Temple Grass - Zoysia - Turf Grass

Temple Grass - Zoysia

Scientific name: Zoysia tenuifolia (referred to as Zoysia pacifica in some recent US publications).

Other names:  Species common name: Temple grass, Kourai grass, Korean/Japanese velvet grass, Mascarene grass.

Cultivar names: None (sometimes informally referred to as ‘No Mow Grass’).

Origin:  Native to China, Japan, Taiwan, Indochina, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Global distribution of species:  Available from specialist suppliers (generally in pots) in Australia and the southern US. See also countries of origin.

IP protection:  None.


Form a slow growing, dense, stiff turf. Less drought tolerant, but more shade tolerant (particularly Z. matrella) than green or blue couch. The zoysias form a fine (Z. tenuifolia), fine to medium (Z. matrella) or a medium to coarse (Z. japonica) textured turf.

The zoysia grasses are noted for their extremely high resistance to wear, but are very slow to recover if damaged.   Like green couch and kikuyu grass, the zoysias produce underground rhizomes that will invade adjacent garden beds if not controlled.

Vegetatively propagated cultivars maintain good colour during winter, unlike the older seeded types (of Z. japonica), which are highly winter dormant and will turn brown even where there is no frost.

Temple Grass - often called 'No Mow Grass'


  • Texture:  Fine.
  • Description: Densely growing dark green grass to a height of about 10 cm. Short, stiff leaf blades to 5 cm in length. High-thatching and slow-growing, gradually developing a ‘puffy’ appearance.
  • Use: As an untrafficked ground cover. Can be mown and managed for putting greens.
  • Mowing height:  Leave unmown and undisturbed to develop an attractive and unique landscaping plant. For a fine lawn surface mow every 10-14 days with a reel mower. Sharpen the mower blades regularly, as the tough leaves quickly cause them to become blunt. Minimum mowing height 5 mm, optimum height 10-15 mm and maximum height 20 mm.
  • Method of propagation: Vegetative sod, sprigging of stolons (extremely slow to cover).
  • Preferred soil types:  Tolerates a wide range of soil types, provided these are well drained. A pH of 5.5 to 7.5 is preferred.


Templegrass can be mowed. However, if not regularly dethatched, it can produce an unstable footing.


  • Heat: Excellent. Tolerant of heat and humidity.
  • Cold: Poor cold tolerance, the most ‘tropical’ of all the zoysias.
  • Shade: Poor tolerance to heavy shading. Tolerates mild shading, but prefers full sun.
  • Drought: Medium drought tolerance. Plants develop an extensive root system and conserve moisture by inrolling their leaves.
  • Salinity:  Good salinity tolerance. Species has a tolerance to marginal quality water sources.
  • Wear: Leaves are high in silica and show good resistance to wear. However the species is very slow to recover if damaged. Not recommended for moderate to high wear areas with frequent traffic.
  • Herbicide sensitivity: Tolerant of a broad range of common turf herbicides. Check the label.
  • Pests and diseases: Relatively pest and disease free. Can suffer from dollar spot in autumn.