Are you thinking of beginning the preparation process for a new native lawn or pasture?
Now is the time to start preparing a site for native grasses to be ready for the first autumn rains. The most important step in this process is tackling the weed problem. To change from an introduced pasture or lawn to native grasses without adequate weed control can exponentially increase your time spent on weed management in the long run.
Firstly ask yourself these questions:
– What is growing there now?
– What has been growing there in the past?
– What seeds may be in the soil?
– What is the herbicide/fertiliser history, if any?
If your land is dominated by weeds, it is likely that there is a heavy seed load in the soil. The weed removal process may therefore need to be repeated several times.
Secondly are you entering a dry or wet summer?
Depending on your Australian location, summer may be a period when weeds either grow or die. It depends on the weed species you have in your area. If your weeds are drying off, controlled burning may be a suitable weed removal option if burning off is allowed. If the summer is wet, manual weeding or herbicide use may be appropriate.
So what options do you have?
1) Hand or mechanical weeding. If your area is small enough to manage by hand you can avoid using chemicals or weed mats. Remove all the weeds either by hand or by using a tiller to turn over and/or aerate the soil. You can then rake away any weeds left on the surface.
→ Beware: at this stage you have exposed any weed seed that remains in the soil so be sure to give the soil some water and wait to see what germinates. Once you have weed seedlings, repeat the removal process before they set seed. How many times you repeat the process will depend on the amount of weed seed stored.
2) Chemical weeding. There are a variety of options for herbicide treatments, including:
Pre-emergent herbicides – Application of a pre-emergent herbicide will prevent any seeds present in the soil from germinating. Please be aware, there may be a lag time after the application of a pre-emergent before it is safe to sow seed.
Knockdown herbicide – If your site has existing weeds, you will need to use a knockdown herbicide that will control established weeds. Native Seeds supply an organic, contact herbicide which works by affecting actively growing green vegetation which it comes into contact with. Weed Zap is non-selective, and is a good option for those who need to control all the weeds in an area. This process can be incorporated into a regime with physical weed removal for greater success, and will also require repeated applications to reduce the number of weed seeds in the soil.
Selective herbicides – A selective herbicide has the potential to kill some weeds but not others. This takes a bit of research to firstly identify what you have growing, then deciding what you don’t want to kill and what you do and then finding the right selective herbicide. The most common selective herbicide that we would recommend simply selects for broadleaf weeds. These are very common and cheap, and will target all broadleaf weeds.
→ Here is a guide to herbicide terms if you’re new to herbicides – Herbicide Terms
3) Other weed management options.
There are many options for controlling weeds that may better suit your needs and desires including:
Weed matting can kill both established weeds and sterilize the soil for weed seed. It does so by blocking light and water from the soil and in warm conditions can bake the soil, killing any seed. Upon removal of the mat, you can be left with close to clean soil.
Burning is a useful weed management tool for killing established weeds and encouraging the growth of seeds in the soil. Repeated burning can successfully prepare your plot. Be mindful that burning is dangerous if not planned and executed appropriately. Contact your local council for information and assistance.
Other options include the use of chickens, goats and rabbits to clean up existing weeds,
smothering weeds with newspaper and mulch, and
growing a cover plant
→ An important note: If you are considering bringing new soil into your site, keep in mind that the soil you buy may contain weed seeds. Allow time to let the soil settle by watering and wait to see if any weeds germinate.
Now the hardest part is over, you have a relatively weed free plot and are ready for planting in autumn. Depending upon your needs you may want to level the site, build mounds, aerate or loosen the soil and/or install underground drippers or other irrigation. Once you can be sure autumn rain has arrived, it’s time to get sowing!
Victoria-Newham Talks about her native grass lawn
The following photos were provided by one of Native Seeds customers who recorded their experience in growing a native grass lawn. They were not solicited by us but provided to us by these very satisfied clients.
