If you aren’t sure whether you’ve encountered Couch grass before, don’t worry, you have. Pronounced “cooch”, it is an Australian backyard staple, and one that every Australian would’ve encountered at some point in their lives.
The reasons that Couch has established itself as a go-to throughout mainland Australia are many and varied, and thanks to advances gained through clever breeding, it is now more suited than ever to the rigours of the Australian climate.
The versatility of Couch becomes evident when you look up its origins. Native in areas that range from the dry heat of North-West Africa, up through Europe and Asia, right to the biting chill of the tundras of the Arctic biome, the grass has adapted to a huge variety of conditions. No surprise then that it has succeeded in a place that tests even the hardiest of plants – Australia.
So what can you expect from Couch if you were to choose it as your lawn? Let’s have a look at a few of the positives and negatives.
One of the keys to Couch doing so well in Australia is its love of sun. The more, the better. In the sun-drenched heat of summer, you’ll never see Couch browning off or wilting (provided you give it enough water).
The love of sun goes hand-on-hand with terrific drought tolerance, and while your Couch will look far healthier if you water it regularly, it will be able to survive long dry spells if required.
Couch is also a physically tough grass, able to withstand high amounts of traffic with ease – perfect for a backyards that are child or pet riddled. Its dense coverage and ability to quickly repair itself means that any damage is soon fixed.
Couch is also a great looking grass. A fine blade with a rich, bright to dark green colour, it has been bred into a far softer grass than that which arrived in Australia years ago.
While Couch is sold on the fact that it can grow anywhere in Australia, it does require an extended period of 25C+ to germinate. While it will withstand cold conditions once it is established, it may be tricky to get it germinating in particularly cold parts of the country like Tasmania.
The love and tolerance of sun has a flip-side. Couch’s performance in shaded areas is very average. A shade tolerance of just 10 percent, compared to Zoysia at 40 percent and Buffalo at 70 percent, means a backyard that is closed in or has a lot of tree life will have Couch under performing.
The other positive that turns into a negative is Couch’s repair ability. It can bounce back so quickly because it is an aggressive grower, with runners that can get invasive if not kept in check. A solid boundary around your lawn is required if you want to keep your Couch grass where you want it.
No matter what your situation, McKays has a Couch option to suit.
The go-to Couch for all Australians, McKays’ Bermuda Pure is able to be grown throughout the country. A Sahara Bermuda strain, it has been used for years for anything from backyards to golf courses and airports.
A Couch that has been developed specifically for the tropical areas of the country, Queensland Blue is the perfect Couch option for those in the Northern parts of WA, NT and Queensland. A blade with a slightly blue tinge, Queensland Blue is one of the quickest germinating Couches available, with grass usually showing well within the first 2 weeks.
For the Rolls-Royce of Australian Couch grasses, look no further than Princess 77. A showpiece grass that can be used for residential, commercial or sporting purposes, Princess 77 combines the hardiness of traditional Couch with the looks and feel of the finest display lawn.
For those who are looking for the flexibility of a grass mix, McKays’ Green (for cooler climates) or Queensland Blue (for warmer climates) blends are terrific options.
For any other Couch grass queries, contact your local McKays seed specialist.