Unlike the south of the state, North Victoria is home to a relatively parched and hot climate. Places like Goulburn Valley and Mildura experience far less rain than the areas closer to Melbourne, and also suffer an even more extreme form of the famously punishing Australian summer heat.
These climatic conditions present a unique challenge for homeowners looking to plant lawn seed. In an ideal world, a Northern Victorian requires a seed that is capable of withstanding the intense, dry heat of summer, as well as the frostbitten mornings that occur in the winter.
While no grass will be perfectly suited to conditions that lie at either end of the scale such as these, with care and patience, you can cultivate a thriving lawn in North Victoria. The first step is to pick a variety that is capable of withstanding such wild variations in conditions. So which grasses are up to the task?
Grass Seed Blends
When faced with the challenge of finding a lawn for North Victorian conditions, a good place to start is with a blend. By combining two or more grass varieties into a seed mix, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having the strengths of each grass to cover the others’ weaknesses. If, for example, you mix a warm season grass with a cool season grass, the warm season grass can thrive during the dry heat of summer and protect the wilting cool season grass, and when the frost hits in the winter, the opposite will occur.
McKays offer a few examples of this warm season/cool season combination, with the Kikuyu Grass Seed Blend, the Green Couch Grass Seed Blend, and the Buffalo Lawn Seed Blend all combining their warm season namesakes with a healthy amount of annual ryegrass – a hardy cool season seed that will get the lawn through the depths of winter.
Where frosts are prevalent, as they are in North Victoria, blends containing multiple varieties of cool season grasses are also a good option. Once again, the blend allows for the cool season grasses that are a little more resistant to the dry heat of summer to protect the varieties that are a little more susceptible. While you’ll need to be conscious of irrigation over hotter periods, blends such as McKays Parks Blend (Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue), McKays Ryegrass Blend (Annual Ryegrass, Perennial Ryegrass and Creeping Red Fescue) and McKays Elite Backyard Blend (Sports Turf Ryegrass, Turf Tall Fescue and Creeping Red Fescue) provide excellent year-round options in challenging climates.
Warm Season Grasses
Warm season grasses traditionally don’t cope very well with frosts, so if you don’t go with a blend, it’s recommended that you only go for the hardiest varieties of warm season grasses.
McKays Bermuda Couch is one variety that is up to the task, with the ability to be grown almost Australia-wide. The Sahara Bermuda seed is incredibly hardy, but you may notice that the lawn goes dormant if exposed to multiple chilly mornings.
Mckays have worked hard to breed a Kikuyu seed that is far more tolerant to frosts than traditionally expected from the variety, and the resultant McKays Kikuyu Pure is one warm season option that should be able to cope with whatever North Victoria can throw at it. While it will eventually brown off is exposed to frost after frost, its resilience to cold is market leading.
Cool Season Grasses
There are many cool season grasses that will be able to cope with North Victoria’s frosty winter mornings, although as with the cool season blends mentioned above, a close eye will need to be kept on such varieties when the mercury hits 40C over summer.
RTF Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, RPR Perennial Ryegrass and Creeping Red Fescue will all hold their own in North Victoria, although watering over summer will be required. If you’re looking for a grass with a fantastic combination of drought tolerance and frost tolerance, McKays Pencross Bentgrass is an excellent choice.
As you can see, those in North Victoria aren’t deprived of choice when it comes to lawn seed. It’s just a matter of finding a variety