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Monday, 25 February 2008

How To Choose The Best Lawn Grass 2

There are a lot of choices when it comes to using plants/grasses as a lawn. Before you choose a type of grass, consider some questions and alternatives in Part 1 of this post.

Below I have included photos of each plant, as well as some of its characteristics:

Axonopus compressus - Kearsney
Copes with: Shade - Low Traffic - Med/High Water
Good Soil - Medium Length - High Maintenance
Best Property : Grows in Shade

Stenotaphrum secundatum - Buffalo
Copes with: Sun/Semi Shade - High Traffic - Medium Water
Average Soil - Medium Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Grows in Sun/Shade, Hardy

Cynodon dactylon - Bermuda
Copes with: Sun - High Traffic - Low Water
Poor Soil - Short Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Grows in Full Sun, Hardy

Cynodon transvaalensis - Royal Blue
Copes with: Sun - High Traffic - Low Water
Poor Soil - Short Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Can be cut as short as 3mm, Full Sun, Hardy

Dactyloctenium australe - Berea Shade
Copes with: Shade/Sun - Medium Traffic - Medium Water
Good Soil - Long Length - Med Maintenance
Best Property : Grows in Shade, Soft

Paspalum vaginatum - Country Club
Copes with: Sun - High Traffic - Low Water
Poor Soil - Short Length - Med Maintenance
Best Property : Hardy

Pennisetum clandestinum - Kikuyu
Copes with: Sun - High Traffic - Medium Water
Poor Soil - Med Length - High Maintenance
Best Property : Tough, Fast growing

Dichondra repens - Wonderlawn
Copes with: Semi/Shade - Med Traffic - Med Water
Good Soil - Med Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Grows in Shade

Lysimachia nummularia - Creeping Jenny
Copes with: Sun - Low Traffic - Med Water
Good Soil - High Length - Med Maintenance
Best Property : Attractive golden colour

Mazus reptans - Mazus
Copes with: Semi-Shade - Med Traffic - Med Water
Good Soil - Med Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Pretty blue and white flowers

Mentha pulegium - Penny Royal
Copes with: Sun/Semi-Shade - Low Traffic - Med Water
Good Soil - Short Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Very Fragrant

Phyla nodiflora - Daisy Lawn
Copes with: Sun/Semi-Shade - High Traffic - Low/Med Water
Poor Soil - Short Length - Low Maintenance
Best Property : Extremely Hardy, stays short with traffic

The next step to look at, is how best to prepare your soil for planting.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment...


fred said...

Hi Ross
I fully agree with daisy lawn and buffalo.I am down in Gordons bay. I tried Kikuyu at first but because of the strong wind we have down here in summer, the soil dries too quickly.
I have another suggestion for people with water problems on roofs: Dymondia margaretae
My first building was a straw bale with kikuyu roof combination and I love the feeling you get inside.

stoneware70 said...

Thanks Fred, Dymondia is an amazing little groundcover, it is one of the flattest around, which makes it perfect as a lawn substitute (in a sunny area).
I'd love to see some photos of your building?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ross,
What's up with the lawn under my Stinkwood tree. I think something other than shade is diminishng the lawn.

What can I do to fix it? It has retracted now further than the shade...

With all the rain we have had in Pretoria this year, it is not a lack of water!
Please advise!

Leanne said...

Hi Ross,

I have a very problem area backyard that will just not grow any grass, Im just looking to put anything there at this stage, anything that will grow.
There is very limited sunlight and the drainage is quite bad. To the extent that I replaced most of the soil(backbreaking work) and added compost as well as agricultural lime.I also have kids, so very high traffic area as well.

what would u suggest I plant, I was thinking daisy lawn or wonderlawn???

Let me know what you think, in need of advise.


stoneware70 said...

The best thing to do is eliminate the various potential problems: lack/excess of water, sunlight, or nutrients, excessive compaction, insects.
If you've been having a lot of rain, check that there is no mildew in the problem area - this would signal poor drainage or compaction. To check nutrient levels, do a soil test and adjust your soil accordingly. Honestly though, I think shade is the most likely culprit. Don't forget that if your grass is sun loving like Cynodon, even a little shade will cause it to die back.

Leanne,'ve got/had your work cut out for you! Wonderlawn is probably your best bet, although it will only take a certain amount of traffic. If possible, try to get some more sunlight to the area by pruning up any overhanging trees.
You should maybe consider losing the battle to win the war - use gravel, bark chips or artificial grass if you need the area for children to play.
Otherwise, look at changing the use of the area completely - involving your kids, and planting a wild garden for your kids to explore. Or even a herb/kitchen garden for your kids to help plant although that might be asking for miracles from your kids?:-)

If you need any more advice, or maybe need to send some photos, feel free to email me...

Chippie-girl said...

I have a patch of daisy lawn that has no traffic and is rather long. Should I mow it?

Chippie-girl said...

Hi Ross
I have a patch of daisy lawn that has virtually no traffic. It is rather long and raggedy. Can I mow it?

stoneware70 said...

Hi Chippie-girl, sorry about the delay in replying, and I'm sure you've already found out the answer - you can cut Daisy Lawn without any problems, and in fact it looks better if you do...

Anonymous said...

Hi Ross
We live in Kamberg close to the Drakensberg, ±40 km's west of Mooi River close to Giants Castle , in KZN. Our winters are cold ( -8 d/c ) last winter. We have a well established kikuyu lawn , except for the shade areas , and was wondering if you could recommend a shade lawn grass that will be able to withstand the cold and come back in spring like the kikuyu.

Petro 0tto said...

Hi. I want to make a path with wooden blocks on a steep patch to the beach in Natal. I thought of using lily grass or something to anchor the blocks. Do you have another suggestion? We will use sement retaining blocks as steps with halve poles inbetween.
Thank you
Petro 0tto

stoneware70 said...

Hi Anonymous, I think you may have to look at some cool-season grasses like Lolium multiflorum (Italian Rye Grass), Festuca arundinacea (Tall Fescue) or Agrostis palustris (Creeping Bent). Unfortunately, they are all bunch type grasses - which means that they won't spread by runner. You will have to seed them by hand. Try a company called Premierseeds for the seed. (

stoneware70 said...

Hi Petro, I'm assuming that by Lily Grass you mean Anthericum saundersiae. Yes, I think it will hold well, but may need a bit more attention in terms of watering and feeding than you'd want.
I would rather suggest some of the plants that would be found naturally on dunes like Asystasia gangetica, or Carpobrotus edulis - both of which need almost no looking after once established.

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