How to use Native Grasses in your garden
Naturally adapted to the Australian climate and soil conditions, Australian native grasses can provide a long term solution to your garden requirements. Native grasses have a wide array of tolerances, suitable to a host of different environments. With the right species selection, a native lawn can provide low maintenance, permanent cover all year round. Our native lawn species have been bred to be low growing. This, in combination with their slower growing habit, produces a very low requirement for mowing. If left unmown, these grasses will form a very attractive weeping meadow.
Australian native grasses are use two different metabolic pathways, either C3 or C4. C3 grasses are actively growing throughout winter, whereas C4 grasses and can grow with lower water requirements and are active in summer. Which type of grass is suitable for you, will depend upon the conditions of your location, but a mix of both categories can provide a highly resilient lawn.
Choosing to sow a lawn with more than one species of grass can reduce the susceptibility of the lawn to adverse conditions by increasing the range of tolerances. For example, sowing a mix of both winter and summer active grasses will provide a green cover all year round, even if frost or drought occurs. Each of Weeping, Wallaby and Red grass can produce excellent lawns when grown alone also. Weeping and Wallaby are C3 types while Red grass is a C4. Locality, climate, soil and existing site conditions are important to consider when selecting the best species.
Lower growing native grasses have become popular for establishing ground cover in low maintenance areas. These species will remain at a short height if unmown, and therefore do not require mowing to manage ﬁre or snake risks. Meadows are usually established in areas beyond the immediate vicinity of the house, but where recreation or aesthetics are still important. Because meadows can remain unmown, the grasses can produce seed heeds which will attract and provide habitat for native wildlife.
Other native grasses that are used for lawns , that are not mentioned here, are Windmill grass and kangaroo grass. Although these species are less popular for lawns, they are useful in areas where conditions are extreme or challenging. A lot of native grasses make great feature plants in gardening and landscaping applications. Spear, Poa, Kangaroo, Wallaby, Barbed wire and other grasses can be grown to attractive specimen plants.
Quick Sowing Steps
1. Remove as much of the current vegetation and weeds as possible. Remember to consider the weed seeds that remain in the soil.
2. Loosen the top soil with a rake or harrows.
3. Sow the seed evenly over the area.
4. Incorporate the seed no more than 1cm deep into the soil. This can be done by simply raking the surface.
5. Keep the area moist but not waterlogged for 3 weeks.