frequent light watering can cause shallow roots, build up of thatch, and increased susceptibility to insects and disease.

Zoysia grass does not grow well in wet or poorly drained soils. The poor drainage of heavy clay soils may increase the difficulty of growing zoysia grass.

The water requirements of zoysia is about half of the amount required for a cool-season lawn.  Zoysia grass needs ½ to 1 inch of water per week either from rainfall or supplemental watering.

Homeowners who want to keep their zoysia lawn green and growing during the hot, dry summer months may need to water.

To avoid the pitfalls of frequent light watering, it’s much better to water your zoysia lawn thoroughly once per week or every other week rather than several times per week. Each watering should penetrate the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches.

To apply an inch of water it takes about 3 to 4 hours and requires a little over 600 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet. If applied all at one time, runoff may occur before proper water penetration is achieved. If this occurs, turn off the sprinkler and continue at a later time. If your hose is smaller or your water pressure lower than normal, it will take longer to water each area of your lawn.

One way to check your particular set-up is to place small straight sided tin cans at different locations in the sprinkling area. Catch the water for 1 hour. Then measure the depth of water in the can to calculate the rate of your sprinkler. This simple method will also give you an idea of the distribution pattern of your sprinkler.

A great deal of water is lost by evaporation when watering on a hot sunny afternoon. Watering in early morning is the recommended time both for saving water and for limiting foliar disease problems, which can be more prevalent when the foliage remains wet over night.

Established zoysia grass lawns that seem to need more water than described above may have excessive thatch. See our FAQ on “What is lawn thatch and how do I check for it?”

Newly sodded zoysia grass lawns may need to be watered more frequently than established lawns. The first week after laying the sod, begin watering on a less frequent basis to encourage deep rooting.