Zoysia vs. Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass are two of the most common turfgrass species, but what is at the core of these two species that makes them so different from one another? In this guide, we will take a look at both of them and see how they stack up against each other.

Definitions

Zoysia grass has a fine leaf blade that is similar to carpetgrass. When properly maintained, Zoysia spreads by stolons and forms a thick turf. It grows very slowly under high-maintenance regimes, but it does have an excellent tolerance for heat and cold, shade, drought (it requires less water than other warm-season grasses), heavy traffic stress, low fertility conditions (zoysia grasses are naturally low maintenance plants), salt spray exposure in coastal areas, as well as salinity due to poor drainage or irrigation with saline.

Bermuda grass is a warm-season perennial grass that is commonly used for lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields. It spreads through rhizomes and forms dense turf when properly maintained. Bermuda grass has excellent tolerance for heat and drought.

Zoysia Grass vs Bermuda: The Showdown

On the face of it, these two grass species might seem to have a lot in common. Zoysia and Bermuda are both warm-season grasses — meaning they like high temperatures (both when young and mature) and do not tolerate low temperatures.

That said, there are differences between zoysia grass and Bermuda grass that should be considered before making a choice about which to install for your lawn.

Climate

Zoysia grows well in warmer areas, such as southern California, Florida, Hawaii, and Arizona. It thrives in areas where the temperature is warm year-round, although it can withstand mild winters if properly maintained. Zoysia is not cold-tolerant and will die off if it gets too cold.

Bermuda, on the other hand, does well in hot climates with long summers that receive at least 8 hours of sunlight each day. Bermuda also likes full sun and does not grow well at all in the shade. If you live in a northern climate where the summers are shorter or the temperatures drop significantly during the winter months, then Bermuda may be a poor choice for your yard.

Appearance

Zoysia is known for having a thick, lush appearance that makes it ideal for golf courses and sports fields. It has a dark green color that looks healthy and vibrant when it is properly maintained and mowed correctly.

Bermuda has a medium to fine texture and a green color that is slightly lighter than Zoysia. Bermuda grass can also grow quite tall if it is not mowed regularly, so it may need to be trimmed more often than Zoysia.

Growth

Zoysia grass is also much slower growing than Bermuda grass, so it may not be the best option if you’re looking for a quick fix.

Bermuda grass is known for its fast growth rate. In fact, it can grow an inch per day. It grows quickly but can be hard to keep under control.

Maintenance

The key difference between these two types of grass is that Zoysia grows slower than Bermuda and therefore does not require frequent mowing.

Bermuda may need to be mowed once a week during the spring or summer growing season, while Zoysia only needs to be cut every 10 to 14 days during those seasons.

Both types are dormant during the winter season when they do not need to be mowed. However, Bermuda requires less maintenance overall since it stretches out in its habit.

Zoysias are naturally low-maintenance plants, which means not only does it take longer for them to grow, but they also require less mowing when growing.

Drought-resistant

Bermuda Grass has a very deep rooting system that allows it to withstand prolonged periods of drought better than zoysia grass. Zoysia Grass requires extra water during hot and dry periods to prevent it from going dormant and turning brown.

Costs

The initial costs for zoysia grass installation may be higher than those associated with bermuda grass because it requires specialized equipment such as sod cutters or slit seeders (both expensive). However, over time this cost difference will become negligible because less fertilizer needs to be applied to Zoysia, and it does not need to be overseeded as often.

Traffic

Zoysia is an ideal lawn grass if you want something that will stand up to heavy foot traffic and wear from children or pets playing on it all day long.

Salt exposure

Zoysia has a higher tolerance for salt spray exposure in coastal areas and some types are more shade tolerant than Bermuda grasses.

Watering

Zoysia grasses also require less water than Bermuda grass, but they don’t do well in cold climates.

Fertilizer

Zoysia grass is not a heavy feeder and does not require as much fertilizer as Bermuda. Zoysia will grow well in most soil types, but it needs at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive.

