Why Is My Zoysia Grass Dying?

Have you been struggling to keep your zoysia grass healthy and green? If your lawn is constantly brown and patchy, it’s time to investigate the cause of your grass’s demise. There are many possible reasons why your zoysia grass may be dying, ranging from too much or too little water to insect infestations or disease.

Understanding the causes of zoysia grass death can help you take proactive steps to protect it before it’s too late. In this article, we will explore some of the most common causes of zoysia grass death and provide tips on how to prevent them in the future.

Why is my zoysia grass dying?

Zoysia grass is a popular choice for lawns, but it can be tricky to keep healthy and thriving. If your zoysia grass is dying, there are a few potential causes you should consider. The first is environmental stress.

Zoysia grass is sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity, and sunlight. If the weather has been unusually hot or dry, your grass may be struggling to survive.

Additionally, if your grass is in an area that receives too much shade or too much sunlight, it may be at risk of dying. Another potential cause of zoysia grass death is over-fertilizing.

Too much fertilizer can burn the grass, causing it to die. Additionally, if you’re using a fertilizer that isn’t meant for zoysia grass, it could be damaging the grass.

Identifying The Cause Of Your Zoysia Grass Dying

If you have noticed that your lush, green zoysia grass is now looking brown and patchy, the first step in bringing it back to life is to identify what is causing the decline. There can be a number of different factors at play, from too much or too little water, sunlight, soil drainage or compaction issues, to insect infestation and disease. It’s essential to correctly diagnose the problem in order to reverse the damage and get your lawn looking its best again.

1. Too Much Water or Too Little Water

Watering your zoysia grass is an essential part of keeping it healthy and thriving, however overwatering or underwatering can both cause your grass to die.

Too much water can cause the roots of your grass to rot and suffocate, while too little water will result in dehydration and a lack of nutrients. It is important that you strike a balance between the two when watering your zoysia grass.

In order to ensure that you are providing your zoysia grass with enough moisture, check the soil around it every few days. Ideally, the top 2 inches of soil should be slightly damp – not overly wet or dry.

If it is completely dry, you may need to increase the amount of water you are giving your zoysia grass. However, if it is still wet after a few days, you may need to reduce the amount of water you provide.

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Another way to ensure that your lawn receives enough water is by investing in a sprinkler system with an automated timer that waters at regular intervals throughout the day and night. This will allow you to keep a consistent level of moisture in the soil without having to manually water every day.

Finally, if your area has recently experienced heavy rain or snowfall, make sure to adjust how much water you give your lawn accordingly as too much precipitation can easily lead to overwatering and put stress on your zoysia grass.

2. Not Enough Sunlight

Zoysia grass needs plenty of sunlight to thrive, so if it’s not getting enough, this could be a major contributor to why your lawn is dying. Without adequate sun exposure, the grass can become weak and unhealthy, leading to bare patches in your lawn.

Usually Zoysia grass needs at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, but some varieties may require more. To check if your Zoysia isn’t receiving enough light, look for signs like long-term thinning or yellowing leaves.

If you find that this is the case, try trimming back any trees or bushes that are blocking the area from sunlight or relocating your lawn to a sunnier spot on your property.

3. Poor Soil Drainage or Compacted Soil

Compacted soil or poor soil drainage can be one of the major causes of zoysia grass dying. When the soil is too densely packed, the roots of the grass will struggle to take up enough water and nutrients from the soil. Without these vital resources, the grass will become weak and eventually die.

It is important to aerate your lawn if you suspect this may be causing a problem with your zoysia grass. Aeration helps to break up compacted soils by creating small holes throughout the lawn that allow air, water, and nutrients to reach deeper into the root zone.

This process also encourages deeper rooting which helps reduce water runoff and promotes more uniform growth.

You can aerate your zoysia lawn yourself using a garden fork or an aerator tool. The best time to do this is in early spring when there is plenty of moisture in the soil. Also, it would be beneficial to overseed after aerating so that any bare patches can be replenished with new grass seedlings.

4. Insect Infestation and Disease

Insect infestation and disease can be a major factor in the decline of your zoysia grass. Common pests that can damage your lawn include chinch bugs, sod webworms, and armyworms.

Signs of insect infestation typically include areas of yellowing or dead patches in the grass. You may also notice visible insect activity, such as larvae crawling on the leaves or clusters of insects along stems or leaf blades.

