Zeon Zoysia vs Emerald Zoysia: What is the Difference Between Zeon Zoysia Grass and Emerald Zoysia Grass?
Having a beautiful lawn in their garden is every homeowner’s dream. But growing a lush, green, dense lawn needs some effort and consideration. One’s area’s climatic conditions are an important consideration.
Whether one lives in a warm region or cold region, whether the area receives rain or frost, whether the soil is sandy, clay, well-draining or not well-draining, etc. has to be considered so as to choose the right variety of lawn grass that will grow into a beautiful lawn.
Published: October 21, 2022.
Fortunately, there are plenty of choices when it comes to cold and warm climates and anything in between. When it comes to warm climate, one prime choice is Zoysia grass.
Zoysia grass was introduced to the United States from Asia.
It thrives during the warm months of spring, summer, and early fall, when the temperature ranges from 80 to 95-degree F. During this time, it grows vigorously and produces a dense, lovely lawn. With the first fall frost, it will turn brown and will remain dormant throughout the winter.
But Zoysia in turn has many varieties out of which 2 important ones are Zeon and Emerald. These are some of the most popular varieties when it comes to Zoysia lawn grass.
What is Zeon Zoysia Grass?
Zeon is a fine-textured variety of Zoysia grass that develops into a dark green, dense lawn. It has good tolerance for drought and shade, and also for wet growing conditions.
The delicate blades of Zeon Zoysia stand erect and being bright green in color and standing upright, this lawn looks very attractive.
The color retention quality of Zeon Zoysia, even in late seasons and early spring, is its most prominent trait.
Also, its robust stolon, rhizome and root production, internode length, and short stolon are incredible qualities according to professionals and licensed growers.
All in all, Zeon Zoysia grass is perfect if a homeowner desires to give a picturesque look to their garden.
What is Emerald Zoysia Grass?
Emerald Zoysia is another fine-textured variety that is perhaps the most attractive among Zoysia varieties. It’s an artificially bred hybrid variety released by Dr. Forbes many years after the variety Meyer.
It thrives well if grown under top-quality maintenance practices. As its name suggests, it’s emerald green in color, has a very fine texture, high shoot density, good shade tolerance, and low growth habit. It has less winter hardiness, but more shade tolerance than Meyer.
Emerald Zoysia is artificially bred with high levels of resistance to drought, weed control, and wear. Thus, it’s a great option for those who have energetic kids and pets in their households.
Emerald Zoysia can offer an incredibly soft and delicate, full-blown, high-quality lawn with at least 5 hours of sunlight every day.
For those who don’t get much time for maintenance tasks, this is the best lawn grass because it grows around 6 to 12 inches and one can go without mowing for days.
It’s the best lawn grass for warm and humid weather conditions.
Perhaps the best trait of Emerald Zoysia is that it’s intensely adaptable to its surroundings.
If over-fertilized, Emerald quickly grows excess thatch.
Due to its remarkably attractive green color and fine texture, it’s been declared the “Cadilac of lawn grasses”.
Here's a detailed comparison between the two varieties.
Zeon vs. Emerald Zoysia Grass
Color and Texture
Zeon: Zeon is perhaps the most beautiful among all warm season lawn grasses. With the onset of the spring, it develops a spectacular lush green color. Its color is even and rich, and it comes off with a dense, yet delicate texture, almost resembling the Bermuda grass in its style.
Emerald: Emerald, as its name suggests, has an emerald green color. Its blades are soft, and delicate, and appear like a green carpet when fully grown. Its blades are wide and almost look like the St. Augustine grass.
Zeon: The growing season of Zeon Zoysia is from late spring to early summer.
Emerald: The growing season of Emerald Zoysia too starts from late spring and continues till early summer.
Zeon: Zeon grass can grow very quickly with its high stolon frequency and vigorous rhizome growth.
Emerald: Emerald Zoysia, on the other hand, is a slow grower but exhibits a dense creeping growth rather than upward or sprawling growth. Since its blade density is much higher than other grasses, it gives a carpet-like look to the lawn.
