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9 types of lawn grass in Australia (with pictures)

The perfect lawn grass for Australia should be able to withstand the extremes of tropical heat and stay for extended periods without water.

You’ll find the grass that we’ve covered here in many lawns across Australia. Most of the species featured are warm-season grasses that thrive in the local climate. You’ll succeed in growing it as long as you provide the basic requirements for growth.

Here’s the list of the most common types of lawn grass in Australia that survive in temperate or tropical climate zones. 

1. Buffalo grass

  • Scientific name: Bouteloua dactyloides
  • English name: Buffalo grass
  • Local Name: Sir Walter, Palmetto
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Buffalo grass is a common lawn grass in Australia. This perennial grass is native to western parts of North America and grows up to 20cm tall. It is characterized by green-gray-colored curly leaves.

Buffalo grass does well in well-drained loam, clay, or limestone. This grass is also one of the few drought-tolerant North American grasses suitable for lawn use. Buffalo grass thrives in areas that get 6-8 hours of sunlight.

There are two types of Buffalo grasses; ‘Palmetto’ and ‘Sir Walter’

Palmetto Buffalo (stenotaphrum secundatum)

A palmetto buffalo grass lawn. Image: brisbaneturfsupplies.com.au
A palmetto buffalo grass lawn. Image: brisbaneturfsupplies.com.au

Palmetto Buffalo is very common in lawns in Australia. You may have already seen it in your neighbourhood.

Its characteristics include:

  • Vivid green colour almost year-round.
  • High drought tolerance.
  • No underground roots, so it doesn’t invade pavers and garden beds.
  • Suitable for high foot traffic areas.
  • Less mowing than most buffalo grasses.
  • Slow to recover if damaged.
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Sir Walter Buffalo (stenotaphrum secundatum)

A Sir Walter Buffalo grass lawn. Image: leerowans Gardening
A Sir Walter Buffalo grass lawn. Image: Leerowans Gardening

Sir Walter is the best type of grass in Australia because it can adapt to all types of weather and environmental conditions.

Unlike Palmetto, Sir Walter is fast-growing and needs frequent mowing. It also produces more seeds.

Its characteristics include:

  • Keeps its winter color in a partial shade
  • Grows actively in winter
  • Has an even greater tolerance for wear and tear than Palmetto
  • Has slightly better drought tolerance.

2. Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass
Although native to Africa, Bermuda grass thrives in Australia.
  • Scientific name: Cynodon dactylon
  • English name: Bermuda grass
  • Local Name: Couch turf
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Bermuda grass is a perennial warm-season grass that is native to Africa but also grows in tropical to warm climates.

This fine-leaf variety of grass is dark green in color and maintains its natural shade for longer under drought conditions.

Bermuda grass grows rapidly and is able to outcompete most weed species. It is mostly used in lawn and pasture grass and for golf greens

Characteristics include:

  • Fine leaf texture in bright green
  • Can withstand heavy traffic
  • Drought, pest, and disease resistant
  • Grass grows up to 1.5 inches

3. Weeping rice grass

  • Scientific name: Microlaena Stipoides
  • English name: Weeping rice grass
  • Local Name: Weeping meadow grass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Weeping rice grass is one of the native grass types in Australia. The perennial grass has dense foliage and soft lime-green leaves.

This grass thrives in a high rainfall environment and can tolerate extreme weather once it’s established.

Weeping rice grass has a high salt tolerance, making it suitable for coastal lawns. It does not need fertilizer to grow.

This grass usually grows by the roadside or in shady bushland areas. It is important to note that weeping rice grass does not do well on lawns with heavier foot traffic than the usual kids’ play.

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Characteristics are:

  • Requires minimal mowing
  • Leaves can grow to a height of 75cm if left unmowed
  • Makes excellent ground cover beneath huge trees
  • Low tolerance to heavy foot traffic

4. Kikuyu grass

Kikuyu grass
A field full of Kikuyu grass
  • Scientific name: Cenchrus clandestinus
  • English name: Kikuyu grass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Kikuyu grass is native to East Africa. This perennial grass thrives in areas prone to drought and coastal conditions.

Kikuyu grass is similar to Bermuda grass because both grow rapidly during periods of high sunlight and warm temperatures. However, Kikuyu grass can grow at even lower temperatures.

Characteristics:

  • Produces flat pointy leaves that are 4-5mm wide
  • High tolerance to extreme weather conditions
  • Suitable for high foot traffic areas
  • Quick recovery and regenerative

5. Fescue

Tall fescue grass
Tall fescue grass
  • Scientific name: Schedonorus arundinaceus
  • English name: Tall Fescue
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Fescue is native to most parts of Europe, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East.  In Australia, it is found in the South and Western parts of the country.

One of the main disadvantages of Fescue grass is its susceptibility to pests and diseases.

Characteristics:

  • Grows well in poor soil
  • Does not need frequent mowing
  • Germinates quickly
  • Coarse and bristly

6. Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
Image: Flickr/ Pennington
  • Scientific name: Poa pratensis
  • English name: Kentucky bluegrass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass recognized for its lush green color, fine texture, and dense sod.

The grass is less prevalent in Australia because of the country’s extreme heat and demanding maintenance requirements.

Kentucky bluegrass, however, thrives in cooler, shaded places, including lawns, sports fields, and golf courses in the country.

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Its special characteristics include:

  • Kentucky bluegrass forms dense lawns.
  • When left to grow, stems can reach heights of 1 to 2 feet.
  • The leaves are 2 to 7 inches long, thin, and dark green in color.

7. Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
Perennial Ryegrass. Image: Flickr/Tiggrx
  • Scientific name: Lolium perenne
  • English name: Perennial Ryegrass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Ryegrass grows best in mild, humid conditions. It creates a dense mat and has deep roots that make it resistant to heat and drought, making it perfect for high-traffic areas.

While ryegrass is disease-resistant and tolerant of shade like other cool-season kinds, it must be frequently mowed to control its development.

Characteristics of perennial ryegrass include:

  • Dense perennial tuft
  • Stems grow between 30-90 cm
  • Fine dark green leaves, spike seed head, flat fawn seeds.
  • Ideal for grazing,
  • Cold and frost-tolerant
  • Its growth is limited in areas with high temperatures.

8. Centipede grass

Centipede Grass
Centipede Grass. Image by: Flickr/MJRGoblin
  • Scientific name: Eremochloa ophiuroides
  • English name: Centipede grass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Centipede grass forms a dense lawn that is medium to light green in color. This grass is mostly used in golf courses and lawns because it can withstand foot traffic.

it is characterized by:

  • Thin and long grass blades
  • Stolons that help the plant to spread

9. Bentgrass (Agrostis)

Bentgrass (Agrostis)
Bentgrass. Image: Flickr/Uncle Millborn
  • Scientific name: Agrostis
  • English name: Bentgrass
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Annual or Perennial: Perennial
  • Grass, sedge, or broadleaf: Grass

Bentgrass, known for its soft texture and primarily seen on Northern golf courses, can be identified by its tufted appearance, slender stems, and flat leaf blades.

It thrives on golf courses and lawns but requires high maintenance year-round, including fertilizing, mowing, and watering.

Characteristics:

  • Thrives in temperate, cool, subtropical, tropical areas.
  • Forage, turf, and weeds.
  • Tufted, slender stems, flat leaf blades.
  • Wind-pollinated.

These are the most common lawn grass types in Australia. Do you have a favorite from the list?

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