Zoysia Grass vs. Bermuda (Which is better? Key Difference)

Selecting the right grass for your lawn is essential for a beautiful lawn but it also needs to work in your specific climate. Two popular warm-season grass options are Zoysia and Bermuda grass. So let’s explore Zoysia grass vs. Bermuda:

Zoysia and Bermuda grass are warm-season turfgrasses that have drought-resistant traits and are suitable for temperate climates. Zoysia has a fine to medium texture, and a deep green color, and thrives in both sun and light shade. Bermuda grass grows aggressively, demands full sun, and has a finer texture. 

In this blog post, we will compare these two grass types, delving into their growth patterns, maintenance requirements, and ideal uses. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of their differences and be better equipped to make an informed decision for your lawn.

Key Takeaways

  • Zoysia and Bermuda grass are popular choices for warm climates due to their drought tolerance.
  • Climate compatibility, growth patterns, lawn appearance & texture, maintenance requirements (watering/drought tolerance, mowing/edging), shade/sunlight preference, and soil adaptability should be considered when selecting between the two.
  • Ideal uses of Zoysia and Bermuda depending on the location’s foot traffic & recovery rate needs.

Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass: At a Glance

Zoysia grass is a robust warm-season turfgrass originally from China, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

It’s known for its shade tolerance and low maintenance requirements compared to other grasses, as zoysia grass grows well even in challenging conditions. In the world of turfgrass, zoysia grass wins when it comes to resilience and adaptability, making zoysia grasses an excellent choice for many homeowners.

On the other hand, Bermuda grass is a warm-season type of grass native to Africa, Asia, and much of Europe, requiring full sunlight and high temperatures to sustain a vibrant green lawn grass.

Both Zoysia and Bermuda grass are popular choices for warm climates due to their drought tolerance and ability to create dense, attractive turf. However, they differ in their growth characteristics and maintenance requirements, thus a clear understanding of these differences will guide your decision.

Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass Climate Compatibility

Zoysia grass can tolerate lower temperatures and even remain green during winter in temperate climates.

It is suitable for cool, shady areas, whereas Bermuda lawns necessitate warmth and ample sunlight to flourish. Both grasses are popular turf options for lawns and sports fields due to their ability to thrive in warm climates.

The ideal temperature range for Zoysia grass is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, making it adaptable to a variety of soil types, including sandy soil.

Bermuda grass, on the other hand, requires full sunlight and warm temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain a lush green lawn. Your local climate is a key factor to consider when choosing between these two grass types.

Growth Patterns and Establishment for Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass

Zoysia grass has a slower growth rate compared to other varieties, with its intricate rooting system contributing to this. Its root system reaches depths of up to two feet, allowing it to access water and nutrients from deeper soil layers.

Bermuda grass, in contrast, has the following characteristics:

  • Fast-growing rate
  • Root system that reaches depths of up to six feet
  • Aggressive spreading rate, which can lead to it completely replacing other grass varieties or even growing over asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks within a year or two.

To establish a Zoysia lawn, you can use grass seed, plugs, or Zoysia sod, depending on your preference and the specific variety of Zoysia grass you choose. Germinating from seed is usually the preferred method for Bermuda grass, although plugs may also be used.

A comprehensive understanding of the growth patterns and establishment methods for both grass types is necessary for a successful lawn.

Lawn Appearance and Texture for Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass

Zoysia grass exhibits a vibrant light to medium green hue, creating a dense turf grass suitable for foot traffic and recreational activities. Its texture can vary depending on the species, climate, and maintenance, but generally, it has smooth blades with a sharp point and flat edges.

Bermuda grass, on the other hand, presents a thick, beautiful medium to dark green appearance with a soft texture, featuring fine, hair-like grass blades, similar to St. Augustine grass.

However, it is essential to watch out for Bermuda grass mites that can affect the health of the grass. When looking to install a new lawn, consider using Bermuda grass sod for a quick and efficient solution, especially if you prefer the vibrant green grass of Bermuda grasses.

