Shade tolerant grass options have been growing exponentially at Jimboomba Turf with the addition of 2 new varieties. This week’s turf tip looks at why shade tolerance is so important, and some of the strengths of our shade tolerant options.
Why are shade tolerant grass options so important?
With house blocks shrinking and houses getting bigger, the modern yard is much smaller than years gone past. Instead of ¼ acre block with wire fences with sunlight galore for your lawn, we now have 30m² of grass with 6ft fences and 3 story houses. The picture to the right shows the wide open spaces of the older suburb of Oxley beside the newer far tighter green spaces of Springfield Lakes.
These changes have greatly reduced the available sunlight for our lawns. Meaning the common couch grass that requires 6-7 hours of direct sunlight a day just isn’t fit for purpose in modern backyards. The news isn’t all bad, as the smaller yard size makes it easier to afford premium turf grass varieties better suited to the modern yard. Giving our customers some great shade tolerant grass options all with their own benefits.
The classic tried and tested option: Sir Walter buffalo
You can’t talk about shade tolerant grass options without mentioning the godfather of shade tolerant lawns, Sir Walter buffalo. Since 1997 Sir Walter buffalo 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. Its soft children and pet-friendly leaf far exceeded previous buffalo grasses on the market, cementing it as Australia’s most popular turf brand.
Success breeds imitators though, but 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 buffalo branding that you would have seen in recent years. This allows customers to be confident they are buying the genuine shade tolerant, Sir Walter product Australian’s love and trust.
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 TufTuf has a higher concentration Gibberellic Acid (the chemical plants use for photosynthesis) in TifTuf than similar varieties. The more Gibberellic Acid a plant has the less light it needs to grow, making TifTuf a mild shade tolerant grass option. A side benefit of this higher concentration is TifTuf has far superior winter colour 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 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 luxurious, low maintenance shade tolerant grass option for Australian lawns.
To get more advice on shade tolerant grass options for your existing lawn or to order a new Sir Walter, TifTuf or Sir Grange lawn call our team on (07) 3114 8230. You can also to pop in and order in person 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.
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