Zoysia Grass vs Bermuda: What’s The Difference?

Looking for the best and most suitable grass to use on your next landscaping project? It is fairly understandable if you are torn between using zoysia or bermuda grass to carpet your lawn. After all, they are basically the same and it can be hard to tell them apart especially if you will not compare them side by side.

Both grass variants are very popular choices when it comes to grass carpeting. This is because of their durability and ability to thrive in very hot places. In this article, we will identify their differences in a very detailed manner to help you come up with a decision. So read on and find out more about these two very reliable types of grass.

What is Zoysia?

Zoysia is a type of lawn grass that has gained popularity in households. Especially to families with kids and pets. This is due to the fact that zoysia has a very high tolerance to the playful nature of toddlers and animals. It also requires minimal attention. It can live healthily even with very little water.

The best part is that all types of zoysia are perennial plants. Meaning, it would automatically grow itself in the spring. Not like other plants that die off in the winter and never come back. Zoysia also has little known diseases and pests and can guard itself from said problems. That being said, zoysia grass is best for people who want a pretty and dense lawn without having to put too much work into it.

What is Bermuda?

Bermuda grass is more often seen on parks, golf courses, and even in sports fields. This is because the bermuda grass is ridiculously tough and resilient. So much so that even if it gets damaged somehow, it bounces back fast even if you don’t replant it or help in any way. People also love it for it’s very vibrant green color and the luxurious feeling of the dense grass on the feet.

The bermuda grass also has a very high heat tolerance and can grow vividly even during the very hot summers in tropical countries. Whether your lawn gets direct sun or is partly shaded, the bermuda grass will have no trouble in giving you a very thick and dense grass carpet.

Comparing Bermuda and Zoysia

There are very slight differences between the two. However, they are important to consider when choosing which grass you should go with. Your current location and the weather you have is also crucial for your grass to thrive beautifully. Without further ado, let’s compare the two:

Tolerance To Cold Weather

As before mentioned, your current location will play a big role on which grass you should go with. Both types of grass can grow and are advisable in very warm and tropical temperature. However, their resistance to cold weather is very different. Bermuda is a little more fragile when it comes to very cold winters than zoysia.

Even at temperatures as low as -10°F or -23.33° celsius. The bermuda grass, however, has a limit of 0°F or -15° celsius. If you are unsure of whether your location can be a good habitat for these types of grass, you may refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Keep in mind that Zoysia can grow in Hardiness Zones of 6 to 9 while the bermuda is 7 to 10.

Need For Direct Sunlight

Both of these plants love the sunlight and will spread and grow perfectly in the heat. If your lawn will have plenty of trees and the grass carpet would be shaded for the better part of the day, then you would probably be better off with zoysia. Bermuda requires direct sunlight and can only tolerate shade in minimum. Zoysia on the other hand grows just as beautifully in the shade as long as it can still get sunlight.

Tolerance To Foot Traffic And Diseases

While both plants are considered sturdy, bermuda is considered more resilient when it comes to battering of foot steps. For that very reason, you can see bermuda grass more commonly in parks and sports fields where it can be subjected to constant traffic. Zoysia, while considered resilient too, may not be as tolerant.

In terms of pests and diseases, zoysia is known to be more resistant though it has its own problems. One of the more common pests that it has is the billbugs. These little insects will eat on the leaves of the grass and even on the roots. While roundworms or nematodes and ground pearls can also be an issue, zoysia can resist the attack most of the time.

On the other hand, the bermuda grass is quite more vulnerable to crickets, nematodes, and even to fungus. This fungal disease can cause dollar spots on your lawn or noticeable brown spots on your grass carpet. It is mostly due to underwatering and when your soil becomes cooler than 65°F.

Growth Speed

In terms of growth, zoysia is slower compared to bermuda grass. If properly nurtured, it may be able to cover a regular lawn size in a year. But commonly, it would take around a couple of years to reach its maximum growth. It will be worth the wait though, because when fully grown, zoysia gets really dense. That thickness also makes it resistant to weeds as there isn’t really much space left.

On the other hand, bermuda grass grows really fast and can fully cover your lawn in a year or even less. However, for that same reason, it may be hard to control and may even overpower the other plants in your lawn. That being said, it may require maintenance and trimming for you to control the growth. It is also not as dense as zoysia and may allow weeds to grow in between.

Feel And Appearance

As previously mentioned, zoysia grows thicker and more dense than the bermuda. Both have a bright green color, though the bermuda grass may have different shades of green. Bermuda can also be trimmed real short without causing damage to the plant. On the other hand, zoysia is advisable to be maintained at at least 1 ½ inch in height.

In terms of texture, bermuda feels softer on bare feet. Zoysia has small hairs on its leaves and may feel itchy or even prickly when stepped on. Both plants will go brown during fall and winter and will only get back their vivid green color in the spring.

Availability And Planting Cost

Since zoysia is a slow growing grass compared to bermuda, they are most commonly sold as sods or plugs. Bermuda can be bought as seeds and thus may be cheaper if you decide to plant them. Hybrid bermuda grass may be bought in sods as well.

If in case you will be planting sods, it is highly advisable to do that in spring so you can instantly see the quality of the plants. Planting them in the winter may require you to wait for the next season to know whether you have bought quality pieces or if it has weeds.

Final Thoughts

Both types of grass will make a beautiful addition to your lawn. Both will definitely make it more pleasing to the eyes. The major factor you need to consider is the temperature you have in your location. This ensures that the plant will be at its best health. If you live in a place that can support both grass types, then it will be easier for you to decide. All you need is base it on the other factors mentioned above. Have fun planting and start decorating your garden!

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