Sunday, 30 January 2011

Thinking about having a lawn? Here are some choices.

Fescue grass Meadow Grass

If you are thinking of having a lawn, now (early spring) is the time to start doing your research into what type of lawn you want.

85% Fesue grass and 15% meadow grass makes up a good grass seed mix for our climate. Sowing grass seed is better done in autumn, less competition with the weeds and you only need to water in dry spells.

Buying rolls of turf gives you an instant lawn, a lot easier than sowing. Whether you choose seeds or turf both need to be watered well during the summer months, every two to three days.

There are alternative water saving lawns. The following are some examples:

Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), a native to north and east Africa, Asia, Australia and southern Europe. Bermuda grass is the most popular type of lawn in Australia and South Africa. It is in-expense, recovers quickly from damage, has good wear resistance. The downside is that it has a tendency to be invasive. It needs plenty of sun, does not like shade. In summer to stay green, water it once a week, it can cope however without being watered for several weeks. Mowing: once a month in spring and in the summer. Does go brown in winter.

Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) is a native to east Africa. In Australia it is used on sports fields. It needs regular mowing (every 7/10 days) otherwise it starts looking very straggly. Not suitable for small gardens. In summer it is best to water it once a week. It has a reputation of tolerating very dry but also very wet conditions. It has a tendency to become yellow in winter.

Buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides), native to the North American prairies. For a moderate to high quality turf, mow once a week, for a low maintenance lawn mow every 3 to 4 weeks. It can even be left and given an annual mow in spring. Does not require a lot of watering, in fact it dislikes over watering. It is cold and drought tolerant, but does not like shade. In the winter the colour goes from yellow to golden to become green again in spring.

Zoysia (Zoysia japonica), native to the Manchurian province of China. It is extremely drought tolerant, does go straw like when not watered, but recovers very quickly when it receives water. It is much less invasive compared to the other above mentioned varieties, with the downside that it is slow to fill in damaged areas. It is not really suitable for heavy traffic. Very low maintenance where mowing is concerned. In summer to stay green, water it once a week. It can cope however with not being watered for several weeks. Does become yellow in winter.

Kidney weed (Dicondra repens) is native to Australia. It is not a grass but a plant and is used to form a lawn because of its low dense creeping ability. It stays green in winter, tolerates shade, but does not like heavy traffic. Needs to be watered twice a week in summer, but does not need to be mown.

For more info the following websites might be useful:

Bibliography: Mediterranean gardener by Hugh Latimer, above mentioned websites.

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