Is Scotts fertilizer good for zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass is a popular warm-season lawn grass known for its excellent heat and drought tolerance. However, like any grass type, zoysia requires proper care and nutrition to thrive. Scotts is one of the most well-known brands of lawn fertilizer on the market. But is their fertilizer a good choice for nourishing zoysia lawns?

The benefits of fertilizing zoysia grass

Fertilizing is an important part of proper zoysia lawn care. Zoysia is a warm-season grass that grows actively during the summer months. It needs a steady supply of nutrients to support vigorous growth and maintain a lush, green appearance.

Some key benefits of fertilizing zoysia grass include:

– Promotes dense, thick growth: Fertilizer provides zoysia with the nutrients it needs to produce more shoots and expand laterally. This results in a lush, thick lawn.

– Enhances color: Nitrogen, a key nutrient in fertilizers, helps improve the green color of zoysia. Fertilizing brings out a rich emerald green hue.

– Strengthens grass: Proper fertilization gives zoysia the nutrients it needs to develop stronger roots and blades that can better withstand foot traffic, disease, and drought.

– Improves recovery: Applying fertilizer in spring and summer enables zoysia to quickly fill in bare spots and recover from winter damage or transition out of dormancy.

– Supports overall health: Fertilizing supplies the nutrients zoysia needs to fend off pests, weeds, and environmental stresses while maintaining optimal growth and vigor.

When to fertilize zoysia grass

Applying fertilizer at the right times is key for nurturing zoysia lawns. Zoysia is actively growing and using nutrients during the warm summer months. This grass goes dormant and stops growing during cool fall and winter months.

The optimal times to fertilize zoysia are:

– Early summer (May to June)
– Mid summer (July)
– Late summer/early fall (August to September)

Fertilizing in the summer months encourages lush summer growth and helps zoysia recover from spring transition. Late summer/early fall fertilization also gives zoysia a nutritional boost before it goes dormant.

Avoid fertilizing zoysia in the spring or fall months outside of the ideal fertilization windows. Fertilizer applied at the wrong times can lead to patchy green-up, disease problems, and weak grass.

How to choose a fertilizer for zoysia grass

When shopping for fertilizer for zoysia lawns, look for products that provide the following:

– Slow-release nitrogen: Zoysia benefits from having a steady feeding of nitrogen over an extended period, rather than a quick nitrogen spike. Slow-release nitrogen sources include sulfur-coated urea, urea formaldehyde, IBDU, and methylene ureas. Avoid quick-release synthetic urea.

– Balanced NPK ratio: Look for an NPK ratio in the range of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2. Zoysia needs plenty of nitrogen for healthy growth, with lower but adequate levels of phosphorus and potassium.

– Iron: Iron creates deep green color in zoysia. Choose a fertilizer containing iron, especially chelated iron for maximum nutrient uptake.

– Micronutrients: Zoysia also requires secondary nutrients like manganese, boron, and magnesium for well-rounded nutrition.

– No weed killers: Avoid weed and feed fertilizer products. Zoysia lawns rarely have weed problems, and the herbicide could potentially damage the zoysia. Stick to regular balanced fertilizer.

Following these guidelines helps ensure that the fertilizer provides zoysia with the essential nutrition it needs for health and vigor.

The benefits of Scotts fertilizer for zoysia grass

Scotts Turf Builder lawn fertilizer is a popular choice among homeowners with zoysia lawns. Here are some of the benefits this brand of fertilizer provides for nourishing zoysia:

– Contains slow-release nitrogen: Scotts Turf Builder uses a patented Time Release Nitrogen that feeds zoysia steadily over 10-12 weeks, preventing burn and leaching.

– Iron for rich color: Products like Scotts Turf Builder Southern Triple Action have high iron content derived from ferrous sulfate to amplify deep green color in zoysia.

– Added micronutrients: Scotts fertilizers provide secondary nutrients like magnesium, manganese, and boron to fully nourish zoysia.

– No phosphorus: Unless new sod or reseeding, zoysia has minimal need for phosphorus. Scotts formulas have little to no phosphorus to prevent runoff and pollution without depriving zoysia of needed nutrition.

