Often referred to as the most isolated city on earth, Perth, Western Australia, is these days no longer a slave to its own inaccessibility. The speed of air travel and the immediacy of internet communication mean that all of the good bits of living in Perth – the weather, the lifestyle and the people – can now be enjoyed without the bad bits of living so remotely.
This modern-day connectedness also means that Perth isn’t found wanting when it comes to grass choice either, and the region’s stunning weather is just as pleasant for Perth’s lawns as it is for Perth’s people. There are a huge variety of grasses that will fit the bill.
Perth is Australia’s sunniest capital, averaging almost nine sun-drenched hours per day throughout the year. It also has relatively clearly defined seasons, with a hot dry summer working into a cool, wet winter. Frosts are rarely (if ever) a concern, with the very mild winters a trademark of the city’s hot-summer Mediterranean climate. Humidity is low, and the Fremantle doctor can take the sting out of the summer heat when it blows in on most summer afternoons.
So which grasses best cope with the gorgeous weather of Perth? Let’s have a look.
Kikuyu is one of Australia’s favourite grasses, with an almost unbeatable combination of hardiness and ability to spread. Its stolons (the runners that allow the grass to spread) are very aggressive, making for a grass that forms a dense, cushiony mat that is perfect for the kids to play on. But the main reason that Kikuyu is an excellent grass choice for Perth is its love of sun. It grows best where daily shade is less than 10 percent , making it the perfect candidate for WA’s sun-drenched capital.
A major strength of Kikuyu is also its major weakness, however. The aggressive runners can be a little too invasive for some, and measures need to be taken to ensure that it stays out of flower beds, veggie patches and the like. McKays have Kikuyu in both pure and blended (suitable for cooler climates) forms.
Another sun-loving warm season grass, Couch shares the minimal shade tolerance of Kikuyu, with best growth occurring in the most sun-drenched locations. Couch copes excellently with exceedingly hot and dry conditions, and is particularly resistant to browning over summer – excellent news for sand gropers who often experience stretches of 40+ degrees in January and February. Its low maintenance requirements and ability to repair itself have made it a hugely popular grass for sporting clubs throughout Australia.
Its negatives reflect those of Kikuyu in a lot of ways, with its invasiveness allowing it to get behind enemy lines if left unchecked. It’s also not a particularly soft grass, and some children may find playing on it irritable. Again, McKays offer Couch seed in both pure and blended forms, but also in the stunning Princess 77 variety – a favourite of golf courses.
Another excellent option for homeowners in Perth is Zoysia grass. A warm season grass that offers a different set of strengths and weaknesses to those of Kikuyu and Couch, it may prove to be the perfect option for many Perth backyards. While it’s a slower grower, this does give the grass the benefit of not being particularly invasive, and it won’t need to be mown as much as a Couch or Kikuyu. It’s more shade tolerant, making it perfect for those Perth backyards that are a little more enclosed. It is also incredibly soft underfoot, offering an almost unmatched playing surface amongst warm season grasses.
The only real negative of Zoysia is its slow growing, as the grass can take a little longer to bounce back from drought and wear & tear when compared with more aggressively growing varieties. McKays offer Zoysia in its pure form or in its Zenith Zoysia blend.
While McKays offer a wide selection of other grasses that will fit the Perth bill, including Queensland Blue Couch and Elite Backyard Blend, the three above are by far the most popular.
If you’ve got any further questions on the ideal turf for your Perth backyard, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at McKays.