There’s a reason that 90 percent of Australians choose to live close to the coast. While the white sand and blue ocean at the edges of Australia are obviously hard to turn down, the reality is that much of the interior of this wide brown land is pretty much unlivable. Bone dry, unimaginably hot, and always hours away from anywhere, it takes a particularly hardy soul to survive in Australia’s red centre. And in no place are these hardy souls more abundant than Australia’s centre-point, Alice Springs.
Just as Alice’s inhabitants need to be made of tough stuff, so too do the plants that call the city home. With January temperatures averaging over 36C, and overnight winter lows so often dropping below freezing point, it’s a climate that challenges the hardiest of plants. Alice Springs’ plant life needs to be capable of withstanding not only temperature extremes, but also the fact that the town experiences half the annual rainfall of Australia’s driest capital city (285mm to Adelaide’s 558mm).
So you’re looking to sow some grass in Alice but you’re unsure if anything will be up to the task. Never fear, McKays is here to offer up a few varieties that, with a little bit of help, should be able to not only survive the Alice heat, but thrive in it.
McKays Buffalo Lawn Seed Blend
Despite the reputation for heat, Alice Springs experiences consistent frosts over winter, making a pure warm season grass a risk. For that reason, blends are a great option. By mixing a warm season seed with a cool season seed, each grass can protect the other during its favourite time of the year. This is exactly the case for McKays’ Buffalo Blend, which mixes warm season Buffalo seed with cool season Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass. McKays’ Buffalo is the North American style, separate to the Sir Walter and Palmetto varieties common in Australia.
McKays Carpet Grass Seed Pure
An aggressive grower that spreads in a thick, dense mat, Carpet Grass is as aptly named as a turf can be. It’s a warm season grass, but one with good frost resistance, so the chilly July nights won’t leave you with browned-off blades. The only thing that you’ll need to be wary of in Alice Springs is its drought tolerance – if you choose Carpet Grass, be sure to irrigate regularly.
McKays Green Couch Grass Seed Blend
Mixing Sahara Couch, Annual Ryegrass and slow release fertiliser, McKays’ Green Couch Blend is perfectly positioned to deal with the extremes of the Alice Springs climate. While the Annual Ryegrass will help the Couch get through the first frosty winter, you can expect the Couch to overtake the Ryegrass after the first year or so.
McKays Queensland Blue Couch Blend
A sun loving grass with excellent drought tolerance, Queensland Blue was built to thrive in the harsh Alice Springs summer. This blend also offers terrific traffic tolerance, and germinates extremely quickly. Again, the Annual Ryegrass is blended in in order to help the Queensland Blue establish, and will be overtaken by the more aggressive Couch after the first year.
McKays Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed Blend
Zoysia offers Alice residents with a stunning and amazingly soft turf option that will be the envy of all your neighbours. A grass that doesn’t require the levels of sun that a Couch does, it’s perfect for yards that might be a little more enclosed and shaded. Once again, this blend utilises Annual Ryegrass to help with the winter frosts.
McKays Kikuyu Grass Seed Blend
An Australian backyard favourite, Kikuyu is one of the hardiest grasses available. It’s hard to damage, quick to repair, and also feels soft and spongy underfoot, making it the perfect option for yards that will have kids running around on them. Combine this with an excellent drought tolerance, and you’ve got a grass that perfectly fits the Alice Springs mould.
While not an exhaustive list, these grasses represent some of the best options for your Alice Springs backyard. If you’re unsure as to which is the best choice for you, or would like to find out about other possibilities, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at McKays!
You can view our entire range here.