– Options with pre-emergent: Some Scotts fertilizers, like Turf Builder Halts, contain pre-emergent weed prevention to proactively block crabgrass and other summer weeds while fertilizing.

– Recognized brand: Scotts is a trusted brand among consumers and lawn care experts, giving homeowners confidence in using their fertilizer products.

Potential drawbacks of Scotts fertilizer for zoysia

While Scotts fertilizer offers many positives, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider:

– Fast green-up: The high iron and nitrogen in Scotts Turf Builder can sometimes cause zoysia to green up faster than it can grow, resulting in weak lush growth prone to disease.

– Growth surges: Zoysia has a moderate growth rate. High nitrogen levels found in some Scotts formulas may over-stimulate zoysia, resulting in excessive top growth at the expense of root development.

– Burn potential: Despite slow-release claims, Scotts fertilizer can still potentially burn zoysia if applied improperly at the wrong rate or time of year, especially during hot, dry periods.

– Cost: Scotts fertilizers often come at a higher cost per application compared to other conventional fertilizer options. This can get pricey when fertilizing across an entire zoysia lawn.

– No customization: Scotts offers set ratios and formulations. For zoysia lawns with specialized needs or deficiencies, a custom blended fertilizer may provide better results.

To avoid these issues, proper application following package directions and timing applications for the season are important when using Scotts on zoysia.

How and when to apply Scotts fertilizer on zoysia grass

Follow these tips for successfully using Scotts fertilizer on zoysia lawns:

– Always adhere to package rates and dates. Never over-apply. Scotts provides recommended spreader settings to properly calibrate application rate.

– Time applications appropriately. Apply Scotts Turf Builder on zoysia in the early summer, mid-summer, and fall within the fertilization windows. Avoid spring and winter use.

– Avoid application during drought or temperature extremes. Wait until zoysia is well-watered before fertilizing during hot, dry periods to prevent burn.

– Be careful not to overlap spreader passes. This can lead to over-application and zoysia burn. Pass back and forth in perpendicular directions.

– Follow shortly after application with deep watering. Lightly watering helps dissolve granules and starts activating the timed-release nitrogen.

– Do not reseed, sod, or sprig zoysia prior to applying Scotts Turf Builder. Wait until the grass is fully established.

– Mow lawn first so fertilizer reaches soil level rather than getting caught in uncut blades.

Following label instructions carefully prevents issues when using Scotts fertilizer on zoysia for a healthy, vibrant lawn.

Alternatives to Scotts fertilizer for zoysia grass

While Scotts makes a quality zoysia fertilizer, comparable alternatives are also available for homeowners wanting options:

Milorganite – An organic nitrogen fertilizer sourced from wastewater treatment byproduct. Provides slow-release nitrogen and iron. Low burn risk.

Pennington Fast Acting Sulfur Coated – Contains 24% sulfur-coated urea nitrogen for gradual feeding plus iron. Budget-friendly alternative.

Andersons Humic DG – Combines urea and ammonium sulfate nitrogen with humic acids to stimulate soil microbes.

Simple Lawn Solutions – Liquid fertilizer derived from natural ingredients like seaweed and fish emulsion. Lower environmental impact.

Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal – Balanced dispersible granule fertilizer with calcium to strengthen zoysia blades and overall grass health.

Soil tests and custom blends – Testing soil first allows creating a custom fertilizer tailored to the lawn’s specific nutritional needs.

While Scotts performs well, exploring other options can provide flexibility in feeding and nourishing zoysia properly. Consult local garden centers for advice.


Scotts Turf Builder provides a quality fertilizer option containing slow-release nitrogen, iron, and other key nutrients zoysia needs. Following label application guidelines carefully avoids potential issues like burn or overgrowth. Well-timed applications ensure zoysia receives nutrition during pivotal growing periods for lush, vigorous grass. While results are often favorable, Scotts isn’t the only choice. Explore alternatives like Milorganite, Pennington, and custom blends to make the best fertilization decision for your individual zoysia lawn. Proper yearly fertilization coupled with mowing, watering, and other care creates an enviable zoysia lawn.

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