Should you cut zoysia grass short before winter?

Answered by James Kissner

There are some important considerations when it comes to cutting Zoysia grass before winter. Zoysia grass is a warm-season grass that goes dormant during the winter months. Properly preparing your Zoysia grass for winter can help ensure its health and vitality when it comes back to life in the spring.

First and foremost, it is important to mow your Zoysia grass before it grows too tall. Allowing your grass to grow taller than 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 inches before winter can have negative consequences. If the grass is too tall, it can become matted down by snow and can lead to disease and other issues. Therefore, it is essential to keep your Zoysia grass at a manageable height before the winter season.

When mowing your Zoysia grass, it is best to use a rotary or reel mower set as low as possible. However, caution must be taken not to scalp the lawn. Scalping occurs when the mower blades cut the grass too short, damaging the crown and leaving the grass vulnerable to stress and disease. To avoid scalping, it is crucial to adjust the mower height accordingly and not to remove more than one-third of the grass blade during a single mowing.

The ideal time to mow your Zoysia grass before winter is somewhere between September to November, before the grass enters dormancy. By mowing before dormancy, you are allowing the grass to maintain its health and vigor throughout the winter months. Waiting too long to mow can result in overgrown grass that is more difficult to manage and may not recover as well when spring arrives.

In addition to mowing, there are other winter preparations you can take to ensure the health of your Zoysia grass. One important step is to remove any debris, such as leaves and fallen branches, from the lawn. This will prevent the grass from being smothered and allow for better air circulation.

Another consideration is fertilization. Applying a winterizing fertilizer in late fall can provide essential nutrients to the Zoysia grass as it prepares for dormancy. This will help the grass maintain its health and vigor during the winter months and promote a quicker recovery when spring arrives.

To summarize, it is advisable to mow your Zoysia grass before it grows taller than 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 inches, using a rotary or reel mower set as low as possible. This should be done before the grass enters dormancy, typically between September to November. Taking these steps will help ensure the health and vitality of your Zoysia grass during the winter months and promote a strong recovery in the spring.