The climate of Broome represents a relatively unique challenge for its gardeners. Its year-round heat can only be survived by hardy warm season grasses, and its dramatic swing between the wet and the dry seasons can make it a challenging place to survive in.
Broome receives about the same amount of rainfall as Melbourne, but rather than it being relatively evenly dispersed throughout the year (as it is in Victoria), it almost all falls in just four months of the year (December through March). The rest of the year, particularly August and September, are bone dry. This means that choosing a lawn that is resistant to both drought and waterlogging is vital.
Here are four of the best grass choices for lawn owners in Broome.
An Australian mainstay for decades, couch is a warm season grass that seems purpose-built for the tough and unpredictable Australian climate. It’s particularly happy in northern Australia, being a lover of sun and heat. It has the drought tolerance that is required to last through Broome’s dry season (although for best results you want to irrigate it semi-regularly). Resistance to wear and tear is also high; great news if you’ve got kids.
There are some things you need to keep in mind when choosing couch for your Broome backyard. It’s an aggressive spreader, and can quickly take over veggie patches and flower beds if it’s not kept in check. It will also appreciate a dose of fertiliser every now and again, particularly in less helpful soil.
Mckays has three couch varieties that are appropriate for Broome’s conditions: Bermuda (the standard choice), Queensland Blue (a beautiful local variety) and Princess 77 (the Rolls-Royce of Australian grasses).
A grass that originated in the Pacific region, Zoysia is a variety that has long been adapted to the challenging conditions of northern Australia. A bright green hue and super soft blade make it a beautiful and comfortable choice, and its low growing nature means that it won’t need a haircut anywhere near as often as most other warm season grasses. It’s also surprisingly tolerant of shade for a warm season variety, able to cope with up to 40 percent coverage (couch, in comparison, can only deal with 10 percent).
On the flip side, this slow grower will take a while to repair itself if it gets damaged. It’s also not quite as drought tolerant as couch and others, so will need irrigating through Broome’s dry season. Mckays offers Pure Zenith Zoysia.
When you look at the name Kikuyu, it probably looks totally foreign. But you may not say it like you see it. Kikuyu is pronounced Kye-coo-yoo, and it’s one of the most popular lawns on the market. This is mainly down to its hardiness. Kikuyu is incredibly hard to kill, happily growing through heat, drought, infertile soil and wear and tear.
The fact that you can’t kill it may present a problem when it runs though. Like most warm season grasses, Kikuyu’s above-ground runners are aggressive, and can invade parts of your garden that you’d rather they didn’t. Set up barriers around your lawn to keep the grass in check. Your best bet for a Broome backyard is Mckays Kikuyu Pure.
Finally, Broome backyards are also well placed to sow carpet grass. As the name suggests, carpet grass is a thick, low-growing variety that is able to withstand average soils and high traffic. It’s also one of the best options for Broome backyards that are covered over, as it has an impressive shade tolerance of 50 percent.
The main downside is that carpet grass is susceptible to drought. The root system only penetrates the top few centimetres of topsoil, so you’ll need to be actively irrigating the lawn over the dry season. That aside, Mckays Pure Carpet Grass Seed is a great option.
While the environment might be challenging, Broome gardeners have still got quite a few grass options to choose from. But if you’re still unsure which is the right choice for you, don’t hesitate to contact your friendly team at McKays.