In Australian gardening, cold weather resistance isn’t something that many have to worry about in their plant choices. Snow is almost non-existent, and the top half of Australia only knows about frost from children’s books.
For those down south though, the ability to resist the cold is a super important feature of a good plant choice. For Tasmanians, as well as some Victorians and South Australians, ensuring your selections can last through a stiff frost is a non-negotiable.
Like the rest of your plants, your ideal grass choice will depend on the climate that you find yourself in. For simplicity’s sake, there are two main categories that you can separate grass varieties into – warm season and cool season.
While warm season are best suited to areas with temperatures around 27-30C in full sun, cool season grasses prefer temperatures nearer 16-24C, and are far more partial to shade.
Being that much of the developed world finds itself in the cool season zone of the Northern Hemisphere, there is no shortage of options for a cool season grass. So if you are in an area that experiences hard winters and are looking for types of grass that will hold up to the conditions, here are a few options that may suit.
Fine Leaf Fescue
Fine leaf fescue has the ability to thrive in shade, so if you are in an area that experiences particularly overcast conditions the growth of your lawn shouldn’t be overly affected. Along with its ability to deal with frost and snow, fine leaf fescue also has great drought and disease resistance.
A favourite of North America, in Kentucky Bluegrass you have an extremely hardy lawn that will tolerate the cold magnificently. It is a fine textured grass that grows vigorously, so be prepared to regularly mow, and to keep it in check if it starts to spread into unwanted plots. It does have a preference for full sun though, and for beachside home owners, you will have trouble growing it if you live in the salt loaded air of the ocean.
Perennial ryegrass is a medium textured grass with great cold weather tolerance. A favourite of dairy farmers, it establishes very quickly and is a particularly hardy variety. These facts means it is also a favourite of sports clubs throughout Southern Australia.
Another fescue option, this variety still has the ability to thrive in cold and shade, but provides a coarser, hardier blade that does better in areas of high traffic when compared to fine leaf. It retains fescue’s drought tolerance. The Jaguar 3 and Arid varieties are terrific options if you’re after a tough, good looking lawn.
A good tactic for ensuring success with your new turf is to choose two or even three varieties to seed with, and if one fails you will still be left with a healthy looking patch. The qualities of Perennial Ryegrass are particularly suited to this function, even if its sole use is to act as a filler grass in patches where your preferred variety is struggling.
If you’re in a cooler part of Australia, don’t fret about lack of choice when it comes to grass. While most of the continent is heaven for warm season varieties, the team at McKays have a wide range of cool season varieties, and are always on hand to provide friendly advice on the best fit for you situation.
Contact your nearest dealer to get your next lawn project rolling!