Pests

Both kinds of grass are susceptible to different pests, including chinch bugs, sod webworms and billbugs. Zoysia is also susceptible to brown patches, a fungal disease that causes circular patches of dead grass.

Zoysia Grass vs Bermuda: The Verdict

Zoysia grass is a great option for homeowners who want a beautiful lawn that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It has excellent tolerance for heat, drought, shade, and salt exposure, making it the perfect choice for climates with varying conditions.

If you live in an area with extreme temperatures or have a high traffic area, Bermuda grass may be a better option. However, keep in mind that Bermuda requires more frequent mowing and fertilizing and can be difficult to control when it starts to spread rapidly. Here you can find the best Bermuda Grass seed

Pros and cons of Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass

When it comes to these grasses, there are a few things you need to take into account. Both types of grass have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them up before making a decision. Here is a breakdown of the main points:

Zoysia Grass Pros:

  • Zoysia is a very hardy grass, meaning it can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
  • It’s also drought-tolerant, which makes it ideal for areas that don’t get a lot of rain.
  • Zoysia is known for its deep roots, so it doesn’t need to be mowed as often as other types of grass.

 

Zoysia Grass Cons:

  • Zoysia can be a bit invasive, so you need to make sure you have enough space for it to grow.
  • It also needs regular watering in order to stay healthy.

 

Bermuda Grass Pros:

  • Bermuda is resistant to pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance option.
  • It’s also drought-tolerant, so it can withstand periods of little rainfall.
  • Bermuda grows quickly, so you won’t have to wait long for it to become established.

 

Bermuda Grass Cons:

  • Bermuda can be quite invasive, so you need to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t take over your garden. It can overtake other grasses and you’ll need to know how to get rid of Bermuda Grass.
  • It also needs regular watering in order to stay healthy.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

When is the best time to plant Zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass can be planted at any time during the growing season.

What is the difference between Zoysia and Bermuda grass?

Zoysia is a finer textured grass that does not require as much maintenance as Bermuda. Zoysia also has a lower tolerance to drought and will go dormant in hot, dry weather, while Bermuda will stay green. Zoysia is better for areas with moderate climates, while Bermuda is better for tropical and subtropical climates.

How much sun does Zoysia need?

Zoysia needs at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to grow properly. Even though Zoysia can grow in the shade, full sun will give you a thicker, healthier lawn that requires less maintenance and watering than Zoysia grass grown under trees or other shaded conditions would require.

Can you plant Zoysia on an existing lawn?

Yes, Zoysia can be planted on an existing lawn. Zoysia is a creeping grass that spreads by rhizomes and stolons (above ground runners). It will spread to your existing turf over time and take over.

You can also plant Zoysia on bare soil with no turf or weeds to grow into. This is often preferred so there are no pesky weeds coming up through the Zoysiagrass when you start mowing it for the first time.

How much water does Zoysia need?

Zoysiagrass needs only about half as much irrigation as St Augustinegrass and Bermudagrass each week during warm weather months if grown in full sun conditions (Zoysia will go dormant if grown in shady conditions). Zoysia is much more drought tolerant than Bermudagrass.

What type of fertilizer should I use on Zoysia?

Zoysiagrass needs a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 13-0-13 or 15-0-15 once a month from late spring to midsummer when it is actively growing. A high phosphorous (P) content, such as 30-0-0, can also be used in place of low nitrogen fertilizers. Do not overfertilize with nitrogen, as this may cause Zoysia to grow too fast and become thin and susceptible to weed invasion.

Conclusion

As it stands, the debate over Bermuda grass vs. Zoysia grass will likely be a continuing issue among homeowners and landscape professionals for some time to come. For those who are unaware, both types of grass can be grown in many of the same climates with similar success rates. Both types of grass also have their pros and cons when it comes to maintenance, growth speed, and watering needs.