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The Lawn Guide
Lawn Care Warm Season Lawns
A warm season Couch lawn

What Are Warm Season Grasses

Grasses are first divided into 2 separate categories, Warm Season Grasses, and Cool Season Grasses. As their names suggest, they are both best suited to differing climatic regions, and require different types of lawn care.


Characteristics Of Lawn Types

Warm Season Grasses can in theory generate from both seed and runners. However if you own a hybrid lawn type, then these seeds will of course be sterile, and so the hybrid lawn types must be regenerated from its runners only.

The main characteristic of the Warm Season Grasses is their plant structure, which is made up of runners that creep and grow laterally along the ground. This structure allows the lawn to spread and self-repair over damaged areas.

The runners can be divided into 2 categories. Above ground runners are called Stolons, and below ground runners are call Rhizomes. Not all Warm Season Grasses have both Stolons and Rhizomes. For example, Couch and Kikuyu grasses will have both Stolons and Rhizomes, and a lawn variety such as Buffalo grass have only Stolons.


Tillering In Lawns

lawn care tillering
Tillering - more green leaf and less runners

Warm Season Grasses will also thicken and green up by the tillering effect. It is a desirable process to encourage greener leaf growth that results in a greener and more lush lawn. This process also lessens the lawn runners from spreading out as quickly as they normally would.

Tillering can be encouraged by regular lawn mowing as part of our lawn care practices, where the regular removal of a small amount of leaf material prompts the lawn to use its energy to grow new green shoots, which takes priority over the lawn establishing new runners.


Repair and Spreading Of Warm Season Lawns

lawn care lawn stolon
Above-ground stolon of Buffalo grass

By their very nature, Warm Season Grasses will spread into surrounding areas with their runners, this can be a great advantage when allowing the lawn to repair itself from damage, or to grow into new areas where we want lawn to spread.

Alternatively, this can also be a cause of concern, when our lawn begins to invade our garden beds.


Which Lawn Is The Most Aggressive

Varying lawn varieties have different levels of vigorousness. The two more invasive lawn types are Couch and Kikuyu lawns, where they will spread and grow, sometimes with speed. With their underground runners (Rhizomes), the lawn can also burrow under garden bed edging, under up and through paving, and the like. And their above ground runners (Stolons) are capable of crawling over paving and other obstacles to find a new home.


The Less Vigorous Lawns

Varieties such as Queensland Blue, Zoysia and Buffalo are less aggressive lawn types, and they grow a little slower.


Lawn Mowing Heights

All Warm Season Grasses can be mowed at lower heights than their Cool Season cousins. When well cared for and mowed with a Cylinder mower, heights of around 12 mm are common in varieties such as Queensland Blue, Couch, and Zoysia. Varieties such as Kikuyu and Soft Leaf Buffaloes will require higher lawn mowing heights at a minimum of 20 - 25 mm.


Varieties

  • Couch
  • Buffalo
  • Queensland Blue
  • Zoysia
  • Kikuyu
  • Durban Grass


Also Known As

  • Warm Climate Grasses
  • C4 Grasses
  • Runner Type Grasses





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A waxy coating on the grains of soil is responsible for the water repelling effect that is often seen in soils, resulting in poor lawn or plant health. In a similar manner to detergents, Wetting Agents will break down this waxy coating, allowing for easier water absorption and retention. Wetting Agents should be included as a normal part of the maintenance routine of every lawn and applied at least twice a year.
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