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Grass in Focus: Why Couch Grass Should be Your Lawn Option

The right type of lawn grass is crucial to achieving a picture-perfect landscape. While there are various good options, couch grass is undoubtedly the most popular. Its high drought tolerance and the fact that it can grow anywhere in Australia are some of its best features. But that’s not all it has to offer. Let’s look at why this type of turf should be your first choice for your lawn.

What is Couch Grass?

It is otherwise known as Cynodon Dactylon or Bermuda grass in the US. Since it originates from Arica, it grows well in warm climates and can adapt well to the Land Down Under’s hot summer seasons. This type of grass has delicate leaves and a gorgeous deep green colour, adding to its appeal and making it perfect for commercial and residential properties.

What Makes It so Popular?

The popularity of couch grass in Australia is due to its ability to thrive in sunny areas. And since it grows well horizontally, it can tolerate shallow mowing heights, giving it a manicured aesthetic. Apart from being sun tolerant and resilient, it’s excellent for large fields with high traffic, such as sports fields,  playgrounds, and large lawns. Add to that its deep green colour, and you get a great combination of beauty and hardiness.

Couch Grass Characteristics

Drought-tolerant – Lack of water is the enemy of most lawn plants. But if you choose couch turf, you won’t have to worry about even the hottest summers. This grass will do fine on its own, even with minimal water.

Loves the Sun – This type of grass is a survivor that thrives in the sun, growing well in temperatures reaching up to 40°C. The downside is that it can weaken and die out quickly in shaded areas. Thanks to this, you don’t have to worry about your lawn turning brown on hot Australian summers, even if you live in hotter regions. 

Durable – This grass can withstand high traffic and is resilient to wear and tear, making it ideal for places frequented for sports and other recreational activities. Another plus is that it can flourish in almost any type of soil. It grows in sandy to light clay soils but prefers a pH between 6 and 7.5.

expanse of couch grass in lawn

Most Common Couch Types

Couch grass comes in different kinds with varying characteristics. Listed below are three popular types to help you choose the most suitable turf for your lawn.

Nullarbor Couch Grass

It is a well-established couch type with over 20 years of research backing its prevalence in many Australian properties. With its stunning, deep green colour and fine-leaf blades that make your lawn look like it came straight out of a commercial, this turf type is preferred in landscape projects. 

This type of grass enjoys lots of sun exposure, so this isn’t recommended if your garden is on the shadier side. It needs a daily minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight. Otherwise, you’re not going to achieve its healthy, vibrant green colour, and it might die out completely. 

Nullarbor grass should be trimmed once a week and given fertiliser two to three times a year to keep it well-maintained and achieve a manicured look.

Wintergreen Couch Grass

This couch variety is the most low-maintenance type, requiring much less care than the other types. However, getting enough sunlight is just as crucial, so ensure it grows in an ideal shade-free spot. If grown well, you will see that it has a beautiful, mid-green colour and a softer texture. 

Like the other varieties, it’s a good option for lawns with a lot of traffic. But the most important thing to consider before growing this grass type is the soil. Ensure the ground is well prepared before laying the grass to combat its nutrition deficiencies and water loss

Your Wintergreen couch grass will grow splendidly if the groundwork is done well. And since it is strong, it can repair itself quickly from most types of damage. 

Santa Ana Couch Grass

Another popular couch type, this grass variety boasts a fine texture with a bright green colour. This type of grass can handle wear and tear since it recovers quickly. So, if you have children and pets, Santa Ana is your best choice. 

Since it loves taking long sunbaths, this variety brilliantly withstands even the hottest Australian summer days. Because of that, it’s also not ideal for properties with many shaded areas.

To keep this grass looking its best, keep it low in height with the blades at least 20mm long. Mow your Santa Ana lawn weekly, and dispose of the clippings afterwards.

closeup of hand brushing grass

Couch Lawn Care Tips

Even though it is a hardy grass that can survive harsh heat, proper couch grass maintenance is still essential. Keep it thriving and vibrant no matter the season, and follow couch lawn maintenance tips below. 

Proper Sunlight

This grass variety has fine leaf blades, which means that it is not efficient at absorbing sunlight. It makes even a tiny amount of shade harmful to its health since it can quickly weaken. So, make sure to install this turf in areas that get plenty of sunlight. 

If your property is filled with big beautiful trees and plants that contribute shade, ensure that you prune them regularly.

Weed Control

Keep your garden safe by only using chemicals suitable for your turf type. Couch turf has rapid coverage and dense undergrowth, so weed invasion shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, you should still inspect your lawn weekly for weed growth and apply the appropriate type of herbicide.

While most herbicides will keep your couch grass unharmed, there are specific types that can kill them. You can use glyphosate if you want to kill invading couch turf. Just use a paintbrush and apply the herbicide by brushing it on the leaves of the invading grass. 

Fertilising

Couch turf grows best when given the proper nourishment. Keep your lawn magazine-worthy by fertilising it regularly throughout the year. In summer, spread about 10kg of fertiliser per 100m of grass every month and a half. In winter, apply the fertiliser once. You can use chemical and organic fertilisers but don’t use them simultaneously. 

Irrigation

Although couch turf is drought-tolerant, maintaining a strict watering schedule is still important. Your watering schedule depends on the season and the frequency of rain. Water the grass at least two to three times a week in summer. 

If it’s rainier, typically during autumn and spring, your lawn doesn’t need watering much, and you can do it once every seven days. Watering couch grass in winter is only required twice per month. 

Remember that excess irrigation can hinder rather than help your grass. So keep to your watering schedule and do not overwater during the colder months. It would be best if you also watered early in the morning for improved plant health and efficiency.

closeup of lawn mower cutting grass

Mowing

You can keep your grass as low as 4mm or let it grow to 36mm, depending on how you use your lawn. But if you haven’t cut your couch lawn in a long time, be careful when you mow so that you don’t take too many leaves at once.

Mowing frequency also depends on the couch type on your property. Wintergreen and Greenless Park varieties need a trim every 10-14 days with an ideal height of around 10-15mm. For the Santa Ana variety, mow your lawn every 7-14 days and keep the height approximately 20mm. 

In winter, you can cut down your mowing schedule in half or do it once every three to five weeks. 

Keeping Couch Grass Green in Winter

Taking care of couch grass in winter is easy since you can cut down on watering and mowing. But if you want to ensure it retains its beautiful green colour even during the colder months of the year, the key is in the fertiliser.

Keep your couch turf green for as long as possible in winter by using a slow-release fertiliser in May. Cutting down on mowing also helps the turf stay a vibrant green since letting the grass grow promotes healthier leaves, especially since there is less sunlight in the day.

gardener installing turf

Choose Professionals for Your Couch Lawn Installation

Couch grass ticks all the boxes when it comes to maintenance, beauty, and resilience. But don’t forget that the installation process is also essential. Hire the services of Green Oasis Lawn and Reticulation for quality turf installation in Perth. Ensure everything in your lawn is considered, from where it is located to the type of soil it has.

We have been providing premium lawn installation services for over a decade, and we understand every aspect of the process. We work within your budget and your desired style to create a relaxing environment in your property that you can enjoy for years. If you want to know more about what’s included in our installation services, give us a call today.

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