If You're Trying To Get Rid Of Zoysia Grass We Have Some Bad News

Zoysia grass is typically a dense, durable turfgrass that's a good choice for high-traffic areas because of how much it can handle. However, if you're considering replacing it with a new type of grass for your yard, you'll find it difficult to get rid of it. Aside from killing it off with a chemical-based product, the only other way to really remove zoysia grass fully is to actually pull up the grass patches and start over from the soil.

This type of grass seed is a dominant form. That means it's hard to kill, especially since it is such a fast-growing, drought-resistant variety. If you like it and can contain it, that's not a bad thing, and it can help create a lush lawn. However, some homeowners find this grass hard to manage because of how quickly and easily it can spread outside your desired area. It can also invade flowerbeds and cause significant damage to other plants in the area, often choking them out. Your neighbor may not appreciate it's spread into their yard either.

Zoysia grass is often a part of commercial grass seed mixes since it does well in many environments and typically germinates quickly, all qualities many people like to see in their initial lawn application. You can use this grass seed for overseeding as well, but in its goal to flourish, it can overtake the entire area quickly if you're not careful.

How to get rid of zoysia grass from your yard

One of the reasons some people like zoysia grass is that it doesn't require a lot of attention from you to get it started and growing. That's exactly why it's hard to get rid of, too. It prefers the sun but will still grow in shade and does well even when there's not much rain. In short, even on a hot summer day in the shade without rain, your grass is likely to grow. If you planted the wrong type of grass and want zoysia gone, there are several steps to take.

There are two steps you can take to manage zoysia grass. The first is to contain it more aggressively in the desired area. Sidewalks and the driveway are good, hard stops for the grass. To keep it out of the flowerbeds, you may want to choose slightly taller cement or brick borders or a small retaining wall. The hard barrier keeps the grass seed from nearby zoysia from spreading.

The most effective way to get rid of zoysia grass is to dig up the patches either by hand or machine. That's especially true when you want to repurpose the area, such as converting a portion of your lawn into a flowerbed. It's challenging to just cover up zoysia and expect it to die off. You'll need to remove it through the roots to keep it from coming back.

Strategies for removing zoysia grass

Once you decide it's time to remove the grass, use a spade or shovel to cut out the area you wish to pull up. You'll want to aim to remove the top layer of soil with the grass growing into it, as that's going to pull up all of the pesky roots that could continue to grow. Most often, this means removing at least two or more inches. Rake over the remaining top layer of soil and allow it to dry out over the next few days. It's best to wait several weeks before planting new grass or installing the flowerbed. This helps prevent reemergence from occurring.

Before adding new grass sod or seed to your lawn, till the soil well beforehand to aerate the area. If, after planting the new grass, you notice any areas of zoysia sprigs coming up, remove those shoots fully, aiming to pull up the root system as well as the grass. Otherwise, it will not take long for it to start spreading again.

Some herbicides may help to control any areas you cannot remove, such as the cracks in the driveway or sidewalk it's grown into. Look for a non-selective herbicide to do the work here and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. You may need to treat it in the fall and spring to keep it from returning. Doing this is critical to preventing those tiny patches of grass from spreading.