Which lawn should I plant?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 1 June 2017 

Choosing a lawn – It can be a confusing process…

Whether you are putting in a lawn yourself or having a tradesman do it for you, it won’t be long before you’ll be asking yourself the question, “which lawn should I use?” You’ve probably got some ideas from past experiences, you’ve probably heard some advertising on various different types, you probably think that it should be a fairly straight forward decision but you’ll soon find out after making a few phone calls or doing some research over the internet that there is a world of varieties out there, a lot of which you might never have heard of. You’ll read and hear some fantastic claims, you’ll probably pick up some inconsistencies between what different people say about different varieties and you may even come away a bit confused about what to do.

I can tell you from decades of experience, that there is a relatively short list of “must haves” that most people want, those being: drought tolerance, hard wearing qualities, year round colour and preferably low maintenance. It’s amazing to see how many varieties out there today promise to deliver all of these traits and much better than their competitors. I can also assure you that no matter what you hear, there is no one lawn that can deliver 5 stars in all these areas. All lawns excel in some areas and don’t deliver so strongly in others.

There are 3 categories of instant lawns most commonly available in Adelaide, those being couch, kikuyu and buffalo. In each of these categories there are many different varieties, all competing to be the “best”. For example, there is Santa Anna Couch, Windsor Green Couch, Conquest Couch. Then there is Sir Walter buffalo, Kings pride buffalo, Sapphire buffalo and lastly Sterile kikuyu, Kenda kikuyu, Dwarf kikuyu… you get the idea.

Each of these categories has strengths, each has weaknesses. You will always hear about the strengths and rarely hear about the weaknesses. As a generalisation, let me give you my opinion of the strengths and weakness of each category to help you make a more informed decision of which lawn to choose. Once you sort out which category is best for you (ie couch, kikuyu or buffalo), then choosing a variety of that category becomes much easier.

Couch lawns are probably the most suitable for our climate. They offer a good balance of hard wearing qualities and drought tolerance without being too invasive. There are some good low maintenance varieties around now too so watch out for them. Kikuyu has been around for ages and most people have an opinion about it but let me tell you, it’s the most common lawn in South Australia. It’s the lawn you see almost without exception on ovals, council public land and schools because of its super drought tolerance and super hard wearing qualities. The down side is that kikuyu is fairly invasive and wont grow in the shade. Buffalo lawns are the least maintenance of the three types and also the most versatile being able to grow in both sun and shade. They keep good year round colour but they are also the least drought tolerant in South Australia’s climate and the least hard wearing of the three types considered here.

There are plenty of other pro’s and con’s of these lawn types but you can start to see here that some characteristics of a lawn will appeal to you, some will turn you off. If you wanted a lawn for your back yard and you had 2 dogs, the area was in the full sun and you didn’t want to use too much water, Id avoid buffalo and suggest couch or kikuyu. If you wanted a lawn for a shady area and ultra low maintenance was high on your list of must haves, buffalo would be a good choice. Everyone’s situation is different and not all lawns will suit you but by spending some time with you and understanding your needs, a better understanding of the right lawn for you can be attained.

When you have sorted out which category suits you best, its time to pick a variety. For example, if you decide that buffalo is the right category of lawn, you’ll then have to make a choice of which variety of buffalo you want. There have been many advances in lawn varieties over the last few years which have resulted in new varieties of lawn being released. They are usually “PBR” varieties which stands for Plant Breeders Rights. Put simply they are patented varieties of lawn developed to breed in desirable characteristics and breed out undesirable ones. Watch out for them when shopping for your lawn but also keep in mind that while there are some differences between varieties of lawns, the differences are minimal. In my opinion, you couldn’t choose the wrong one! For example, if you have decided to buy buffalo, the varieties of buffalo available in South Australia are similar and it while each has its unique points of difference, they are all really good varieties and would do well for you.

All in all, do your research, understand your needs and ask plenty of questions. Be comfortable with the lawn that is recommended to you and don’t rely solely on the internet or what other people have to say about various types

If you have any questions or need any help deciding, give us a call.


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