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How to kill weeds in Zoysia grass

You can kill weeds in Zoysia grass using natural solutions or chemical weed control. 

Besides killing weeds, you can also practice proper lawn management. This can help to control or prevent weeds from infecting your Zoysia grass, leading to a beautiful-looking yard. 

Below is everything you need to know about Zoysia grass weeds and how to kill them without damaging your turf. 

What types of weeds can you find in Zoysia grass? 

Before looking at control solutions, knowing the types of weeds you are dealing with on your lawn is important. Below is a look at some of the common weeds in zoysia grass: 

  • Dandelion 
  • Crabgrass
  • Clover 
  • Goosegrass
  • Plantain 
  • Yellow Nutsedge 
  • Chickweed 
  • Groundsel 
  • Spotted knapweed 
  • Chickweed 
  • Ground-ivy, and more. 

NOTE: In some cases, Zoysia may choke out some of these weeds, meaning you don’t need aggressive control solutions.

Natural ways to kill weeds in Zoysia grass

These are the most effective natural methods for eliminating weeds that have taken over your Zoysia grass.

1. Mechanical weed control 

Pulling out weeds by hand or with a gardening tool is an effective way to get rid of weeds in zoysia grass
Pulling out weeds by hand or with a gardening tool is an effective way to remove them from Zoysia grass. Image: Canva/paulaconnelly

Mechanical weed control is one of the oldest and most effective ways of eliminating weeds. This involves pulling the weeds by hand or tools like hand weeders, gardening knives, hoes, forks, trowels, and more. 

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Mechanical weed control will get rid of crabgrass in a Zoysia lawn. Other shallow-rooted roots that are easy to pull out include chickweed, clover, groundsel, and plantain.  

2. Using a vinegar, salt, and dish soap solution 

One of the most effective weed killers is the vinegar, salt, and soap solution. Mix one tablespoon of liquid dish soap, a cup of salt, and a gallon of white vinegar to make this solution, then spray the weeds. 

The vinegar and salt in the solution will draw water from the weeds, causing them to dry up. In addition, the dish soap will act as a surfactant, allowing the solution to stick to the weeds. 

The vinegar, salt, and dish soap solution will kill annoying weeds like clover. However, it is non-selective; it will kill every plant it comes into contact with, including your Zoysia lawn. 

Therefore, carefully spot-treat the weeds to kill clover but not zoysia grass

3. Using boiling water

Boiling water is another excellent natural solution for killing weeds. The piping hot water will kill any part of the weed it comes into contact with, which can then cause the entire plant to dry up. 

The best part about using boiling water to kill weeds in your lawn is that you won’t add harmful substances to your grass. 

However, you should be very careful when applying the water, as it will also kill any part of the Zoysia turf it comes into contact with.  

4. Using a baking soda solution 

Baking soda solution dries out the weeds
Baking soda solution dries out the weeds. Image: Canva/welcomia

Baking soda is another readily available home remedy for eliminating weeds. Mix one and a half cups of baking soda in a gallon of water to make this weed killer, then spray the weeds. 

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The baking soda solution will dry out the weeds, causing them to die. In addition, baking soda is alkaline, which can help to kill fungus in zoysia grass. 

One drawback of using baking soda is that it is a non-selective contact herbicide; thus, you must be careful not to spray the solution on the zoysia lawn.

Chemical solutions to control weeds in Zoysia grass

Selective herbicides efficiently kill weeds without harming the grass
Selective herbicides efficiently kill weeds without harming the grass. Image: Canva/onfokus

Chemical weed control involves the use of store-bought herbicides. Some of the chemical herbicides you can use to kill weeds in your Zoysia lawn include: 

1. Selective herbicides 

Selective chemical weed killers are designed to kill a narrow range of weeds without harming surrounding useful plants.

Therefore, using a selective herbicide to kill weeds in Zoysia grass will help to remove pesky weeds without destroying your lawn.

Examples of selective herbicides include broadleaf weed killers. These are excellent for eliminating clover, dandelion, plantain, and other broadleaf weeds from your lawn. 

2. Broad Spectrum Herbicides 

Broad-spectrum herbicides are designed to work on a wide range of weeds. Therefore, they are non-selective and will usually kill every living plant they come into contact with. 

Therefore, when using such herbicides, you must carefully spot-treat the weeds on your lawn. This will ensure you only kill the weeds without harming your turf. 

3. Contact Herbicides  

Contact herbicides are weed killers that only work once they come into contact with the plant. Therefore, you need to apply them directly to the target weeds on your lawn. 

Most contact herbicides are non-selective and will kill any plant they come into contact with. Therefore, you should only apply them to the target plants to avoid damaging your Zoysia grass. 

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The above types of chemical herbicides can also be grouped into two categories: 

  • Pre-emergent herbicides 
  • Post-emergent herbicides 

Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to the Zoysia grass, where they kill the weeds before they start emerging from the soil. These herbicides can be selective or non-selective. 

On the other hand, post-emergent herbicides for zoysia grass are applied once the weeds have emerged. Likewise, they can be selective or non-selective. 

With pre and post-emergent herbicides, you must know when to spray zoysia grass for weeds for them to be effective.

For example, when using pre-emergent herbicides, you should spray your lawn in early spring or early fall to deal with weeds that germinate in summer and winter, respectively. 

On the other hand, you should apply post-emergent herbicides during summer, spring, or winter when the weeds appear on your lawn. 

In addition, most herbicides will come with more instructions on when to spray based on the weed growth stage, environmental conditions, and more.  

How to maintain Zoysia grass and prevent weeds

Instead of trying to kill weeds in Zoysia grass, you can maintain your lawn, thus preventing these pesky, unwanted plants from germinating. 

Below are some top weed prevention techniques you can employ on your lawn: 

1. Fertilize your lawn 

A well-fertilized zoysia lawn limits weed growth
A well-fertilized zoysia lawn limits weed growth. Image: Canva/vitalii

Regularly applying fertilizer to your lawn will ensure strong and vigorous growth for the zoysia grass. This will also make it harder for other weeds to invade your lawn and outcompete the grass.  

However, you should be careful not to over-fertilize your lawn as this can damage parts of the turf, leaving bare areas. Such areas would then be vulnerable to a weed invasion. 

2. Mow the lawn regularly

Regular lawn mowing limits weed growth
Regular lawn mowing limits weed growth. Image: Canva/lovcen

Mowing your lawn improves the health of your zoysia grass, making it harder for weeds to invade your turf.

In addition, mowing helps defoliate existing weed plants, reducing their vigor and seed production abilities. 

3. Use mulch 

Mulch blocks weed growth
Mulch blocks weed growth. Image: andry

Adding mulch to your lawn prevents sunlight from reaching the soil, thus blocking the germination of weed plants. 

The mulch material also acts as a physical barrier to sprouting weeds. 

4. Water your lawn 

Water your lawn frequently to improve the lawn's health and fight off weeds
Water your lawn frequently to improve the lawn’s health and fight off weeds. Image: Canva/nenovbrothers

Watering your lawn will improve the health and vigor of your zoysia grass, making it easier to fight off weeds. 

In addition, watering your lawn deeply and at irregular intervals will promote the growth of deep sod roots, preventing weeds from taking hold in the soil.