Australian native cool season grasses

The grasses to the right have their main growing season during winter and are best sown in autumn or early winter.

Cool season grasses are at their most active under cooler conditions. These grasses have their peak of growth when temperatures are between 15°C and 25°C. Both below and above these temperatures, the rate of activity of the grass is reduced. This activity is derived from the nature of the biochemical process in which carbon dioxide (CO²) is taken into the plant through the leaves. The actual chemical involved is a molecule that contains three carbon atoms, hence the other name often given to them is C3 plants.

Cool season grasses usually grow in climates where temperatures are often cool and usually this implies discernable winters. They are often able to tolerate frosts and still retain some activity or growth, but under high temperatures they are likely to enter summer dormancy and will not continue to grow. They may remain green throughout the year, and indeed grasses such as Wallaby grass and Weeping grass are known as all-year-green grasses because of their colour retention over the summer period.

Germination of these grasses can occur throughout most of the year as long as moisture is available, but seedlings of these grasses are likely to be stressed, and may die if temperatures exceed 25°C unless there is a high moisture level around the seed for some weeks after sowing. Commonly this means that in southern Australia ideal sowing times are going to be when temperatures are below 25°C and when moisture is available. This often means sowing in late autumn, winter or early spring.

Seed dormancy is not usually a problem for these grasses, although it does occasionally occur. Native Seeds is helping to develop new ways of overcoming dormancy in a wide range of native grasses.