Does Zoysia green up before Bermuda?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Zoysiagrass typically green up before bermudagrass in the spring. This is due to the different growth patterns and cold tolerance of the two grasses. Zoysiagrass is known for its slower growth rate compared to bermudagrass, but it has better cold tolerance.

In the spring, as temperatures start to rise and daylight lengthens, zoysiagrass begins to come out of its dormancy and starts to green up. This is usually earlier than bermudagrass, which takes a bit longer to wake up from its winter dormancy. So, if you have a lawn with both zoysiagrass and bermudagrass, you will typically see the zoysiagrass greening up first.

The exact timing of green-up can vary depending on the specific cultivar of zoysiagrass and bermudagrass, as well as the local climate and weather conditions. Generally, zoysiagrass will start to show signs of green growth when soil temperatures reach around 60-65°F (15-18°C), while bermudagrass may need soil temperatures to be closer to 70°F (21°C) before it starts to actively grow.

During this transition period, you may notice a stark difference in color between the zoysiagrass and bermudagrass areas of your lawn. The zoysiagrass will be greener and more vibrant, while the bermudagrass may still have a dull, brown or dormant appearance.

On the other hand, in the fall, bermudagrass tends to go dormant earlier than zoysiagrass. As temperatures cool down and daylight decreases, bermudagrass starts to enter its winter dormancy phase. It will gradually lose its green color and turn brown or straw-like. Zoysiagrass, being more cold-tolerant, will hold onto its green color for a longer period before eventually going dormant as well.

It’s worth noting that the specific timing of green-up and dormancy can be influenced by factors such as location, weather patterns, and cultural practices. For example, in warmer regions with milder winters, bermudagrass may stay green for a longer period before going dormant. Conversely, in colder regions, both grasses may go dormant earlier and remain dormant for a more extended period.

While both zoysiagrass and bermudagrass have their own unique patterns of green-up and dormancy, zoysiagrass generally greens up earlier in the spring and holds onto its green color longer in the fall compared to bermudagrass. Understanding these differences can help homeowners and turf managers plan their lawn care and maintenance activities accordingly.