Why Zoysia Grass Turns Brown: Understanding The Phenomenon

Quick Answer: To resolve the issue of brown zoysia grass, proper care and maintenance are crucial. Regular watering, proper fertilization, and mowing at the correct height are essential steps to promote healthy green growth.

Introduction: Have you noticed that your once lush green zoysia grass has turned an unappealing shade of brown? If so, fear not, as there are solutions to revive your lawn’s vibrancy and restore it to its former beauty. Zoysia grass, known for its durability and resilience, can sometimes lose its green hue due to various factors such as lack of water, inadequate fertilization, or incorrect mowing practices. In this blog article, we will explore the reasons why zoysia grass may turn brown and provide you with practical tips and advice on how to bring it back to life. By following these simple steps, you can transform your brown zoysia grass into a lush green carpet that will be the envy of the neighborhood. So let’s dive in and rejuvenate your lawn together!

Why Zoysia Grass Turns Brown: Understanding the Phenomenon

Zoysia Grass: Understanding Why It Turns Brown


Zoysia grass is a popular choice for lawns due to its lush and vibrant green color. However, it is not uncommon to see zoysia grass turn brown, leaving homeowners puzzled and concerned. In this article, we will explore the reasons why zoysia grass may turn brown, as well as provide tips and solutions for maintaining a healthy and green zoysia lawn.

Understanding the Nature of Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass (Zoysia spp.) is a warm-season grass variety that thrives in tropical and subtropical regions. It is often chosen for its exceptional heat tolerance, drought resistance, and ability to withstand heavy foot traffic. However, it also has unique growth habits that can contribute to its occasional browning.

Zoysia Grass Dormancy

One of the primary reasons why zoysia grass turns brown is dormancy. As a warm-season grass, zoysia naturally enters a dormant state during periods of cooler temperatures. This dormancy is a self-preservation mechanism that allows the grass to conserve energy and survive unfavorable conditions.

During dormancy, zoysia grass shuts down its growth processes and redirects nutrients to its roots. As a result, the visible portion of the grass, known as the blades, will turn brown or straw-colored. While this may seem alarming, it is a temporary condition and the grass will revive once favorable conditions return.

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Transition Periods and Brown Patch

Another factor that can contribute to zoysia grass turning brown is the transition period between seasons. When the weather shifts from warm to cool or vice versa, the grass may struggle to adjust, leading to discoloration.

During these transition periods, zoysia grass is susceptible to fungal diseases, such as brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani). Brown patch causes circular brown patches to form on the lawn, often surrounded by a dark ring. This disease thrives in warm and humid conditions and can worsen the browning of zoysia grass.

Preventing and Treating Brown Zoysia Grass

While browning is a natural part of zoysia grass’s life cycle, there are steps you can take to minimize and treat it effectively. Here are some strategies to maintain a healthy and green zoysia lawn:

Proper Watering

Watering is a critical factor in preventing zoysia grass from turning brown. It’s important to water deeply but infrequently, encouraging the grass’s deep root growth. This will help the grass withstand drought periods and reduce the risk of brown patches caused by overwatering.

  • Water your zoysia lawn deeply once a week, providing around 1 inch of water.
  • Water in the early morning to allow the grass blades to dry out during the day, reducing the chances of fungal diseases.
  • Avoid watering in the evening, as prolonged moisture can promote the growth of fungi.

Fertilization and Soil Maintenance

Keeping your soil nutrient-rich and well-balanced is crucial for the health of zoysia grass. Regular fertilization and soil amendments can help prevent browning and promote lush green growth. Consider the following tips:

  • Conduct a soil test to determine if any nutrient deficiencies exist.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) appropriate for zoysia grass.
  • Aerate the soil annually to improve drainage and promote root growth.

