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Types of Grass in Australia: Complete Lawn Guide

Different types of grass are suited to different amounts of sun and different climates. Also, some are more drought-tolerant than others.

When selecting a grass type for your lawn, you should ensure that you choose the correct type of grass both for your climate and your lifestyle.

There are quite a few common grass types grown throughout the country and many of these have their own sub-variants.

To help you make the right choice for your property, we’ve outlined the most common grass varieties in Australia along with their pros and cons.

Buffalo Grass 

One of the stand-out features of buffalo grass is its wide leaf blade. It’s a hardy grass variety and relatively easy to grow and maintain.

The newer sub-variants that are available today have a soft leaf that is not irritating like older varieties often were. 

Buffalo grass spreads through the use of stolons and rhizomes. It’s a warm season grass which means that it’s generally dormant in winter. It’s also one of the major grass species that can tolerate shady conditions.

Pros

  • Can tolerate shady conditions
  • Suitable for high-traffic areas
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought tolerant
  • Weed resistant
  • Self-repairing

Cons

  • Frost-sensitive
  • Becomes dormant when temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius

Best for

  • Families with kids and pets
  • Shaded areas
  • Those looking for a low-maintenance lawn

Sub-Variants

  • Sir Walter Buffalo – broad leaf
  • Sapphire Soft Leaf Buffalo – medium broad leaf
  • Matilda – medium broad leaf
  • Palmetto Soft Leaf Buffalo – broad leaf
  • Shademaster – broad leaf
  • Prestige – broad leaf

TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda

This is a fine leaf grass that has a dense growth habit. It’s commonly used for community parks and sports ovals that experience high levels of traffic.

This fine-leaf grass is a deep dark green colour. It will maintain its colour even during periods of dry weather.

It does need regular mowing in order to keep it under control so that it doesn’t encroach into areas where you don’t want it to grow. For this reason, the edges also need to be trimmed regularly.

Pros

  • Dense and durable for high-traffic areas
  • Maintains its deep green colour even during drought

Cons

  • Can be invasive
  • Needs very regular mowing and edging

Best for

  • Families with kids and pets
  • Public areas such as sports ovals

Zoysia Grass

This grass variety is easy-care and tolerant of many different conditions. It has a wider leaf blade than couch grass and is regarded as a warm season grass.

It’s not suitable for colder areas in the south of the country. It spreads via rhizomes that grow both above and below ground.

Pros

  • High heat tolerant
  • Drought tolerant
  • Requires less mowing than other varieties
  • Has low fertiliser requirements
  • Salt tolerant
  • Not invasive

Cons

  • Not frost-tolerant

Best for

  • Coastal gardens
  • Areas with a constantly changing climate

Sub-variants

  • Sir Grange – fine leaf
  • Platinum – fine-medium leaf
  • Empire – fine-medium leaf
  • Nara Native – fine-medium leaf
  • Augusta – fine leaf

Couch Grass

Couch is a highly durable grass with a fine leaf blade. It’s quick-growing and suitable for high-traffic areas.

It does require regular mowing in the warmer months and benefits from some dethatching.

It grows vigorously from underground runners so does have a tendency to become invasive. 

Pros

  • Drought tolerant
  • Fast growing
  • Suitable for high-traffic areas
  • Warm season grass

Cons

  • Can be invasive
  • Requires regular mowing and fertilising
  • Requires de-thatching to look its best

Best for

  • Families with kids and pets

Sub-variants

  • Santa Ana
  • Nullabor
  • Queensland Blue
  • OzTuff
  • Stadium

Kikuyu Grass 

Kikuyu is a medium leaf variety and is bright green in colour. It will grow in many different soil types and is suitable for areas that are hot or have high humidity.

Being a fast-growing grass, it does require regular mowing and edging so that it doesn’t invade other areas of your garden.

Pros

  • Fast-growing
  • Highly durable
  • Drought-tolerant
  • Will tolerate most soil types
  • Grows well in full sun 
  • Tolerates high humidity

Cons

  • Can become invasive
  • Requires regular mowing in the warmer months

Best for

  • Areas that receive full sun 
  • Families with kids and pets

Sub-variants

  • Eureka
  • Kenda – a sterile variety with minimal seed heads

Perennial Ryegrass

This is a cool-season grass variety and has a deep green colour. It’s also shade-tolerant and can even survive heavy frosts.

As a fast-growing grass, it does require regular maintenance and needs to be watered often during hot, dry weather. 

Pros 

  • Will tolerate shady conditions 
  • Can handle heavy frosts

Cons

  • Needs regular mowing during the warmer months
  • Requires regular watering during periods of dry weather
  • Needs to be fertilised every couple of months to keep its good colour
  • Can be susceptible to pests and diseases

Best for

  • Colder climate gardens

Tall Fescue Grass

This is a grass variety that is both soft underfoot and a deep dark green colour. It will grow in both full sun and part shade and has a medium leaf blade.

It’s highly suitable for colder climates. But, unlike warm-season grasses, it does appreciate regular watering under lengthy dry conditions. 

Pros

  • Can tolerate full sun and part shade
  • It will look great all year round
  • Suitable for colder climates
  • Self-repairing

Cons

  • Will need regular watering during dry periods

Best for

  • Colder climate gardens

How to choose grass for your lawn

When choosing the right grass for your lawn, you need to consider your climate and whether your lawn area is in full sun or is shaded for parts of the day.

You should also consider whether you want a drought-tolerant grass or whether you don’t mind giving your lawn regular water.

You also want to consider the maintenance requirements of the grass you want to grow. If you’re happy to mow and trim your lawn regularly, then this is not such a problem. 

Lastly, you want to consider how much traffic your lawned area is going to receive.

If you have young kids and a dog that likes to frolic on the grass, then you need to choose a grass variety that can easily handle lots of heavy-duty wear and tear.

Warm vs cool season grass

The main difference between warm season and cool season grasses is that warm season grasses will be dormant in winter.

They tend to only grow during the warmer months of the year. They will also generally lose some of their vibrant colour during winter but are often, quite drought-tolerant.

On the other hand, cool-season grasses will grow right throughout the colder weather and some are even tolerant of heavy frosts.

This means that they will need some mowing all year round and regular watering during hot and dry weather.

Grass Type FAQ

How do I identify my grass?

To identify what type of grass you have, you have to closely examine the leaf blades as these can vary both in width and in the shape of their tips.

What are the most common types of grass in Australia?

The most common types of grass grown in Australia are Buffalo, Kikuyu, Couch, and Zoysia.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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