Both: Both these grass types can be established from sprigs and sods.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones
Zeon: Zeon Zoysia thrives well in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 to 11.
Emerald: Emerald zoysia is hardy to hardiness zones 7b to 11a.
Zeon: Zeon Zoysia performs well in the extreme heat of the lower south and the cold winters of the upper south, and from coastal regions to the lower mountains. It can establish, survive and offer a lovely lawn from Virginia to Texas and south to Key West.
Emerald: Emerald can withstand extreme heat and likes the moderate winters of the lower south. It’s well adapted to climates from the southern coast of the USA to the lower transition zone. It can establish, survive and offer an amazing lawn from North Carolina to Texas and mid to southern California.
Zeon: One of the most exceptional qualities of Zeon Zoysia is that it can survive in a variety of climates. This is the reason it’s grown throughout the world. It can withstand hours of sun as well as moderate shade.
Emerald: Emerald, on the other hand, grows comfortably when exposed to at least 3-4 hours of sunlight daily. It’s commonly grown in the warm and humid weather of the Southern US.
Zeon: The mowing height for Zeon varies between 0.5 and 1.5 inches and the gardener should maintain a regular mowing schedule.
Emerald: Emerald Zoysia reaches the height of 0.5 to 1.5 inches without mowing every week or ten days.
Both: As it’s clear by now that both Zeon and Emerald Zoysia grasses need a lot less maintenance than other lawn grasses, one can cut both by a reel or standard rotatory mower equipped with smart blades to keep these lawns in top shape.
Zeon: Grower should water Zeon Zoysia lawn to supplement rainfall shortages only. Fixed timer irrigation settings should be avoided.
Although it’s drought tolerant, it performs best when given around 1” water per week. If there are 1 or more inches of rainfall, additional watering is not required. Run-off and standing water should be avoided.
Emerald: The grower should water Emerald Zoysia lawn too to supplement rainfall shortages only. Here too they should avoid fixed timer watering. Emerald Zoysia too, although drought tolerant, performs best when provided weekly with around 1” of water. Extra watering is not required if there are one or more inches of rainfall. Run-off and standing water should be avoided.
Zeon: The grower should apply 2 to 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. feet annually during the growing season. Once the lawn matures, they should apply moderate nitrogen as suggested by lawn experts.
Although higher fertilizing levels mean deeper color, more growth brings frequent mowing and a higher risk of diseases. The grower should never fertilize their Zeon Zoysia lawn with high nitrogen fertilizer during fall or winter.
Supplemental application of iron can enhance grass color, but most fertilizers already consist of iron. Lime should be applied after soil tests if required.
Emerald: The grower should apply 2 to 4 pounds of slow-release nitrogen per 1,000 sq. feet annually during the growing season. The fertilizer should be labeled as “recommended for Zoysia lawns”. However, they should remember that over-fertilization can cause thatch formation and declined health.
They should always fertilize the lawn based on a soil test. Iron supplementation will enhance grass color. Lime should not be applied without a soil test. Compost topdressing is a good lawn care practice.
Weed Control Requirements
Zeon: The dense growth of Zeon Zoysia can deter weed infestation; however, preventive measures are the best weed control. These are regular mowing and pre-emergent herbicide application (recommended for Zoysia lawns) in the spring and fall.
Emerald: The Emerald Zoysia too having dense growth, can be less disturbed by the weed population. However, the grower is better off with the application of a pre-emergent herbicide (recommended for Zoysia lawns) in the spring and fall.
Thatch Removal Requirements
Zeon: Zeon Zoysia can periodically accumulate thatch which should be removed. This should ideally be done just before the lawn turns green (around late winter in the coastal plain and spring towards the north).
The grower can use a commercial machine to de-thatch and remove debris, or scalp with a mower.
Emerald: In the case of Emerald Zoysia too, periodical thatch removal may be necessary. Here too the grower should do it just before the lawn turns green (this is around late winter in the coastal plain and spring towards the north).
