Zoysia grass vs. Bermuda: What’s best for your lawn?


by Melanie Fourie

Settling on a type of grass for your lawn can be a time-consuming process. You have to take the climate, heavy foot traffic, irrigation requirements, aesthetics and other factors into account before making your decision.

You might be torn between Zoysia and Bermuda grass — which are two excellent (and common) options for your lawn. They each have advantages and disadvantages, but which one is ultimately better?

Read on for our comprehensive comparison of these two popular grass types.

Zoysia vs. Bermuda grass comparison chart.

Here's a quick look at some of the key differences between Bermuda and Zoysia grass:




Growth rate



Growing season

Warm-season grass that grows in spring, summer and early fall

Warm-season grass that grows in spring, summer and early fall

Dormant season




Fine to medium texture

Mostly medium to coarse texture; hybrids can have a fine texture

Appearance and color

Typically dark green and dense, but can range from light to medium green; can turn brown in cold weather

Typically gray-green or blue-green and dense, but can range from light-dark green; can turn brown in cold weather

Mowing height

1-2 inches

1-2 inches

Mowing frequency



Drought tolerance



Cold tolerance



Shade tolerance



Salt tolerance



Foot traffic tolerance



Watering needs

1 inch per week

1-1 ½  inches per week

Sources: Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of CaliforniaTexas A&M AgriLife Research, Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and Pennington Seed.

What is Zoysia grass?

Like Bermuda and St. Augustine grass, Zoysia is a warm-season grass that thrives in warm climates. However, some grass varieties of Zoysia can also endure cold weather.

zoysia grass bladesZoysia’s recommended mowing height is 1-2 inches, and it typically needs 1 inch of water per week.

Zoysia is considered to be relatively low-maintenance, dense, thick grass. However, there are at least three popular species — and their characteristics and maintenance needs may vary:

  • Zoysia japonica has a coarse texture and is a lighter green. It has a better cold tolerance than Zoysia matrella.
  • Zoysia matrella has a finer texture and grows slowly. It’s not as cold-tolerant as Zoysia japonica and is considered to be a high-maintenance grass.
  • Zoysia tenuifolia also grows slowly and isn’t as cold-tolerant. It has a “puffy” appearance due to the small clumps it creates in your lawn.

What does Zoysia grass look like?

When growing during warmer weather, Zoysia has a dense growth pattern with a dark, attractive green color. However, it can be light or medium green in color, too. Its grass blades begin to turn brown during the cooler months. 

Pros and cons of Zoysia grass.

The following comparison shows the pros and cons of Zoysia grass. Use it to help you make a decision for your lawn:



Drought and heat tolerant

Some species are not as drought tolerant

Shade tolerant

Grows slowly

Some species have good cold tolerance

Some species are not as cold tolerant

Tolerant to heavy foot traffic

Some species can be high-maintenance

Its thickness & density make it attractive to the eye

Its thickness can make it difficult to mow and requires sharpening mower blades

What is Bermuda grass?

Bermuda grass is another popular choice for lawns. Like Zoysia, it’s a warm-season grass that peaks in spring, summer and early fall. Bermuda grass can also withstand hot and dry conditions. 

bermuda grass bladesBut unlike Zoysia, it has a faster growth rate and a lower tolerance to cold and shade. Bermuda is also salt-tolerant, so you can grow it in seaside states. 

To keep your Bermuda grass from going dormant in the summer, give it at least 1-1 ½ inches of water per week.

What does Bermuda grass look like?

Depending on the variety, Bermuda can appear gray-green and range from light to dark green. It typically has a texture that ranges from medium to coarse, but hybrids are finer and favor the blue-green or dark green coloring. 

Pros and cons of Bermuda grass.

Have a look at this table for a better understanding of Bermuda’s pros and cons: 



Drought and heat tolerant

Not cold tolerant

Salt tolerant

Grows vigorously

Tolerant to heavy foot traffic

Higher maintenance

Its thickness and density make it attractive to the eye

Low shade tolerance

So, which one should you choose for your lawn?

The choice between Bermuda grass vs. Zoysia comes down to a few important factors. Consider the following scenarios to help you make a decision:

Choose either if…

Choose Zoysia if…

Choose Bermuda if…

You live in a sunny, warm or dry climate

Your area tends to get colder

You live in a coastal area

Your region has sandy soils

You want a lower-maintenance lawn

You have enough time or resources to maintain your lawn

Your lawn will get a lot of foot traffic

Your yard has a lot of shade

You want your grass to establish quickly

You think they’re both beautiful, attractive grass types

You want a lawn that stays green for a longer period of time

Both types of grass are ideal for warm climates. If you live in a sunny state, either would be ideal. If you live in a region that has harsher winters, you should stay away from Bermuda grass, as it can't handle the cold. In this instance, Zoysia grass would be the better choice. 

If you're the type of person who's always pressed for time due to a busy schedule, try to avoid Bermuda grass. Sometimes, this grass requires more frequent mowing because it grows fast. Zoysia grows at a much slower rate, so you won't need to mow it as often. 

However, you should water both grass types infrequently to encourage a healthy root system.

Hire a lawn care professional near you.

Finding the right grass for your specific climate conditions and lawn care needs can be tricky. Fortunately, you don't have to navigate the process on your own. When in doubt, speak to a local lawn care professional near you

When analyzing Bermuda vs. Zoysia grass for your lawn, a local professional will consider your region’s climate, soil types and other factors so they can help you make the best decision. Download the Thumbtack app today, and start searching for top-rated pros.


Does Zoysia stay green longer than Bermuda?

Zoysia grass will typically stay green longer than Bermuda grass. Bermuda grass will remain green all summer and into late autumn and when temperatures begin to plummet in the winter. Zoysia grass also stays green for more or less the same stretch, although Zoysia becomes green again earlier in the spring. 

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