Dr. Ian Chivers interviews Paul Jennings from WeBlow about the benefits and success of using native Australian grasses.
The Hydroseeding and Environmental contractor section of BWD Group Pty Ltd have for many years utilized the services of Native Seeds Pty Ltd on many of our re vegetation projects.
The quality of native grass seed blends provided have always been of excellent quality.
We have also always appreciated their advice and expertise when using their consultancy services relating to native seed selection for specialised erosion control and re vegetation projects.
BWD Group Pty Ltd
ph: 03 5997 1988
fax: 03 5997 1588
Native Seeds are our first stop whenever we are after native grasses. Their product knowledge is second to none and they always provide first grade quality seed. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.Andrew Jamieson Sydney Seeds Pty Ltd U5/79 Station Road Seven Hills 2147 Phone: 02 96748011 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was very relieved to come across Native Seeds Pty Ltd. After a few phone calls and a little research, I was convinced that when it to comes to regenerating from native grass seeds, this company knows what it’s doing from sourcing seed, site preparation, direct drilling and maintenance. We followed Native Seeds prescription for site management and we were rewarded with 6-42 native grass seedlings per square metre (average of 14). With enrichment planting of shrub and canopy species and five years growth, we now have a fully structured and diverse regenerating Cumberland Plain Woodland and Riverflat Eucalypt Forest The overall costs were significantly reduced from straight planting costs alone and our Client is very happy.
Travers bushfire & ecology
38A The Avenue, Mt Penang Parklands
Central Coast Highway, Kariong NSW 2250
Ph: 02 4340 5331 Fax: 024340 2151
Thank you so very much for the wonderful presentation at the AILDM seminar earlier today and for the work you put in beforehand to prepare for the event. You are an engaging and incredibly knowledgeable speaker and I know that our members would have gotten a lot from your talk. Here at AILDM we are constantly endeavoring to increase our members knowledge of all things related to landscape and landscape design (we are launching CPD on July), and we value the support of government, individuals and businesses, such as yours, who engage with us and support us in achieving this. So again I sincerely thank you
Dr.Chivers perseverance in understanding the biology and ecology of native grasses, and his enthusiasm for promoting their benefits and potential uses had workshop participants energised and excited about the prospects for their use. Ian discussed different species of cool (C3) and warm (C4) season growing grasses of our region, and some of the aspects of their collection, seed preparation and cultivation. This information provided important insights for participants into the potential uses of native grassses for example in controlling noxious weeds such as serated tussock, as stock forage and as ‘backbone’ species in site rehabillation. One participant stated ‘I got more out of the workshop than any other such seminar/field day which I’ve attended’. Workshop participants included local farmers and landholders, wildlife carers, regional botanists and ecologists, individuals from private enterprise and representatives from non-government and government organisations. It’s been a delight to experience the “buzz” created from these workshops, with the audience being left wanting more information.
Catchment Officer (Native Pastures),
Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority,
Braidwood Office, PO Box 9,
BRAIDWOOD NSW 2622
Phone: 02 4842 2594 Fax: 024842 2655
I have been collaborating with Dr Ian Chivers, Director of Native Seeds Inc for 10 years on the several research projects both here in Australia and overseas, which utilize native grasses as part of the reconstructed vegetation community. It has been a unique and enriching experience to have Ian and the very dedicated team from Native Seeds as industry partners. They have a wealth of knowledge and insight on the biology and agronomy of native grass species, a very underutilized resource for restoration of degraded landscapes.
Augustine Doronila PhD
Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Research Group, School of Chemistry
University of Melbourne Victoria 3010 AUSTRALIA
Phone: +613 83446813 Mobile: +614 27531226 Fax: +613 9347 5180
Thank you very much for the new manual that you have sent me, your
third edition. I think it is an excellent publication, with a very
high standard of both presentation and information. Your photos are
clear and helpful, including those showing both individual grasses
Author of The Australian Garden &
The Australian Garden: Designing with Australian Plants