Innovation® Zoysiagrass, a new zoysiagrass cultivar was released jointly by the breeding programs of Texas A&M University and Kansas State University in 2015. This medium-to-fine bladed variety was developed to improve upon the industry standard, Meyer (Zoysia japonica-type). Meyer Zoysia was released in 1952 and is widely used for its excellent cold hardiness in the transition zone. The transition zone is the area of the United States where winters are extremely cold and summers are very hot. In this area, cool season turfgrasses like bluegrass and fescue are available as well as warm season varieties like bermuda and zoysia. Success for grasses in this area of the country revolves around being able to not only survive in these temperature extremes—but to thrive in them. As impressive as Meyer has been over the years, it has its disadvantages.
Looking to improve on the standard, researchers crossed a Meyer-type Zoysia japonica with a Zoysia matrella, a variety which is finer-bladed and possesses a more dense canopy. The result was Innovation Zoysia, a grass that features a good resistance to cold, disease and insects, while offering the finer leaf blades in demand today and a better overall turfgrass quality. Innovation features a rapid establishment grow-in and damage recovery rate. It has an extended fall color and earlier spring green-up while offering a level of shade tolerance found in the finer bladed varieties.