Pest and Weed Control

Pests and weeds can weaken zoysia grass and contribute to browning. Regular inspections and appropriate control measures can help maintain a healthy lawn. Here are some essential steps:

  • Identify and treat common zoysia grass pests, such as chinch bugs or armyworms, using safe and effective insecticides.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides to prevent the growth of weeds that can compete with the grass for nutrients and water.
  • Spot-treat weeds as soon as they appear to prevent them from spreading.
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Proper Mowing Techniques

Mowing practices can greatly impact the health and appearance of zoysia grass. Following these tips will ensure you don’t inadvertently contribute to browning:

  • Maintain a mowing height of around 1.5 to 2 inches for zoysia grass, adjusting slightly based on your specific variety.
  • Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time to prevent stress and scalping.
  • Keep your mower blades sharp to achieve clean cuts that minimize damage to the grass.

Zoysia grass may turn brown at times due to natural processes like dormancy and seasonal transitions. Understanding these factors and implementing proper lawn care practices can help minimize browning and maintain a beautiful and healthy zoysia lawn.

Remember to follow watering, fertilization, and mowing guidelines, and monitor for pests and diseases to ensure your zoysia grass stays vibrant and green. By providing the necessary care, you can enjoy the many benefits of zoysia grass, including its resilience and ability to create a lush and inviting outdoor space.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my zoysia grass turning brown?

When zoysia grass turns brown, it can be due to a variety of factors. Some common reasons include:

  • Insufficient watering: Zoysia grass requires regular watering to stay green and healthy. If it doesn’t receive enough water, it can turn brown.
  • Dormancy: Zoysia grass naturally goes dormant during the colder months, turning brown until spring returns and it starts actively growing again.
  • Lack of sunlight: Zoysia grass thrives in full sun. If it is planted in a shady area or obstructed by trees or structures, it may not receive enough sunlight, causing it to turn brown.
  • Under-fertilization: Zoysia grass requires proper fertilization to maintain its green color. If it lacks essential nutrients, including nitrogen, it can turn brown.
  • Soil issues: Poor soil conditions, such as compacted soil or an imbalanced pH level, can affect the health of zoysia grass and lead to browning.

How can I revive my brown zoysia grass?

To revive brown zoysia grass, follow these steps:

  1. Properly water your lawn: Ensure your zoysia grass receives 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, either through rainfall or irrigation.
  2. Mow correctly: Set your mower at the recommended height for zoysia grass and avoid cutting it too short, as this can stress the grass and contribute to browning.
  3. Apply fertilizer: Use a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizer formulated for zoysia grass to replenish essential nutrients and aid in its recovery.
  4. Aerate the soil: If your lawn suffers from compacted soil, consider aerating it to improve water and nutrient absorption.
  5. Address shade issues: If the browning is due to lack of sunlight, consider removing obstacles or trimming trees to allow more light to reach the grass.
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Is brown zoysia grass dead?

No, brown zoysia grass is not necessarily dead. Zoysia grass has a natural dormancy period during which it turns brown, especially in colder climates. As long as the roots are alive, the grass can recover and become green again when conditions improve, such as warmer temperatures and adequate moisture.

Can zoysia grass turn brown from disease?

Yes, zoysia grass can turn brown due to diseases such as brown patch or dollar spot. These fungal infections can cause patches or discoloration, leading to browning of the grass. It is important to properly identify and treat any diseases promptly to prevent further damage to your zoysia grass.

Is zoysia grass more prone to turning brown compared to other grass types?

Zoysia grass is known for its ability to withstand heat and drought, making it generally less prone to turning brown than other grass types. However, various factors including environmental conditions, maintenance practices, and disease susceptibility can still cause zoysia grass to become brown. Proper care and maintenance can minimize the occurrence of browning in zoysia grass.

Final Thoughts

Zoysia grass is known for its brown color, which can be a cause for concern for some homeowners. However, it is important to understand that this is a natural characteristic of this type of grass. Despite its brown appearance, zoysia grass is actually quite resilient and can withstand harsh weather conditions, droughts, and heavy foot traffic. It requires minimal maintenance and is known for its ability to bounce back quickly, regaining its lush green color in the warmer months. So, if you’re looking for a durable and low-maintenance grass option, zoysia grass is an excellent choice.