Surviving A Freeze: Can Zoysia Grass Brave The Cold?

Quick Answer: Yes, zoysia grass can survive a freeze, but it may experience some damage depending on the severity and duration of the freeze.

Picture this: a beautiful, lush green lawn with soft blades of zoysia grass swaying gently in the breeze. It’s a sight to behold, and you take pride in maintaining its appearance. However, as the seasons change and winter approaches, you begin to wonder if your beloved zoysia grass will be able to withstand the freezing temperatures that lie ahead. Can zoysia grass survive a freeze? The short answer is yes, it can. But there are a few factors to consider.

Zoysia grass is known for its ability to tolerate various conditions, including cold weather. It is a warm-season grass, meaning it thrives in regions with hot summers and mild winters. While it may not be as cold-hardy as some cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or fescue, zoysia grass has natural defenses that allow it to survive freezing temperatures. However, it’s important to note that extreme or prolonged freezes can still cause some damage to your zoysia lawn.

In this blog article, we will delve deeper into the topic of zoysia grass survival during freezes, exploring its resilience, common issues, and best practices for protecting your lawn. So, let’s get started and learn how to keep your zoysia grass looking its best, even in the face of freezing temperatures.

Surviving a Freeze: Can Zoysia Grass Brave the Cold?

Can Zoysia Grass Survive a Freeze?

Understanding Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that is known for its ability to thrive in hot and humid climates. It is commonly found in the southern regions of the United States, where it is favored for its lush green appearance and durability. Zoysia grass boasts a dense growth pattern and is highly resistant to weeds and diseases, making it a popular choice for lawns, golf courses, and sports fields.

How Does Zoysia Grass Handle Cold Temperatures?

While zoysia grass is known for its ability to withstand heat and drought, its tolerance for cold temperatures is more limited. As a warm-season grass, zoysia goes dormant during the winter months when the temperatures drop. During dormancy, the grass turns brown and ceases growth, conserving energy until warmer weather returns. However, the extent to which zoysia grass can withstand freezing temperatures depends on the specific variety and the severity and duration of the freeze.

The Freezing Point of Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass, like other warm-season grasses, begins to suffer damage when temperatures dip below freezing. The freezing point of zoysia grass is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). When exposed to temperatures at or below freezing, the cells within the grass blades can freeze, leading to cell damage and discoloration.

Tolerance Levels of Different Zoysia Grass Varieties

Not all zoysia grass varieties have the same level of cold tolerance. Some varieties, such as Meyer zoysia and Amazoy zoysia, are more cold-hardy and can withstand lower temperatures without sustaining significant damage. These varieties are often recommended for regions with cooler climates or areas that experience occasional freezes.

Preparing Zoysia Grass for Freezing Temperatures

While zoysia grass may not be as cold-tolerant as cool-season grasses, there are steps you can take to help it survive freezing temperatures:

1. Fertilize in Late Fall

Applying a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer in late fall can help strengthen the roots of your zoysia grass before winter. This will improve the grass’s overall health and increase its chances of surviving freezing temperatures.

2. Mow at the Right Height

Before winter arrives, gradually lower the mowing height of your zoysia grass to around 1 to 2 inches. This will prevent the grass from matting down and promote air circulation, reducing the risk of fungal diseases.

3. Clear the Lawn of Debris

Remove any leaves, branches, or other debris from your lawn before the first freeze. These can trap moisture and create an environment conducive to fungal growth, which can harm your zoysia grass.

4. Limit Traffic on the Lawn

Reducing foot traffic on your zoysia grass during the winter months can help prevent compaction and potential damage to the dormant grass blades.

5. Winterize Irrigation Systems

If you have an irrigation system, make sure to winterize it properly to prevent any water from freezing and causing damage to your zoysia grass.

Recovering Zoysia Grass After a Freeze

If your zoysia grass is exposed to freezing temperatures and sustains damage, there are steps you can take to help it recover:

1. Wait for Spring

Allow your zoysia grass to naturally come out of dormancy and begin its regrowth in the spring. Avoid applying excessive fertilizer or water during this time, as it may hinder the recovery process.

2. Overseeding

If the damage to your zoysia grass is severe, you may consider overseeding with a cool-season grass in the affected areas. This can help fill in the bare spots and provide temporary coverage until the zoysia grass fully recovers.

3. Proper Maintenance

Maintain a regular mowing and watering schedule during the growing season to promote healthy growth and recovery of your zoysia grass.

4. Pest and Weed Control

Keep an eye out for any pests or weeds that may take advantage of weakened zoysia grass. Proper pest and weed control measures will help ensure the grass’s recovery and overall health.


While zoysia grass may not be as cold-tolerant as some cool-season grasses, it can survive freezing temperatures with proper care and preparation. Understanding the freezing point of zoysia grass, choosing cold-tolerant varieties, and implementing winterization practices can help your zoysia grass withstand a freeze. However, if your grass does sustain damage, patience and proper maintenance will be key to its recovery. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a beautiful and resilient zoysia lawn year after year.

Why is my Zoysia lawn brown after the frost?

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can zoysia grass survive a freeze?

Yes, zoysia grass can generally survive a freeze, but its ability to withstand freezing temperatures depends on various factors.

Question: What is the cold tolerance of zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass has moderate cold tolerance, which means it can handle light frost and short periods of freezing temperatures. However, extended or severe freezes can damage or kill the grass.

Question: How does zoysia grass protect itself during a freeze?

Zoysia grass has a natural defense mechanism known as cold acclimation. When exposed to cooler temperatures, the grass gradually increases its sugar content and slows down its metabolic processes. This helps it to endure freezing conditions and reduces the risk of damage.

Question: Does zoysia grass turn brown during winter?

Yes, zoysia grass typically goes dormant and turns brown during winter months. It enters a dormant state as a survival strategy to conserve energy and protect itself from freezing temperatures. However, it usually regains its green color once temperatures rise in spring.

Question: How can I prepare my zoysia grass for a freeze?

To prepare your zoysia grass for a freeze, it is recommended to avoid late-season fertilization, as this encourages new growth that can be more susceptible to damage. Additionally, maintaining proper mowing height and adequate soil moisture levels before the freeze can help enhance its cold tolerance.

Question: What should I do if my zoysia grass gets damaged by a freeze?

If your zoysia grass is damaged by a freeze, it is best to wait until temperatures start rising in spring before taking any action. Avoid prematurely removing or cutting damaged grass, as it may still have the potential to recover. Once the weather warms up, gently rake out dead material and provide proper care to encourage new growth.

Final Thoughts

Zoysia grass is known for its resilience, but can it survive a freeze? The answer is yes, but the extent to which it can tolerate cold temperatures depends on the specific variety and duration of the freeze. While some varieties may not survive prolonged freezing conditions, others can bounce back once temperatures rise. Proper maintenance, such as regular watering and fertilizing, can help zoysia grass withstand freezing temperatures. However, it is essential to monitor weather conditions and take preventative measures, such as covering the grass, to protect it during severe freezes. Overall, with proper care, zoysia grass can indeed survive a freeze.

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