The appearance, color, and texture of lawns grown with Zoysia and Bermuda grass can play a significant role in your decision-making process. Each grass type has unique characteristics that contribute to the overall aesthetic of your lawn, therefore, you should take into account which grass type will best align with your preferences and landscaping goals.

Maintenance Requirements for Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass

Maintaining your lawn means understanding the specific needs of the grass you choose. In this section, we will delve into the maintenance requirements for Zoysia and Bermuda grass, covering watering and drought tolerance, mowing and edging, and fertilizing and pest control.

Watering and Drought Tolerance

Zoysia grass has a generally higher drought tolerance compared to Bermuda grass, making it more drought tolerant.

It is recommended that Zoysia and Bermuda grass receive approximately one inch of water per week, including rainfall, as part of regular maintenance. Bermuda grass can thrive with a minimum of one-quarter of an inch of water per week and can survive without water for a period of three to four weeks.

Considering your local climate and the amount of water available for irrigation is vital when choosing between Zoysia and Bermuda grass. Knowing the water requirements and drought tolerance of each grass type will help you make an informed decision.

Mowing and Edging

The recommended mowing height for Zoysia grass is 1.5 inches, and it is suggested to mow Zoysia grass once every ten days or every two weeks. Bermuda grass, on the other hand, requires frequent mowing to prevent overgrowth.

Both Zoysia and Bermuda grass necessitate regular edging to maintain a neat and tidy lawn appearance. Comprehending the mowing and edging requirements for Zoysia and Bermuda grass lawns is key in maintaining an attractive and well-kept outdoor space.

Fertilizing and Pest Control

Late spring is the most suitable time to apply fertilizer to a Zoysia lawn, as this is when the grass is actively growing. The optimal time to apply fertilizer to a Bermuda lawn is in early spring when the seeds are beginning to germinate.

Insecticides, nematodes, and beneficial insects are the most effective methods for pest control on both Zoysia and Bermuda grass. Awareness of the fertilizing and pest control needs for Zoysia and Bermuda grass lawns aids in keeping a healthy and thriving lawn.

Shade and Sunlight Tolerance for Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass

Zoysia grass has a moderate tolerance for shade, typically up to four hours of shade per day. This makes it the best choice for lawns with partial shade.

On the contrary, Bermuda grass requires at least eight hours of direct sunlight and is not highly tolerant to shade, which may cause it to discolor and yellow if it does not receive adequate light daily.

The amount of sunlight your lawn receives is a key factor to consider when deciding between Zoysia and Bermuda grass. Choose the grass type that best matches your lawn’s light conditions to ensure a healthy and vibrant lawn.

Soil Preferences and Adaptability for Zoysia Grass and Bermuda Grass

Zoysia grass is most suited to soil with a pH between 5.8 – 7.0, while Bermuda grass is best grown in a pH range of 6.5-8.0. Bermuda grass is capable of thriving in all soil types, regardless of their acidity or alkalinity. It can also endure salt water without perishing or becoming inactive, making it suitable for coastal areas.

Comprehending the soil preferences and adaptability of Zoysia and Bermuda grass is vital for a thriving lawn. Choose the grass type that best suits your soil conditions to ensure optimal growth and health.

Pros and Cons of Zoysia and Bermuda Grass

Now that we’ve explored the characteristics and maintenance requirements of Zoysia and Bermuda grass, let’s summarize their advantages and disadvantages.

Zoysia grass offers numerous benefits, including heat, drought, and cold weather tolerance, minimal upkeep requirements, adaptability to a variety of soils, including sandy and saline environments, and its suitability for coastlines and erosion control.

However, it also has several drawbacks, such as a two-year establishment period, a higher cost than other warm-season grasses, a tendency to turn brown during prolonged droughts, the potential to become an invasive species, and an inability to thrive in shady yards.

Bermuda grass is known for its regenerative abilities, making it suitable for areas that experience high foot traffic, and it is resistant to weeds, which can be an effective weed control measure.

