As Crowded House noted, Melbourne is renowned as the city that can experience four seasons in one day. All of Victoria, in fact, is bitten by the variable weather bug, with chilly winter frosts leading into heavy spring downpours, which then give way to extreme heat and bush fires.
It takes a versatile plant to be able to withstand the full gamut of weather conditions that the state of Victoria will throw at it, and when it comes to something as important as your lawn, choosing the correct variety is vital.
Some grasses will cope better with Victoria’s extremes than others. The options can be separated into three categories; cool season varieties, warm season varieties, and blends.
Cool Season Grasses
Cool season grasses are characterised by their ability to withstand colder conditions, and the fact that their peak growing period is in early spring, when the soil is still cool. They provide a good option to homeowners who find themselves in frost-prone areas, as many Victorians do.
Fescues are a good cool season option, with varieties like RTF Tall Fescue and Creeping Red Fescue boasting deep root systems that allow them to be one of the most drought tolerant cool season grasses available. Fescue’s hardiness doesn’t stop there, with good resistance to pests and disease, and the ability to grow in unhelpful soil.
Ryegrass is another excellent cool season candidate for Victorians, especially those that feel the worst of the Victorian winter. RPR Perennial Ryegrass will stand up to the most bitter winters, and also grows happily in shade – a huge bonus for yards that are enclosed.
Kentucky Bluegrass is perhaps the best looking grass of the lot, with a deep green hue that seems almost blue. It’s also super soft and repairs itself well, making it the perfect choice for Victorian backyards that see a bit of playtime.
Warm Season Grasses
In contrast to cool season varieties, warm season grasses much prefer the heat over the cold, withstanding Australia’s baking sun admirably. Because of this they are generally more drought resistant, and have their peak growing period in early autumn, when the soil is still warm. On the flip-side they aren’t great at tolerating frost, and can brown off when conditions get chilly. If you’re in an area of Victoria prone to icy mornings, a warm season option may not be for you.
Couch offers a versatile warm season solution, as it can be grown in almost every part of Australia. McKays Bermuda Couch is a particularly hardy variety, and will just go temporarily dormant in the depths of winter, before springing back to life in spring.
Kikuyu isn’t traditionally seen as an option in Australia’s more temperate regions, being a native of the tropics of South-East Asia and Far North Queensland. McKays Kikuyu Pure, however, has been bred specifically with frost tolerance in mind, and is a viable option for many Victorians who want to enjoy the benefits of a warm season grass.
For a place that is home to such varied weather as Victoria, a seed blend may offer the best lawn solution. Seed blends use a combination of seeds to ensure that the grass grows in all conditions, as one variety will cover for the weaknesses of the other. If a blend has both a warm season and a cool season grass, for example, the cool season grass will grow happily in winter, allowing the warm season grass to go dormant, and the opposite will take place in the summer. It’s a great way to ensure that your lawn stays green all year round.
The Kikuyu Grass Seed Blend, the Green Couch Grass Seed Blend, and the Buffalo Lawn Seed Blend all offer excellent examples of warm/cool season blends, pairing their namesakes with a healthy dose of annual ryegrass.
If you live in a region that experiences summer, autumn, winter and spring conditions within 24 hours, you need to ensure that the lawn you choose will be able to handle the ridiculous weather. Whether you go for a warm season, cool season, or blended option, the friendly team at McKays has you covered.