Zorro Zoysia 2017-07-03T04:51:29-04:00

Zorro zoysia

Research Information

Zorro zoysia was researched and developed at Texas A&M and in the National Turgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) from 1996 to 2000. Zorro zoysia ranked #1 over all other zoysias! You can see for yourself the NTEP results HERE.

Primary features and advantages

Zorro, ranked #1 among zoysias in the National Turgrass Evaluation Program, is a Zoysia matrella that is vegetatively propagated and genetically stable and uniform. Zorro is distinguished from other zoysiagrasses by its fine texture, high rhizone and tiller density, moderate drought tolerance, shade tolerance and rapid regrowth and recovery from damage. Zorro tolerates close and frequent mowing, suggesting a potential commercial value for sports fields, buffer surrounds for bentgrass greens, tee boxes and fairways on golf courses and residential and industrial lawns under either full sun or moderate shade in the southern United States. Zorro also has sufficient winter hardiness to be used in open areas south of the Missouri River Valley and the Appalachian Mountain Range. Zorro has good defensive traits with genetic resistance to hunting billbug, fall armyworm, brown patch, yellow patch and zoysia rust.

Water use requirements

Zorro is a textural class 3 with long narrow leaves and it has moderate water use requirements as determined by experiments on the Linear Gradient Irrigation System at Dallas, TX. Over a three year period, Zorro required an average of 390 mm of supplemental water while Emerald required an average 437 mm. Zorro also had drought tolerance ratings far superior to Meyer zoysia.

Shade tolerance

Zoysiagrass is a C4 species and generally demonstrates fair to good tolerance to low light conditions. However, low light tolerance appears to be under genetic control. In a study undertaken to identify the relative low light tolerance of 26 zoysia genotypes and cultivars, Zorro ranked fourth out of 26 entries while Emerald ranked 6.5. Only one commercial variety, “Diamond,” ranked better than Zorro. In contrast, the commercial standard, Meyer zoysia, ranked 21st among the entries. The study was conducted under live oak tree shade with incoming radiation measured at approximately 10% of full sunlight. Assessment of plant performance was based on density, texture, color, percent greent cover and percent turf cover. The 49 observations were taken over a four year period.

Color retention

Color retention is a major issue with most zoysiagrass cultivars. Meyer, the industry standard, is one of the first grasses to enter into winter dormancy in the autumn. A long growing season with better autumn/winter color retention is desirable. Zorro performed similar to Emerald and was significantly better than Meyer.


Zorro provided the third best density rating among entries in the NTEP – 1996 over a four year rating period from 1997-2000. The turf density produced by Zorro was very similar to that of Emerald and considerably better than that provided by Meyer.

Pest Resistance

Zorro expresses good pest resitance. Zorro’s resistance to yellow patch, rust, brown patch, hunting billbug, fall armyworm and moderate level of resistance to tawny mole cricket adds considerable value to this new cultivar of zoysiagrass. Zorro is a good candidate to fit into the integrated pest management (IPM) programs that are being developed in all areas of turf utilization. Overall, as the acreage of this new grass increases, it will also have an impact on water quality as it helps to alleviate pesticide usage and the potential ground water contamination and run-off into lakes and streams.