Grass Control: How to Get Rid of Zoysia Grass

Zoysia Grass

While zoysia grass is a popular choice for many lawns due to its durability and low-maintenance requirements, it may not always be the best fit for everyone. Whether you’re looking to replace zoysia grass with another grass type or want to start from scratch, getting rid of zoysia grass can be a challenging task. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of zoysia grass, including various methods and techniques.

Zoysia grass originates from East Asia and has been a popular lawn grass option for decades. Its fine texture, dense growth pattern, and ability to tolerate both sun and shade make it an ideal choice for many homeowners. However, due to its aggressive growth and extensive root system, zoysia grass can be challenging to remove.

Most Successful Methods for Zoysia Grass Control

If you find yourself wanting to remove zoysia grass from your lawn, there are several methods you can use. We will explore some of the most effective ways to remove zoysia grass, including herbicides, tilling, solarization, smothering, and manual removal.


Herbicides are one of the most popular ways to remove zoysia grass. Selective herbicides that specifically target zoysia grass can be an effective way to remove it from your lawn. These products contain chemicals that kill the grass while leaving other plants unharmed.

There are several different herbicide products available on the market, including glyphosate, sethoxydim, and fluazifop. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that can kill most plants, including zoysia grass. It works by interfering with the plant’s ability to produce proteins, causing it to die.

Sethoxydim and fluazifop are selective herbicides that target zoysia grass specifically. They work by inhibiting the grass’s ability to produce certain enzymes, which leads to its death. These herbicides are typically more effective than glyphosate when it comes to removing zoysia grass, but they can be more expensive and difficult to find.

Before using any herbicide product, it’s important to read the instructions carefully and follow them closely. Apply the herbicide on a calm day when there is no wind, and avoid applying it when rain is forecast within the next 24 hours. Wear protective clothing, including gloves, long sleeves, and pants, to avoid coming into contact with the herbicide.


Tilling the soil is another effective way to remove zoysia grass. This method involves digging up the grass and roots from the soil, which can be challenging with zoysia’s extensive root system. You can use a tiller, a shovel, or a hoe to loosen the soil and remove the grass.

Before tilling, it’s important to water the lawn thoroughly to make it easier to remove the grass. You should also remove any debris from the soil, including rocks and twigs, to avoid damaging your tools. After tilling, rake the soil to remove any remaining grass and roots.


Solarization involves covering the zoysia grass with clear plastic sheets to trap the sun’s heat, effectively killing the grass and roots. This method works best in warm, sunny climates and can take several weeks to be effective.

To use this method, first, mow the grass as short as possible, then water it thoroughly. Next, cover the grass with clear plastic sheets and secure them with stakes or rocks. Leave the plastic in place for at least six weeks, making sure to keep it tightly sealed to trap the heat.


Smothering involves covering the zoysia grass with mulch or heavy cardboard to deprive it of sunlight and nutrients, causing it to die off. This method is more effective when used in conjunction with other removal techniques.

To use this method, first, mow the grass as short as possible, then water it thoroughly. Next, cover the grass with a thick layer of mulch or heavy cardboard, making sure to overlap the edges to prevent any sunlight from getting through. Leave the cover in place for at least six weeks to allow the grass to die off.

Manual Removal

Manual removal involves hand-pulling zoysia grass, which can be a time-consuming but effective way to remove it. However, it can be challenging to get all of the roots out of the soil, and it may not be practical for larger lawns. This method is best used for smaller areas or for spot-treating areas of the lawn where zoysia grass is growing.

To use this method, first, mow the grass as short as possible, then water it thoroughly. Next, use a garden fork or hand trowel to loosen the soil around the grass, making sure to get as much of the roots as possible. Pull the grass out by the roots, taking care to remove as much of it as possible.

After removing the zoysia grass, it’s important to prepare the soil for new grass seed or sod. This may involve adding topsoil, compost, or other soil amendments to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.


Removing zoysia grass can be a challenging process, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s possible to achieve a beautiful, healthy lawn. Whether you choose to use herbicides, tilling, solarization, smothering, or manual removal, it’s important to take the time to prepare the soil for new grass seed or sod after the old grass has been removed. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively remove zoysia grass from your lawn and create a beautiful, healthy outdoor space that you can enjoy for years to come.


Should I Put Sand On My Zoysia Grass?

No, you should not put sand on your Zoysia grass. Zoysia grass is a type of grass that is known for its ability to tolerate drought and heat. It does not need sand to thrive. Sand can actually be detrimental to Zoysia grass because it can compact the soil and reduce the amount of air and water that can reach the roots. Additionally, sand can cause the soil to become too dry, which can lead to the grass becoming stressed and more susceptible to disease. If you want to improve the soil quality of your Zoysia grass, it is best to use a soil amendment such as compost or manure. This will help to improve the soil structure and provide the grass with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Should I Rake My Zoysia Grass?

Yes, you should rake your zoysia grass. Raking helps to remove dead grass, leaves, and other debris that can accumulate on the lawn. This debris can block sunlight and air from reaching the grass, which can lead to unhealthy grass. Raking also helps to reduce thatch, which is a layer of dead grass and roots that can build up over time and prevent water and nutrients from reaching the grass. Additionally, raking can help to spread out fertilizer and other lawn treatments more evenly. Finally, raking can help to keep the grass looking neat and tidy.

What Selective Herbicide Kills Zoysia Grass?

