Turf Tips: Shade tolerant grass options

Turf Tips: Shade tolerant grass options

Our shade tolerant grasses have been growing exponentially at Jimboomba Turf with the addition of 2 new varieties. This turf tip will explain why shade tolerance is so important, and some of the strengths of our premium turf for shade.

Why do we need shade tolerant turf in Australia?

With house blocks shrinking and houses getting bigger, the modern yard is much smaller than years gone past. Instead of a ¼ acre block with wire fences and direct sun, we now have 30m² of grass, 6ft fences and 3 storey houses with increased shady areas. The picture in the centre shows the wide open spaces of the older suburb of Oxley beside the newer, far tighter green spaces of Springfield Lakes.

These changes have resulted in filtered sunlight and high shade on our Australian lawns. This means that the common couch grass that requires 6-7 hours of direct sun every day is no longer fit for modern backyards.

The news isn’t all bad, as the smaller yard size makes it easier to afford premium warm season grasses with shade tolerance and wear tolerance for high foot traffic. This gives our customers the best lawn grass for shade while being relatively low maintenance.

The classic tried and tested option: Sir Walter DNA Certified buffalo

You can’t talk about the best turf for shade without mentioning the godfather of shade tolerant lawns, Sir Walter DNA Certified buffalo grass. Since 1997 Sir Walter DNA Certified has been the trusted name for a broad leaf, shade tolerant grass. Its broad leaf allows it to thrive in areas with far less sunlight thanks to the greater surface area to convert sunlight to energy. Soft leaf buffalo grass is children and pet-friendly, exceeding other buffalo grasses on the market. Cementing it as Australia’s best lawn grass for shaded areas in comparison to other buffalo varieties.

As a result of the success of the Sir Walter DNA Certified variety, breed imitators have been selling this grass without the premium qualities. Sir Walter has been able to combat these inferior imitators with Lawn Solutions Australia’s extensive DNA testing campaign. This gave way to some new branding, the Sir Walter DNA Certified branding that you would have seen in recent years. This allows customers to be confident they are buying the best grass for shade and it’s genuine.

The water-wise option: TifTuf bermuda

Hand selected from almost 30,000 varieties of turf grass, with almost 25 years of research from the world’s leading scientists the next of our shade tolerant grass options is TifTuf Bermuda. TifTuf was a product of a breeding program specifically looking for a superior drought tolerant grass variety. The research from these trails has proven TifTuf uses on average 38% less water than similar turf varieties. This makes it a great variety for water restrictions.

Further testing during the process of bringing TifTuf to market also found it performed better than expected in shade trials. Despite its fine leaf similar to our couch grasses, they found TifTuf needs 50% less sunlight than similar grasses. It is important to note that this relates to similar grasses such as couch, while it does perform better than these grasses in shade it is NOT a truly shade tolerant grass like Sir Walter DNA Certified and Sir Grange zoysia.

The scientists found that TifTuf has a higher concentration of Gibberellic Acid (the chemical plants use for photosynthesis) compared to similar varieties. The more Gibberellic Acid a plant has the less light it needs to grow, making TifTuf a mild shade tolerant grass option. Another benefit of this higher concentration of Gibberellic Acid is TifTuf has a superior winter colour in comparison to other grasses.

Low maintenance luxury option: Sir Grange zoysia

Our last shade tolerant grass option is by far our most luxurious, Sir Grange zoysia. Featuring a fine soft leaf texture, with a beautiful dark green colour, Sir Grange zoysia is a true “barefoot lawn grass”. Zoysia grasses are renowned for their slow growing, low maintenance nature. Needing very few inputs including fertiliser Sir Grange can thrive in as little as 2-3 hours of direct sunlight.

Zoysia grasses have become quite the trend in recent times, with some people declaring them the future of Australian turf grass. Superior performance in shade, drought and salt tolerance, along with fantastic pest and weed resistance. This will undoubtedly see Sir Grange become the number 1 zoysia in Australia, just as it is in the USA. Having already proven its performance on the world stage thanks to its exclusive use on the 2016 Rio Olympics golf course. Sir Grange is primed to become the best lawn grass for shady areas with minimal lawn care required.

To get more advice on shade tolerant grass options for your existing lawn or to order a new Sir Walter DNA Certified, TifTuf or Sir Grange lawn call our team on (07) 3114 8281.

You can also pop in and order at our sales office on 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm.

For more great turf, tips keep an eye on our website and all our social media channels.

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