Zoysia will rarely overtake Bermuda grass on its own. Bermuda is an extremely aggressive grass that spreads quickly and outcompetes most other grasses. However, in shady yards, Zoysia grass grows more vigorously than Bermuda, which can allow Zoysia to take over. You can also help your Zoysia choke out Bermuda grass by killing as much Bermuda as possible with Ornamec 170 herbicide. Finally, Zoysia grass requires less fertilizer than Bermuda grass, so you can help your Zoysia outcompete Bermuda grass by reducing the amount of fertilizer you use on your lawn.
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Why is it Difficult for Zoysia to Overtake Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass is an extremely aggressive grass that spreads via both roots (rhizomes) and runners (stolons). In fact, Bermuda will commonly invade yards with other varieties of warm-season grass and take over. In some cases, it will even take over Zoysia lawns. Once Bermuda grass has established itself, it forms a thick root network that keeps out competitor grasses.
- Bermuda grass is famous for spreading and overtaking other grasses.
- Once Bermuda gets a foothold, it works to keep other grasses out, including Zoysia.
- Zoysia has similar traits to Bermuda grass, but is not as aggressive.
- If you don’t give your Zoysia extra help, it’s likely that Bermuda will win the turf battle in your lawn.
Although Zoysia is closely related to Bermuda grass, it is not as notorious for aggressive growth. It is true that Zoysia also spreads through roots and runners, but in a head-to-head battle, Bermuda often overtakes Zoysia. If you want your Zoysia to choke out Bermuda grass, it’s best to give your Zoysia some extra help with the tips below.
3 Factors that Help Zoysia Overtake Bermuda Grass
It’s true that Zoysia grass can sometimes beat out Bermuda grass in a lawn without any help, but this is rare. In my experience, Bermuda regularly outcompetes other warm-season grasses. If you want your Zoysia grass to crowd out the Bermuda in your lawn, keep these factors in mind:
Zoysia Thrives in Shade
If your lawn has shady areas, then there’s a good chance that Zoysia can overtake Bermuda grass. This is due to the fact that Zoysia tolerates shade much better than Bermuda grass. A Zoysia lawn will grow more thickly in shade. If your lawn doesn’t have much shade it will be very hard for Zoysia grass to beat out the Bermuda growing in your yard.
- Zoysia grass grows much better in shade than Bermuda grass.
- In shaded parts of your lawn, there’s a good chance Zoysia will choke out the Bermuda grass.
- Bermuda grass grows more strongly in sun than Zoysia, so Zoysia may struggle to take over sunny areas.
If you attempt to grow Zoysia in a shady Bermuda lawn, sometimes the Zoysia will thrive in the shaded areas while the Bermuda grass will remain in the sunny portions. This can result in different grass coloration throughout your lawn, which can be unsightly. In order to fully transition your lawn from Bermuda to Zoysia, use the next two tips in this list.
Attack the Bermuda Grass
If you want to encourage Zoysia grass and drive out invasive Bermuda grass, begin by spraying this specialized Ornamec 170 herbicide on your lawn. Ornamec 170 will kill Bermuda grass but won’t harm Zoysia. By killing the Bermuda grass, you’ll allow your Zoysia to spread and overtake the area.
- Spray Ornamec 170 herbicide to kill Bermuda grass without harming Zoysia.
- Ornamec 170 is made specifically to kill Bermuda grass without killing other grasses.
- Once the Bermuda grass has been killed off, your Zoysia will be able to spread and fill the yard.
Do not use non-selective herbicides, such as Roundup, if you want to kill Bermuda grass in a yard where Zoysia is growing. Roundup will kill all types of grass. It’s essential to use Ornamec 170 since it is specially formulated to kill Bermuda grass without harming Zoysia.
Reduce Fertilizer Use
In order to encourage Zoysia growth and discourage Bermuda grass, cut back on the amount of fertilizer you apply each year. Zoysia thrives on two to four pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually. Bermuda grass is a heavy feeder that needs four to five pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year. By reducing your fertilizer applications to two or three pounds annually, Zoysia will grow healthy but Bermuda grass will begin to struggle. This allows Zoysia to overtake Bermuda grass.
- Zoysia grows at its best with less fertilizer than Bermuda requires.
- By feeding your lawn less fertilizer, you can boost Zoysia growth and starve Bermuda grass.
- Apply 2–3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually to encourage Zoysia and discourage Bermuda grass.
If you’re unsure about when and how to fertilize your lawn, check out our hybrid fertilizer guide. It provides fertilizer recommendations, as well as a schedule for lawn fertilization. By using this schedule to feed your Zoysia, you can encourage it to outcompete the Bermuda grass in your lawn.
Is Zoysia Better than Bermuda?
The choice between Zoysia and Bermuda grass is a matter of preference, as well as circumstance. You may like the look of Zoysia better, or Zoysia may grow more thickly in your lawn than Bermuda grass. If one of these two types of grass seems to thrive more in your yard, it’s best to encourage the stronger of the two. It will save you a lot of work. If Bermuda naturally outcompetes Zoysia, it will be easier to make a beautiful Bermuda lawn than try to encourage struggling Zoysia.
- Zoysia and Bermuda are similar grasses that thrive in slightly different lawn conditions.
- Zoysia grows better in shady yards, while Bermuda grows best in full sun.
- If you like the look of Zoysia better than Bermuda, you can choose Zoysia—both kinds of grass grow in warm regions.
- The biggest benefit of Zoysia is that it requires less fertilizer than Bermuda, which can save you money.
One major benefit of Zoysia is that it requires less fertilizer than Bermuda grass. So, switching from Bermuda to Zoysia can reduce your lawn care costs. Add in the fact that Zoysia grows more thickly in shade than Bermuda, and there are certain cases where Zoysia can be considered the better grass type.
Will Zoysia Choke Out Bermuda Grass?
Zoysia and Bermuda are two similar grasses that often clash when one invades your yard. Here are the important facts about Zoysia vs. Bermuda grass:
- Bermuda grass is known to be more aggressive and harder to choke out than Zoysia.
- In some cases, Zoysia may overtake Bermuda grass, but this is rare.
- Zoysia will have an easier time choking out Bermuda grass in shady areas.
- To encourage Zoysia to spread into areas with thick Bermuda growth, kill the Bermuda grass with Ornamec 170, a herbicide that won’t harm Zoysia.
- Cut your fertilizer use down to 2–3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually—this will feed Zoysia and starve Bermuda grass.
By choosing Zoysia for shady yards, attacking Bermuda grass so Zoysia can spread, and fertilizing for Zoysia’s needs, you can encourage Zoysia to choke out invasive Bermuda grass.