However, it has several drawbacks, such as:

  • Requiring regular edging
  • Necessitating upkeep like aeration and fertilization
  • Having low cold- and drought tolerance
  • Being unsuitable for shady lawns or transitional climates

In choosing between Zoysia and Bermuda grass, you should balance the pros and cons to decide the most suitable option for your lawn’s unique needs and requirements.

Mixing Zoysia and Bermuda Grass: Is It a Good Idea?

Some homeowners may consider mixing Zoysia and Bermuda grass in a single lawn to create a visually dynamic landscape, as well as enable Zoysia grass to overtake Bermuda grass.

While this approach can provide visual variety to the yard, keep in mind that each grass type has unique maintenance needs and the shade sensitivity of Bermuda grass may cause issues.

Ultimately, the decision to mix Zoysia and Bermuda grass should be carefully weighed before planting, as it may have both advantages and disadvantages. Before making a decision, factor in your lawn’s specific conditions and requirements, as well as your maintenance preferences.

Ideal Uses for Zoysia and Bermuda Grass

Zoysia and Bermuda grass have their own unique characteristics that make them suitable for various types of lawns, sports fields, and other landscaping projects. Zoysia grass is particularly well-suited for locations with heavy foot traffic, such as golf courses and parks, due to its hardiness and ability to withstand wear.

Bermuda grass is the popular choice for golf courses and sports fields, thanks to its quick recovery rate after foot traffic.

In deciding between Zoysia and Bermuda grass, take into account their ideal applications and alignment with your specific landscaping goals. This will help you choose the grass type that best suits your needs and ensures a successful outdoor space.

Zoysia Grass vs Bermuda Grass for Lawns


In conclusion, both Zoysia and Bermuda grass have their own unique characteristics, maintenance requirements, and ideal applications.

Zoysia grass is known for its tolerance of shade trees, lower maintenance requirements, and adaptability to various climates, while a Bermuda grass lawn is highly resilient and can tolerate heavy foot traffic. When choosing between the two grass types, consider factors such as your local climate, the amount of sunlight your lawn receives, the soil conditions, and your maintenance preferences.

Ultimately, the decision between Zoysia and Bermuda grass comes down to your specific needs and requirements. But both can be great options under the right circumstances.

By carefully weighing the pros and cons, as well as considering the various factors discussed in this blog post, you can make an informed decision that best suits your lawn and ensures a beautiful, thriving outdoor space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the disadvantage of Zoysia grass?

Zoysia grass has poor shade tolerance, is difficult to grow from seed, lacks vibrancy and has coarse blades, making it a disadvantage for lawn care.

Which is cheaper Bermuda or Zoysia?

Overall, Bermuda grass is the cheaper option since it establishes quickly and costs less. Zoysia grass is higher maintenance but does not require as much frequent maintenance.

Will Zoysia grass overtake Bermuda?

Given the right conditions, Zoysia grass will overtake Bermuda over time. Even in cold climates, Zoysia will gradually establish itself every spring and fall, resulting in it gradually taking over Bermuda.

This process is slow, but it is inevitable. Zoysia is a hardy grass that can survive in a variety of climates and conditions, while Bermuda is more of a hardy grass.

Does Zoysia stay green longer than Bermuda?

Zoysia grass stays a light to medium green color during its active growing season and turns brown much later in the season than Bermuda grass.

Zoysia grass also remains green longer in the spring and late fall than other warm-season grasses, giving it an edge over Bermuda grass.

Which is better Bermuda or Zoysia?

Overall, Bermuda grass offers greater weather tolerance and wear resistance than zoysia grass, making it the better choice. However, the superior variety of zoysia grass, EMPIRE, is more tolerant to wear than other varieties.

Rose Creek | 17204 Kingfisher Way Edmond OK by Bill Wilson, Tender Winter Grass by Dru Bloomfield, Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon): Hydraulic fluid injury by Scot Nelson, and starr-080103-1415-Zoysia_sp-habit-Lowes_Garden_Center_Kahului-Maui by Forest and Kim Starr are licensed under CC2.0

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