Selective herbicides are designed to target specific types of plants, and there are several that are effective at killing zoysia grass. One of the most popular is called Dismiss, which is a post-emergent herbicide that targets broadleaf weeds and grasses. It is a selective herbicide, meaning it will only kill the targeted plants and not the surrounding vegetation. Dismiss is a systemic herbicide, meaning it is absorbed by the plant and moves throughout its system, killing it from the inside out. It is best applied in early spring or late fall when the zoysia grass is actively growing. It is important to follow the directions on the label to ensure proper application and to avoid damaging other plants in the area.

Will Zoysia Choke Out Other Grass?

Yes, Zoysia grass can choke out other grasses. It is a very aggressive grass that spreads quickly and can take over an area in a short amount of time. It is also very drought tolerant and can survive in areas with little water. This makes it a great choice for areas that are prone to drought. However, it can also be a problem in areas where other grasses are growing. Zoysia can spread quickly and choke out other grasses, making it difficult for them to survive. It is important to keep an eye on Zoysia and make sure it is not taking over an area. If it is, it may be necessary to take action to control it and keep it from taking over.

Does Salt Water Kill Zoysia Grass?

No, salt water does not kill Zoysia grass. Zoysia grass is a type of grass that is salt-tolerant, meaning it can withstand salt water and salty soil. However, it is important to note that too much salt water can damage the grass and cause it to become discolored and die. To prevent this, it is important to water the grass with fresh water after it has been exposed to salt water. Additionally, it is important to avoid over-fertilizing the grass with salt-based fertilizers, as this can also damage the grass.

Will Baking Soda Kill Zoysia Grass?

No, baking soda will not kill zoysia grass. Baking soda is a mild alkaline substance that can be used to raise the pH of soil, but it will not kill the grass. In fact, baking soda can be used to help control certain types of weeds in zoysia grass, such as crabgrass and dallisgrass. However, it is important to note that baking soda should not be used as a substitute for proper lawn care, such as fertilization and mowing. Additionally, baking soda should not be used in large quantities, as it can cause damage to the grass.

Will Vinegar Kill Zoysia?

Yes, vinegar can kill Zoysia grass. Vinegar is a natural herbicide that can be used to kill weeds and grasses. It works by burning the leaves of the plant and preventing it from photosynthesizing. When applied to Zoysia grass, it will cause the grass to die off. It is important to note that vinegar should only be used on small patches of Zoysia grass and not on large areas. Additionally, it is important to use a diluted solution of vinegar and water to prevent damage to other plants in the area. Vinegar can be an effective way to kill Zoysia grass, but it is important to use it correctly and cautiously.

What Are The Problems With Zoysia Grass?

Zoysia grass is a popular turfgrass choice for many homeowners, but it does have some drawbacks. Zoysia grass is slow to establish and can take up to two years to fully establish itself. It is also susceptible to disease and insect damage, especially during the summer months. It is also susceptible to drought and can suffer from brown patch and other fungal diseases. Zoysia grass is also slow to recover from damage and can take several months to recover from damage. Additionally, it is not tolerant of shade and can suffer from thinning and dieback in shaded areas. Finally, it is not tolerant of heavy traffic and can become compacted and thinned out from excessive foot traffic.

Does Zoysia Grass Have Deep Roots?

Yes, Zoysia grass has deep roots. Its roots can grow up to 3 feet deep, making it an excellent choice for lawns and gardens. The deep roots help the grass to survive in hot and dry climates, as they can reach down to the water table. The deep roots also help to prevent erosion and keep the soil in place. Zoysia grass is also known for its ability to crowd out weeds, as its dense root system prevents them from taking hold. Additionally, the deep roots help to keep the grass healthy and strong, as they can absorb more nutrients from the soil. All in all, Zoysia grass is an excellent choice for lawns and gardens due to its deep roots and ability to survive in hot and dry climates.

How Do You Kill Zoysia Without Chemicals?

The best way to kill Zoysia without using chemicals is to use a combination of mechanical and cultural methods. Mechanical methods include mowing the grass very short, removing the top layer of soil, and using a sod cutter to remove the grass. Cultural methods include overseeding with grass that is more suitable for the area, such as Bermuda grass, and applying a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the Zoysia from germinating. Additionally, you can use a non-selective herbicide to kill the existing Zoysia, but this should be done with caution as it can also kill other plants in the area. Finally, you can use a combination of these methods to ensure that the Zoysia is completely eradicated.

Will Roundup Kill Zoysia Grass?

Roundup is a popular weed killer that is used to kill weeds and other unwanted plants. However, it is not recommended to use Roundup on Zoysia grass. Roundup is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill any plant it comes into contact with. Zoysia grass is a slow-growing, drought-tolerant grass that is popular for lawns and golf courses. Using Roundup on Zoysia grass can damage or even kill the grass, as it is not designed to target only weeds. If you have weeds in your Zoysia grass, it is best to use a selective herbicide that is specifically designed to target the weeds without harming the grass. Additionally, it is important to read the label of any herbicide you use to ensure it is safe for use on Zoysia grass.

How Do You Keep Zoysia Grass From Spreading?

Zoysia grass is a popular turfgrass for lawns, but it can be difficult to control because it spreads quickly. To keep zoysia grass from spreading, you can use physical barriers such as edging or a plastic barrier. You can also use chemical barriers such as herbicides or pre-emergent herbicides. Additionally, you can mow your lawn regularly and keep it at a height of 2-3 inches. This will help to prevent the grass from spreading by seed. Finally, you can overseed with a different type of grass to help keep the zoysia grass from spreading. By following these steps, you can help to keep your zoysia grass from spreading and maintain a healthy, attractive lawn.

Last Updated on March 1, 2023