Choosing the Best Grass Variety for Your Lawn

Choosing the Best Grass Variety for Your Lawn

When it comes to creating a luscious lawn, choosing the right turf variety can be challenging given the wide range of factors to consider from how much rainfall you get to how much mowing you want to do!

At first, it might seem overwhelming given the sheer number of grasses on offer but a careful step by step approach will save you a huge amount of unnecessary maintenance and future expense.

Rusty Garton from Australian Lawn Fanatics has put together this simple guide to help you choose the grass that will provide the look and feel you want for many years.

Considerations for Choosing A Grass Variety

Watering & Drought Tolerance

In our dry climate, water is the number one consideration when it comes to choosing a grass variety. If you live in an area prone to drought or water restrictions, you must start your lawn creation journey with a drought-tolerant grass.

Zoysia is one of the better choices here. It’s a drought-tolerant turf with a very high ability to remain green and stay alive for longer under water restrictions and summer heat. Zoysia grasses such as Empire & Nara Native Zoysia are less aggressive than some other grass types which means it grows more slowly and so requires only low overall maintenance.

Next in line is Couch, as it’s another variety that will stay green for longer under water restrictions. Couch varieties like OZTUFF and Stadium Sports will also recover the quickest after a summer die-off because it has a large number of underground runners which help regrow the lawn once water is abundant again. The downside, however, is that it will grow when it’s wet and you’ll spend your life mowing it.

Buffalo comes in third place for drought tolerance. No longer the “Old Scratchy” of years gone by, Buffalo has some very good Soft Leaf versions now available including Prestige, Palmetto and Sapphire.

Traffic Tolerance

If your lawn will have to withstand heavy traffic from kids and dogs you need to find a tough grass variety that can repair itself quickly.

Kikuyu is the number one choice for lawns which will be under the highest amount of traffic stress.

A great Kikuyu to consider is Kenda which is the ideal lawn to handle all kinds of wear and tear – whether it be large dogs, active kids or backyard parties.

Couch is another tough grass which is very good for heavy traffic areas. It is very fast growing so it can repair quickly from almost any damage, and also has good wear and tear resistance.

Zoysia, often sold as Empire, Nara Native Turf, tolerates being neglected very well. This is due to the high levels of Silica. But when it does get damaged, its slower growth rate means it will be just a little slower to repair. For this reason, it is best for medium traffic.

Shade Tolerance

What levels of shade will your lawn live with? Will young trees or bushes grow over the next few years to shade the lawn area? Are you planning a pergola or shed?

Every lawn requires a minimum number of hours of direct sunlight per day for survival. A preferred shade tolerant lawn is Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo grass. It can withstand up to around 70% shade per day.

For lawns with medium levels of shade in a warmer region, Zoysia grass is an excellent choice as it can tolerate up to 40% shade each day.

The worst grass types to choose for shade include Couch and Kikuyu. They can only tolerate around 10% shade each day before they deteriorate and possibly die-off.

Maintenance Requirements

We all love glorious green lawns, but we don’t all love having to do a lot of maintenance on the weekends!

If you want to keep lawn maintenance to a minimum then Zoysia is the best choice, especially if you live in a warmer region. It is very low maintenance, so it can be neglected for a while and still look good after a cut. It is drought tolerant and won’t grow long if left uncut for a while.

Soft Leaf Buffalo is also low maintenance but will require more regular mowing as it can grow quite long and won’t always like missing out on its water.

Couch and Kikuyu both require more intensive lawn care practices to keep growth under control and to keep them neat and tidy.

You can get more information about which grass to choose by using this handy Quick Lawn Selection Guide.

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