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Fungal diseases are another common cause for zoysia grass decline. Signs of fungal disease may include circular patches in the lawn or lesions on the leaves. If you suspect an insect infestation or fungal disease, it is important to take action quickly to prevent further damage to your zoysia grass.

4. Lack of Nutrients in the Soil

Zoysia grass is a popular lawn grass that is known for its lush green color, heat and drought tolerance, and low maintenance requirements. However, even with its hardy nature, zoysia grass can still succumb to various diseases and environmental issues that can cause it to die off. One such issue is lack of nutrients in the soil.

When the soil does not have enough nutrients, either because of overuse or lack of replenishment, it will cause the zoysia grass to become stressed and susceptible to disease.

This stress can lead to the yellowing of the blades as well as stunted growth and eventual death of the plant if left unchecked. Additionally, without adequate nutrients in the soil, any fertilizer applied will not be absorbed properly by the plants, leading to further damage.

If your zoysia grass is dying due to nutrient deficiency in the soil, it is important to first identify which specific nutrient is lacking so that you can address it accordingly.

A soil test should be done in order to determine exactly what type of fertilizer should be applied and how often. Also, adding compost or other organic matter can help improve overall fertility levels in your zoysia lawn while providing essential micronutrients that are often missing from typical fertilizers.

Finally, it is important to note that too much fertilizer can also damage your zoysia lawn just as easily as too little nutrition; make sure you follow application instructions carefully when applying any type of fertilizer for optimal results!

5. Too Much Fertilizer or Wrong Type of Fertilizer

Fertilizing your zoysia grass is an important part of maintaining its health, but too much or the wrong type of fertilizer can be a surefire way to kill it. Applying too much fertilizer can cause the blades of grass to burn, while fertilizing with the wrong type can create a nutrient imbalance in the soil and deprive your zoysia grass of what it needs to survive.

When fertilizing your zoysia lawn, make sure you use a slow-release fertilizer that is specifically designed for zoysia grass. The label should state that it’s safe for use on warm-season turfgrasses, such as Zoysia japonica and Zoysia matrella.

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It’s also important to follow the directions carefully when applying the fertilizer. Overdoing it can easily lead to burning and discoloring of your lawn in just a few days.

If you’ve been using too much fertilizer or the wrong type, there are some steps you can take to help reverse any damage done to your lawn.

First, stop applying any more fertilizer until you know all the signs of overfertilization have disappeared.

Then, try applying a nitrogen-rich soil amendment such as compost or cottonseed meal to balance out any nutrient deficiencies caused by excess fertilization or incorrect types of fertilizer used previously.

Finally, water your lawn deeply but infrequently so that the roots reach down into healthy soil where they can access more nutrients and moisture. With these steps, you should be able to save your dying zoysia grass from further harm and restore its green color and health!

6. Mowing Too Low, Too Often

Mowing your zoysia grass too low and too often can lead to serious damage, or even death. When mowing, you should never cut more than one-third of the total height of the grass at any given time.

For zoysia grass, this means keeping the blades between 2 and 3 inches long. If you mow it too short, it can weaken the roots and create an environment that is susceptible to disease, pests, and other hazards.

It’s also important to avoid scalping your lawn when mowing. Scalping is when you remove so much of the leaf blade that patches of soil are exposed in either a random or patterned manner.

This will cause more stress for the grass because it can’t photosynthesize properly with large areas uncovered by leaves. The best way to prevent scalping is by adjusting your lawnmower’s deck height accordingly before each cutting session.

Finally, don’t mow too often as this can create a shallow root system that won’t be able to withstand drought or other environmental stressors very well. Aim for only mowing once every 5 to 7 days during the growing season for optimal results. By following these steps, you can ensure that your zoysia grass stays healthy and productive throughout the year.


In conclusion, there are many possible causes of zoysia grass dying. Identifying the cause can be challenging and requires careful observation of your lawn.

Too much or too little water, lack of sunlight, poor soil drainage, insect infestation and disease, lack of nutrients in the soil, too much fertilizer or wrong type of fertilizer, and mowing too low or too often can all contribute to your zoysia grass dying. Understanding and addressing these issues is key to maintaining a healthy lawn with beautiful zoysia grass.