Identifying lawn species is critical not only to using weed control, but also fertilisation. Choosing the wrong herbicide or the wrong fertiliser, at the wrong time of year could be fatal to your lawn.
Here, on Sydney's North Shore, there are three dominant lawn species:
There are quite a few other species mixed into some lawns. We call those ones 'Heinz Lawns' because they have '57 varieties' of grasses comprising the lawn.
Let's learn about the most popular lawn variety: Buffalo.
Technically, Buffalo is a warm season grass which means, obviously, that it grows most during the warmer months. During winter, it slows down. In this temperate environment, it keeps growing, but at a slower rate.
The structure of Buffalo grass is slightly unusual compared to some others. It has stolons (above ground runners) but no rhizomes (underground 'runners'). This makes it very easy to propagate from excess runners, if you're trying to patch on the cheap.
The greatest appeal of Buffalo lawns is that they are very resilient and grow well in a diverse range of conditions - from bright sunny areas to semi-shaded places, and in both damp and dryish conditions. The super-thick density of this grass makes it great for occluding weeds.
Maintenance-wise, it's good to mow Buffalo every four weeks during winter, every three weeks during spring and autumn and every two weeks during summer. In some places, it may be necessary to mow it weekly during summer to maintain that superior and well cultured growing habit.
Despite a cultural desire for super-short grass, it's not a good idea for Buffalo. The length of the blade of grass should be between 30 mm and 65 mm, depending on the season and how much sun the lawn will receive. The right length will give the benefit of being a pleasant looking lawn, lovely to walk on and for the kids to play on, as well as being a healthy lawn, a great carbon-sink and give you the big benefit of reduced additional maintenance cost.
With autumn and spring fertilisation, you can be assured that your Buffalo lawn will be beautiful, healthy and be a real asset to your property and lifestyle.
The downside of this kind of grass is that it is technically a broadleaf grass, which means that certain kinds of weed killers will kill both the weed and the lawn. This is not a good thing. If you're hiring a professional to manage your lawns, then you will have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, make sure that all products you use are marked as 'safe for Buffalo', and then cross your fingers.
Bear in mind that many Buffalo lawns on the North Shore are very old and may have had poor maintenance at some time in their life. One of the signs of a poor maintenance history is sponginess. You can try to fix this yourself, but it might be better to choose a professional lawn maintenance service such as My Garden Guy to use a controlled maintenance program which will improve the lawn's condition.
If you would like to know more, you're welcome to make contact and we'll help you.