The tropical heat of Darwin can be a test of anyone’s mettle. The oppressive humidity of the wet season, the stinging heat of the dry; if you’re not built to handle the conditions, you can have a tricky time of it.
Just as certain people are better suited to Darwin life than others, so too are certain turfs. The tropics bring their own unique set of challenges to plant life, and it’s important that Darwin lawn owners choose a variety that is up to the task. The lack of four distinct seasons, the unrelenting warmth and the long stretches of either wet or dry weather are all fairly unique climatic conditions, which many grasses are simply unable to cope with.
So which varieties should a Darwin lawn owner choose? Here are 6 of the best turf choices for those who live on the edge of the Timor Sea.
Couch grass (pronounced cooch) is a stalwart of tropical backyards. As it happens the Bermuda variety doesn’t come from Bermuda at all, but was rather transported there from Africa by the slave trade, before eventually making its way to the US. The Americans loved Bermuda for its hardiness, using it on sporting fields and in gardens throughout the South.
Bermuda loves the heat, and as mentioned, is incredibly hard wearing. Its extensive root system gives it great drought tolerance, making it perfect for the Darwin dry season. It’s also an aggressive grower, spreading (unusually) both above ground with stolons, and below ground with rhizomes. The only real drawback is you may have to work hard to keep it in check!
Princess 77 Couch
A cousin of Bermuda, Princess 77 represents the Rolls-Royce of couch varieties. A stunningly soft, fine, dense and brightly coloured grass, it is incredibly popular on golf courses Australia-wide.
Along with its beauty, it still offers the hardiness of any other couch variety. You will need to give it plenty of sun to have it looking its best, however, with 8+ hours a day recommended. Be sure to sow it away from trees and fences.
Queensland Blue Couch
The last couch option at your disposal is Queensland Blue. As the name suggests, this couch grass has somewhat of a blue tinge to its blades, making it a real statement piece for your Darwin backyard.
The other main advantage gained from choosing Queensland Blue is the germination period. It’s the quickest couch variety to establish, taking less than 2 weeks to germinate, and creating a thick mat in well under two months. Once again, Queensland Blue prefers a generous amount of sun.
The clue is in the name for this variety – if you’re looking for a grass that looks like carpet, choose carpet grass. This low growing variety is incredibly low maintenance, and spreads like wildfire, meaning that your backyard will be covered before you know it. It is a dense grass, making for a soft feel underfoot.
The main drawback with carpet grass is its drought tolerance. It has a relatively shallow root system that makes it susceptible to dry conditions. Irrigation over Darwin’s dry season is recommended.
Soft, low maintenance, hardy, shade and drought tolerant; Zoysia is a tropical grass that’s got it all. It’s possibly the most complete tropical grass available, probably due to the fact that it is a native of the South East Asian/Northern Australian region.
The only real drawback of Zoysia is simply the flipside to one of the major benefits. It’s a slow grower – meaning less mowing and upkeep – but it also means that it can take a while to bounce back from wear and tear, making it unsuitable for sports fields.
An Australian mainstay, Kikuyu has lined the backyards of Aussie households for generations. A quick grower that’s resistant against wear and tear, drought and infertile soil, it requires minimal upkeep.
The main Kikuyu con is its aggressiveness. It spreads quickly, meaning that you’ll need to barrier off garden beds and veggie patches in order to keep them lawn free. It also prefers full sun, and may wilt in shaded areas.
If you have any further queries on what may be the perfect grass seed for your backyard, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at McKays.
You can view our entire range here.