South Australia exemplifies the extreme nature of the Australian climate. It not only experiences the frosty chill of Winter mornings where temperatures can regularly drop to freezing point, but Adelaide also lays claim to the dubious honour of having the most 40+ degree days of any Australian capital.
This variance in climate can make the choice of a grass variety a tricky one. You need a turf that will be able to handle the frosts of July, but also the dry, baking heat of January. A turf that may not see a decent rain for six months, but then will need to handle a good amount of water over winter. Because of this variety, cool season/warm season blends are a fantastic option, although there are many pure seed options that will also happily cope.
So, which grasses are up to the task?
Because of the heat of the South Australian summer, warm season grasses offer a great solution. It should be noted, however, that these options aren’t ideal for areas that are affected by frost.
In terms of hardiness, quick growth and softness underfoot, Bermuda Couch is an almost unbeatable option. It’ll take hold in the most trying of conditions, and although it may go into hibernation if the weather gets too cold, it should be able to bounce back quickly once winter is over.
The other warm season grass that may be able to handle South Australia’s winters is Kikuyu. It doesn’t need quite as much heat as couch to establish itself. Kikuyu is every bit as hardy and good looking as couch, and will also bounce back well from winter dormancy. You will need to keep on your toes when it comes to maintaining Kikuyu however, as it does have a tendency to spread where you may not want it.
A cool season lawn option in South Australia will go well over winter, but may need some assistance in getting through the blazing SA summer.
The North American staple of Kentucky Bluegrass is a fine option for South Australian backyards – it likes to have an unusually high amount of sunlight for a cool season grass, perfect for those long SA summer days. Maintenance is minimal, and its slight blue tinge can provide your backyard with a truly unique look.
If your yard sees a bit of wear and tear, RPR Ryegrass may be your best cool season bet. Standing for Regenerating Perennial Ryegrass, this strand of ryegrass has been bred specifically to handle high traffic, without removing the trademark ryegrass colour and feel.
In the same vein, RTF Fescue has been developed to withstand high wear and tear while maintaining all of the qualities of Tall Fescue that lawn owners know and love. Its drought tolerance will be a fantastic feature to have during the dry heat of a South Australian summer, and it also comes with an ability to thrive in shade and frosts.
Blends offer a terrific solution to the problem posed by the South Australian climate. By combining warm season and cool season seeds, you can have a lawn that remains green and healthy all year round.
Blends such as McKays’ Bermuda Couch grass seed blend and Kikuyu grass seed blend offer their respective warm season grasses in conjunction with annual ryegrass seeds and a small amount of slow release fertiliser, giving your lawn the chance to establish strongly, and remain green throughout the year.
Alternatively, a blend of differing types of cool season grasses may also suit. McKays’ Elite Backyard Blend combines Tall Fescue, Red Fescue and Sports Turf Ryegrass to create a hardy cool season blend that should be able to remain green and healthy all year round, no matter how hot the Adelaide summer may get.
No matter which option you choose, you may need to irrigate your South Australian lawn over the bone dry summer months. For any other questions relating to the best lawn choice for your South Australian backyard, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at McKays.