The difference between TifTuf Vs Kikuyu
In this week’s turf tip, we look at the difference between TifTuf bermuda and Kikuyu turf varieties. One is a new variety carefully selected by scientists, nurtured by our turf farm and best suited for Australian conditions. The other has been the lawn chosen for decades, long before today’s modern couch grasses, buffalo turf and other hardy, low maintenance and drought resistant lawns were created.
It’s important to understand what the two grass varieties are to gain a better understanding of the right lawn to choose for your backyard.
As South East Queensland’s leading turf farm and supplier of superior lawn turf for more than 45 years, here is what we’ve discovered along the way.
TifTuf’s genetic purity
The TifTuf hybrid bermuda grass variety is a popular new turf choice with a fine leaf blade and dense growth. Of all the grass varieties, it holds the reputation of being hand-selected from 30,000 varieties. It went through 25 years of scientific research before it reached the Australian market. Lawn Solutions Australia highly recommends it.
Leading professional turf producer body, Lawn Solutions Australia has also announced that TifTuf (which is a type of couch grass) has been formally recognised with the Smart Approved WaterMark in Queensland, NSW, VIC, TAS and SA.
In fact, Lawn Solutions Australia says it has created a new benchmark for drought tolerance in turf grass in Australia.
Kikuyu turf variety
By comparison, three to four decades ago it was the Kikuyu grass variety that people chose for their home lawn when the average backyard was spacious and far-reaching. This was the right grass for lush green growth and drought hardiness, despite it being a highly invasive grass variety.
This was the time that backyards were used as sports fields, where kids would spend their time playing tag, kicking balls about with Dad, tumbling with their dogs and having outdoor adventures away from the house.
Why some grasses lose popularity
Up to 30 years ago, Australians didn’t have the variety or science-backed options that Lawn Solutions Australia recommends today. Now, most warm-season grasses such as TifTuf Bermuda, Sir Grange Zoysia and the ever-popular Sir Walter DNA Certified Turf Buffalo, have been engineered for Australia’s harsh conditions and thrive in South East Queensland.
However, there is another reason turf varieties go out of fashion. What is it? It’s the change over time in our lifestyles.
Most homes are no longer on average 200m2 with wide-open spaces for a footy field or cricket pitch in the full sun. Today’s homes have smaller yards, paved walkways and carefully designed garden beds, which does not leave much lawn area. The grassed area that does remain often does not catch as much sun. Year-round full sunlight is important for the lawn health of older lawn varieties such as Kikuyu.
South East Queensland is known for its long, strong and overly hot seasons.
So when it comes to the right variety for SEQ’s climate, TifTuf bermuda is perfect. TifTuf lawns absolutely loves Summer and even extends through to the cooler months of Winter with its unmatched pristine emerald colour.
The mid-sized leaf of Kikuyu performs best in cooler climates and cannot be generally found in South East Queensland due to such hot and humid weather.
Water, water, water. Keeping your water bills down to the minimum is key to picking the right lawn variety.
TifTuf bermuda uses 38% less water than other similar varieties. It takes the waterwise win here as it is the first and only turfgrass in Australia to receive the Smart Approved WaterMark. This means it has a proven drought tolerance over other couch grasses and most other turf varieties. It’s the perfect choice for South East Queensland which regularly faces water restrictions.
Kikuyu is somewhat drought tolerant. It is hardy through drought conditions thanks to its excellent growth rate and large prostate runners. It’s the invasive Kikuyu runners that actively seek out the moisture in the subsoil and will establish quickly.
However, if superior drought tolerance is your only criteria, you should also consider Lawn Solution Australia recommended:
- Sir Walter DNA certified, soft leaf buffalo grass variety. It also carries the reputation of being drought tolerant, low maintenance and self repairing.
- Sir Grange Zoysia has a high drought tolerance and is just as resistant to sub-freezing temperatures. It was created in the US for golf courses to look appealing. It’s the perfect turf for South East Queensland and can be mown short.
For active families with pets, this section is for you.
With high wear tolerance, TifTuf bermuda is the best when it comes to recovery. The perfect all-around variety, it has superior recovering qualities unlike any other. A recent report by STRI found out that it is the bee’s knees for wear.
Somewhat wear tolerant, Kikuyu does not compare to TifTuf bermuda. The TifTuf turf variety takes the win for the best wear-tolerant new lawn with its absolutely swift recovery. Of all the grass types, Kikuyu would be closer in cooler climates, but in SEQ TifTuf wins by a wide margin.
Modern homeowners are looking for a backyard lawn that is shade tolerant that fits around their busy, landscaped spaces. There are pathways, trees overhanging fences, wood chip and mulch garden beds and other garden features that reduce sun exposure.
TifTuf Turf has a moderate shade tolerance and is considered to be more resilient than other couch varieties. For those looking for more resilience, the highly durable broadleaf grass Sir Walter DNA Certified buffalo is a strong contender. Its other leading competitor is the top-performing Sr Grange zoysia, which is a popular shade tolerant, fine leaf turf variety.
However, Kikuyu needs wide open spaces to grow and it cannot handle much shade. Your Kikuyu backyard would soon be dead without direct sunlight.
The verdict for both varieties is…of course, TifTuf bermuda. Perfect for South East Queensland’s weather, it has a low water usage, shows excellent winter colour and high wear tolerance. These qualities truly make it the best bermuda grass we have seen on the market.
To help you select, take a look at the key characteristics that you can expect from all our premium grass varieties, all raised in Brisbane for South East Queensland conditions.
If you require any further tips on TifTuf Bermuda call our team on (07) 3114 8281. You can also pop in and order in person at our sales office at 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm. Our Acacia Ridge office also has a display area where you can kick off your shoes and try out our grasses before you buy.