The Wide World of Turf
27 July 2023
Let’s take a look at some of the main varieties of grasses from around the world…
Did you know there are over 10,000 different types of grasses found across the world? With hundreds of thousands of variations found within these different types and genus.
Many of us know some of the main varieties of grasses that feature in Australian lawns. Buffalo Grass, Kikuyu Grass and Couch Grass being the three most common that we see in the majority of home lawns and public areas across the country. With many other native grasses that can be found across the landscape and bushland areas as well.
But what about the rest of the world? What grasses do they have for their lawns? Do they grow kikuyu in England? Do the Americans have buffalo grass?
The Asian continent covers a large area and as result experiences a vast range of climate conditions. Grasses most synonymous with Asia include the group of grasses known as Zoysia’s. These grasses thrive in hot conditions, particularly in East Asia with the temperate and tropical climate.
Common grasses of the Zoysia Grass genus include – Japonica (Korean Grass or Japanese Lawngrass), Matrella (Manila Grass) and Macrantha (prickly couch). Many of these grasses have also found their way to Australia with similar climate conditions experienced here.
Centipede Grass is another grass variety also found in Asia native to Southern China. Like many of the zoysia’s, Centipede Grass grows quite slowly and doesn’t require frequent mowing.
The USA, like Asia, experiences significant differences in climate from the north to the south, which has also led to a large variety of grasses being used for lawns. In addition to this, the USA has taken a leading role in developing and breeding new turf varieties, primarily stemming from the performance needs of their highly competitive sports industry.
Some of the common grasses you might see in USA lawns include:
- Kentucky Blue Grass (KBG) is a cool season grass type that performs well in the more northern states and has an admired blue-green colour. While Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass state, KBG is actually native to northern Asia and parts of Europe.
- Bermuda Grass (Couch Grass) is a warm season grass commonly used in the more southern states and performs well in over 100 countries within tropical and subtropical climates. Bermuda grass is known for its hard wearing, fine leaf and is commonly used on sports fields as well as home lawns.
- St Augustine (Buffalo Grass) is a thick, broad leaf, warm season grass well known for high shade tolerance and weed resistance. St Augustine primarily grows best in the south-eastern USA states including Texas, and also in Mexico and South America.
Other grasses commonly found in US lawns include Perennial Ryegrass, Zoysia Grass, Bahia Grass, Fescue and Seashore Paspalum.
When you think of Europe you primarily think of the cold climate areas that for many months of the year experience snow and frost. These areas almost exclusively will feature lawns of the cool season grass varieties. Those that grow best in colder conditions like Fescue and Ryegrass. In fact, it’s common for a blend of these cool season varieties be used together in the same lawn.
Common cool season grasses found across Europe include:
Creeping Red Fescue, Ryegrass, Common Bentgrass, Annual Meadowgrass and Brown-top Bent Grass.
Kikuyu grass that is also found in Australia was originally from the highland regions of East Africa and named after the Kikuyu tribe. Kikuyu is still the most popular lawn variety in many African countries, with another indigenous grass known as LM grass.
LM Grass has other common names you might recognise including Durban Grass and Sweet Smother Grass. LM Grass has a creeping growth habit like kikuyu, but it grows much less invasively. Other warm season grasses like buffalo and couch are also prevalent in many African countries.
As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.
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