Monday, July 04, 2011

Zoysia tenuifolia - Use as Ornamental Grass

Think of zoysia and you think of fine, good looking turf areas. They are seen as an option for replacement of other warm season grasses due to their low maintenance and low fertiliser demands.

But there is another zoysia that offers an alternative for grass cover that really needs no mowing, or well, almost no mowing or cutting!

This option may be well suited to median strips, roundabouts and other areas such as rockeries where the landscaping needs to be very low maintenance. The grass may also be suited to small Japanese gardens, courtyards within commercial buildings, and similar areas. There may be particular options where the species could be well suited to use on green roof developments in the tropics and sub tropics.

It is VERY slow growing, which is both a plus and a minus. Slow growth will certainly be an issue trying to establish an area of the grass, unless there is an adequate supply of plugs, stolons or even established plants used from small pots to give you a high plant density at planting. The slow growth is a virtue once you have it planted though – very low maintenance.

Zoysia tenuifolia – sometimes called no grow grass, slow grow grass, petting grass – usually has a puffy appearance once established, almost like ‘hills and valleys”, which can be quite attractive. It provides extremely high ground cover, with virtually no mowing or cutting required. Leaves are short, and often a little stiff / spikey.

On the other side of the ledger...........when you do need to cut the area, it can look awful, as you tend to expose the deep mat of stolons below the grass surface, showing the cut edges. This cutting is often an annual or biennial event.

It is well suited to tropical and subtropical areas, and maybe on protected sites in warm temperate areas. It is strongly shade tolerant . You occasionally see this grass being sold as “petting grass” for use as an indoor plant.

Low maintenance, low to medium water use, shade tolerant, low growing – medium to high potential for wider ornamental use.

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