The grower can use a commercial machine to de-thatch and remove debris, or scalp with a mower.
Pests and Diseases
Zeon: Although Zeon is quite resistant to pests and diseases, the grower should be careful about some pests and diseases, especially if the lawn is not healthy. For example, Rhizoctonia fungus can cause Zoysia Patch disease in over-fertilized lawns. This can be resolved by fungicide applications.
In cool spring weather, the lawn can develop some rust and in hot humid weather, other leaf diseases can attack the lawn.
However, when water and fertility levels are minimized, the grass generally recovers. Soil insects like mole crickets and grubs can cause minimal problems.
Emerald: Emerald, as such, is tolerant to common lawn insects, compared to Meyer. Most damage-causing insects are grubs and billbugs (and mole crickets in the Lower South).
Diseases are not really a problem in Emerald unless water and/or fertility have not been well-managed. The above-mentioned Rhizoctonia fungus can be a problem here too causing Zoysia Patch disease when the lawn is over-fertilized.
Some experts recommend annual spring compost topdressing with organic compost to minimize disease impact and help control thatch.
Resistance to Insects, Diseases, and Weeds
Zeon: Zeon Zoysia’s roots penetrate deep down the soil and thus absorb water and nutrients. This helps the grass to remain hydrated and evergreen. Also, hydration gives the grass the strength to fight various diseases and pests.
Emerald: Emerald Zoysia’s roots absorb comparatively less water and nutrients, and therefore might not be quite resistant to pests and diseases.
Recovery from Injury
Zeon: Zeon is robust and resistant to most diseases and insects, and recovers soon from any injury or harm by them.
Emerald: Emerald is a delicate grass and can only tolerate mild insect attacks and normal climatic conditions of summer and winter. If attacked by wild insects or severe diseases, its recovery is slow. If environmental conditions turn bad, it’s negatively affected and recovers comparatively slowly.
Resistance to Drought
Zeon: Zeon has outstanding water and salt resistance. However, during drought conditions, this grass turns brown. But as soon as it’s irrigated, it recovers quickly, i.e., it turns green again.
Emerald: Emerald survives drought conditions by going dormant (leaves roll up and the color turns gray). The grower should avoid drought conditions because Emerald’s recovery is slow. In general, Emerald will need 1” of water every week.
Zeon: Zeon Zoysia tolerates traffic like family and pets and is used in high-impact areas like golf courses and also those designed for entertainment and picnicking. For any sustained damage, Zeon recovers very quickly and grows back soon to fill the spots.
Emerald: Emerald Zoysia tolerates traffic like humans and pets and is used in large areas meant for entertainment and picnicking. However, due to its slow growth habit, recovery may be slow.
Zeon: Zeon does well from full sun to partial shade and requires at least 4 hours of direct sunlight.
Emerald: Emerald does well from full sun to moderate shade.
Both Zeon and Emerald Zoysia types of grasses have a fine texture and have a green carpet look. Therefore, they are also installed on golf courses as well as home and workplace lawns.
What if Zeon and Emerald Zoysia are Combined?
With all their outstanding features and balancing qualities, one might be eager to know what if Zeon and Emerald Zoysia are combined together.
Several gardeners have experimented by mixing these two types of grass. However, the results are not exactly amazing as one would expect, but still, some may find it acceptable. Actually, it depends on one’s taste.
While Zeon has finer blades, Emerald’s growth is faster.
Their color difference is also noticeable. As Zeon’s color is darker, the lawn might look patchy in some areas and overgrown in the rest. Ultimately, it all comes down to how well the gardener tames them with respect to their specifications as well as requirements.
Neither Zeon Zoysia nor Emerald Zoysia is better than the other when compared, because both have some qualities that can look good to some and not-so-good to others, and vice versa. As mentioned earlier, it all depends on one’s personal preference.
However, thanks to their beautiful looks, lush green pleasant color, dense growth habit, fine texture, soft feel, and low maintenance needs, both these types of grass can be desirable options for homeowners for their garden lawns.