There are many grass types available for a variety of Australian conditions. But being a warmer country, the bulk of these are warm season varieties, suited to hotter climates.
The top five most popular grasses in Australia are all warm season, although within these there are huge differences in things like drought tolerance, aesthetics, and upkeep requirements.
If you’re in the market for a new bit of turf, familiarising yourself with the options available will give you the best shot at growing and maintaining the perfect square of green in your backyard.
The classic Australian backyard grass, Buffalo has been the gold standard for durability and ease-of-upkeep for years. The only issue that people have historically had with it has been its scratchy, wide leaf blade. It could be irritating to the skin of anyone that had been rolling around in it, particularly the little tackers.
Thankfully with the somewhat recent introduction of soft leaf Buffalo, those days are gone. The stiff, irritating leaf has been replaced by a family friendly and very inviting soft leaf, and makes for a lush lawn when properly cared for. Varieties include Sir Walter, Matilda and Sapphire.
If you’re after the ease-of-upkeep of a buffalo grass in a fine leaf variety, Couch is the answer. Its toughness in surviving wear and tear, combined with its ability to quickly repair itself, means it’s the perfect candidate for a high traffic or high play area.
It’s a quick growing grass, and may need mowing a touch more regularly than other varieties. It may also need fertilising a few times a year to help fuel the growth.
You’ll want to keep an eye around the edges though, as Couch has the tendency to jump fences and garden bed walls if not kept in check.
Queensland Blue Couch
For a grass that will excel in hot, humid conditions, Queensland Blue Couch is the answer. The downfalls of normal Couch – invasiveness, regularly required mowing and fertilising – can be forgotten.
That’s because Queensland Blue Couch isn’t actually a Couch grass. Nor is it from Queensland. It’s actually an entirely different variety, with blades that are closest to those of a Zoysia. It has good all year round colour that treads the line between green and blue, hence the name.
The main drawback for Queensland Blue is its intolerance to weed sprays, although newer varieties are always coming out that are getting closer to overcoming this issue.
In days gone by, Kikuyu (along with Buffalo) was a mainstay of Aussie backyards. Its bright green medium leaf absolutely loves the sun, and is nice and soft under foot.
Kikuyu is a quick growing grass, and is amazingly to tolerant to even the most average of soils. The drawback with this is that it can get invasive, and you may find yourself mowing a fair bit over summer.
A version of sterile Kikuyu has been developed to annul this unintentional spreading, so this favourite of sports clubs and weekend gardeners is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence.
Zoysia has been around in Australia for an age, but only recently has it been recognised as one of the best grasses for Australian conditions.
Zoysia is great in warmer regions, looking terrific all year round despite going dormant in the winter. It requires minimal mowing and fertilising, isn’t particularly invasive, is salt tolerant, drought tolerant, and can repair itself excellently.
For Northern regions of Australia, it doesn’t really have any drawbacks, which for an amateur gardener means low effort and high reward.
No matter where you find yourself in Australia, there’ll be a grass that suits your situation. Contact McKays’ to get the best advice for your region.