Zoysia and Winter Are Not Good Friends
The one single drawback which stops Zoysia being the perfect lawn for every home in Australia is its dislike for cold winters. Zoysia loves the warmth, some types love the humidity, some tolerate salty soils brilliantly - but all Zoysia grasses do not like the coldest of winters.
The further south we live in Australia, and the colder the winter, the less likely Zoysia becomes suitable as a lawn for the home. The transitioning of Zoysia suitability begins showing when a Zoysia will become brown over Winter and then quickly recovers in the Spring, but the colder the weather zone - the worse Zoysia will perform year round as well as perhaps looking brown over Winter - so Zoysia is not suited to the coldest regions.
The general rule for Zoysia grass lawns seems to be the lower the overnight temperature gets below 10 degrees, the greater the chance of browning off, and the greater the chance of Zoysia becoming unsuitable for such regions. However, if these cool nights are generally followed by day time temperatures around 20 degrees, the grass seems to still do quite well.
Some Zoysia grass types such as Empire have been very well developed to grow and stay greener in the temperate areas of Australia over Winter. But even with Empire, the colder the Winter - the greater the chance of the lawn browning off when the weather gets cold.
Better Winter Colour For Zoysia Lawns
If we live in a temperate region of Australia and would love to have a Zoysia lawn for its beauty, low maintenance and easy care, but worry about the winter dormancy and slight browning, then over-seeding the Zoysia lawn for winter may be one solution.
Over-seeding means blending a cool season grass into the Zoysia lawn, so that the lawn remains a bright green colour over winter.
As the winter months approach - the Zoysia will begin to go into dormancy, while at the same time the Cool Season grass will come to life. Once Spring is approaching - the opposite will happen where the Cool Season grass will go dormant and disappear while the Zoysia grass will spring back to life again.
But to re-emphasise again, Zoysia is not suitable for the colder regions of Australia, even when the lawn is over-seeded for the Winter. Instead, the homeowner should look to a far more suitable lawn type for their region.
Tall Fescue and Zoysia
Tall Fescue is the most commonly used and most often recommended cool season grass to mix in with Zoysia, with a similar leaf width, similar colour, and traits which complement each other, Tall Fescue has always been the first choice for over-seeding a Zoysia lawn in winter.
While most Zoysias which grow well in temperate climates can be over-seeded in Winter, Compadre Zoysia was originally and especially developed for this very purpose, and does it very well.
After many years of breeding, development and trialling, Compadre was finally delivered to be the very best strain of Zoysia available for the purpose of blending and over-seeding with a Cool Season grass, and as already mentioned, the very best grass type for this purpose is Tall Fescue.
In fact the name Compadre means ‘companion’, and prior to being renamed - this grass was called Companion Grass to denote its special suitability to be planted as a companion grass alongside Tall Fescue.
Zenith Zoysia is a very close cousin of Compadre and will equally accept and flourish from over-seeding with Tall Fescue as well as Compadre does.
Zoysia Companion Planting
So if we live in a temperate region of Australia and really do want all the wonderful benefits of a Zoysia lawn, but worry about browning off over Winter, then over-seeding the lawn for Winter may be a possible solution for our needs.