When to Fertilize Zoysia Grass

When to fertilize zoysia grass
Zoysia Grass

When to fertilize Zoysia grass? Zoysia grass is a popular choice for homeowners because of its ability to thrive in warm climates and tolerate drought conditions. However, like any other type of grass, it requires proper care and maintenance to stay healthy and vibrant.

One crucial aspect of Zoysia grass care is lawn fertilization. Lawn fertilization gives your Zoysia grass the essential nutrients to grow and stay healthy. However, fertilizing at the wrong time can be detrimental to the health of your Zoysia grass. This guide will discuss the best times to fertilize Zoysia grass and some tips.

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Soil pH test

Before fertilizing Zoysia grass, it is essential to know the pH level of your soil. Soil pH can significantly impact the effectiveness of lawn fertilizers and the overall health of your lawn. A pH level between 6.0 and 7.0 is optimal for Zoysia grass growth. If the pH level is too high or too low, it can affect the availability of nutrients in the soil, making it harder for your Zoysia grass to absorb them.

To determine your soil’s pH level, purchase a soil test kit from a garden center or hire a professional to do it for you. The test kit will provide you with a reading of your soil’s pH level and any necessary adjustments you need to make to ensure your Zoysia grass receives the appropriate nutrients. Once you know the soil’s pH level, you can adjust it accordingly using various methods, including adding lime to increase pH or sulfur to decrease pH. 

The best type of lawn fertilizer for zoysia grass

fertilize zoysia grass
Lawn fertilizer

Zoysia grass has a slow growth rate compared to other grass types, making it more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies. Therefore, it is essential to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for Zoysia grass to provide the necessary nutrients.

The best type of lawn fertilizer for Zoysia grass contains a high amount of nitrogen, essential for promoting healthy growth and vibrant green color. However, it is crucial to avoid over-fertilizing your lawn, as this can lead to excessive growth, thatch buildup, and disease susceptibility. A balanced fertilizer with a 3:1:2 or 4:1:2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is ideal for Zoysia grass.

Another essential factor to consider when choosing a lawn fertilizer for Zoysia grass is the release rate. Slow-release fertilizers are recommended as they release nutrients over an extended period, preventing excessive growth and minimizing the risk of nutrient leaching. Choosing a fertilizer that is low in phosphorus is also essential, as Zoysia grass requires less phosphorus than other grass types.

What months do you fertilize zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that grows actively during the summer months and goes dormant in the winter. Therefore, the best time to fertilize Zoysia grass is during its active growing season, which typically occurs from late spring to mid-summer.

In general, you should fertilize Zoysia grass three times a year: once in early spring, once in early summer, and once in mid to late summer. For the first fertilization, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer when the soil temperature reaches 55°F, typically around mid-April. This will give your Zoysia grass the nutrients it needs to kickstart its growth after winter dormancy.

For the second fertilization, apply a balanced fertilizer with a slow-release formula in early summer, around late May to early June. This will help maintain the growth and color of your lawn during the hot summer months.

For the final fertilization, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer in mid to late summer, around late July to early August. This will provide your Zoysia grass with the necessary nutrients to sustain its growth during the late summer months.

Do you fertilize zoysia grass in the fall?

Fertilizing Zoysia grass in the fall is not recommended as the grass goes dormant during this time. The fall season is a period of reduced growth and nutrient absorption for Zoysia grass as it prepares for winter dormancy. Therefore, applying fertilizer during this time can be counterproductive and lead to excessive growth and thatch buildup, making your lawn more susceptible to winter damage.

If you must apply fertilizer in the fall, it is recommended to use a slow-release fertilizer with low nitrogen content and high potassium content. Potassium helps Zoysia grass to withstand cold temperatures and improve its winter hardiness.

Do you fertilize zoysia grass in the winter? 

Fertilizing Zoysia grass during the colder months may seem like a good idea, but it can do more harm than good. Zoysia roots do not grow during the winter, and applying fertilizer during this period can lead to nutrient runoff and leaching, damaging nearby water sources. Therefore, avoiding fertilizing your Zoysia grass during the winter months is essential.

Calculating how much lawn fertilizer you need

To determine how much lawn fertilizer you need for your Zoysia grass, you should first measure the size of your lawn. You can do this by using a measuring wheel or a simple tape measure to determine the length and width of your lawn. Once you have these measurements, you can calculate the total square footage of your lawn by multiplying the length and width.

After calculating the total square footage of your lawn, you can determine the amount of fertilizer you need by following the instructions on the fertilizer package. Fertilizer packages usually have specific guidelines on how much fertilizer to apply per square footage.

If you would rather outsource this task, check out our weed control and lawn fertilization service page.

Post application care

After fertilizing your Zoysia grass, it is essential to provide proper post-application care to ensure the best results. Proper post-application care includes watering your lawn, mowing your grass, and avoiding excessive foot traffic on your lawn.

  • Watering your lawn after applying fertilizer is crucial to help the nutrients reach the roots of your Zoysia grass. However, it is essential to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to nutrient leaching and other lawn problems. Typically, it is recommended to water your lawn immediately after fertilization and then water it once or twice a week to keep it moist.
  • Mowing your grass after fertilization can also help promote even nutrient distribution and prevent thatch buildup. However, waiting at least three days after fertilization before mowing your lawn is essential to prevent the fertilizer from being removed from the grass blades. One of the services we offer is lawn mowing.
  • Finally, avoiding excessive foot traffic on your lawn after fertilization is essential. Walking or playing on your lawn immediately after fertilization can disturb the fertilizer and prevent it from reaching the soil, reducing its effectiveness. Typically, waiting at least three days after fertilization is recommended before using your lawn for regular activities.

Problems caused by untimely or excessive applications

Applying fertilizer at the wrong time or using too much fertilizer can cause several problems that can harm your lawn. Here are some of the problems caused by untimely or excessive applications of Zoysia grass fertilizer:

  • Excessive Growth: Over-fertilizing your Zoysia grass can lead to excessive growth, making your lawn susceptible to thatch buildup and disease. Excessive growth can also increase the need for mowing and watering, leading to more maintenance requirements.
  • Nutrient Leaching: Applying fertilizer during periods of heavy rain or overwatering can cause the nutrients to leach out of the soil and into nearby water sources. This can lead to pollution and environmental problems.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Applying fertilizer at the wrong time or using the wrong type of fertilizer can lead to nutrient deficiencies in your Zoysia grass. This can cause stunted growth, yellowing of the grass, and other health problems.
  • Environmental Damage: Applying too much fertilizer can lead to runoff and leaching, causing damage to the environment and harming nearby plants and wildlife.

To avoid these problems, it is essential to follow proper fertilization techniques and timing. For more information about fertilizing warm season grasses, read this publication from Texas Agrilife Extension titled, “Lawn Fertilization for Texas Warm-Season Grasses.”

 Zoysia Grass
Zoysia Grass


Fertilizing Zoysia grass is essential for promoting healthy growth and maintaining a vibrant and healthy lawn. It is crucial to apply lawn fertilizer at the right time, using the appropriate type and to follow proper techniques.


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