In 1985, Lilydale Instant Lawn started growing cool-season grasses – Bluegrass/Ryegrass blends and then Tall Fescue. As they entered the new century, drought was settling across Victoria and this affected their original farm at Yarra Glen quite dramatically, as it relied on catching water in a dam and some pumping from a creek, which was not delivering enough water. Managing Director Garry recognized that he had to find a grass that would grow with much less water because he could not sustain the production of cool-season grasses with the available water. His search led him to a new grass that had been discovered growing on sand dunes near Newcastle: enter Sir Walter to the Victorian market.
Sir Walter Buffalo DNA Certified is a Buffalo grass (Stenotaphrum Scundatum), which created many challenges in the early years because Victorians had not so fond memories of “granddads” itchy scratchy Buffalo grass. Being a new-generation soft leaf Buffalo, with excellent drought and shade tolerance, Sir Walter was quickly embraced because it solved Victorians need for a low water use grass as the drought bit hard. Bring us to today and it is now a household name. Sir Walter Buffalo DNA Certified is still a very unique grass in that it is equally successful in every corner of Australia, from dry inland areas to the tropics and Southern Coastal cities.
As much as Sir Walter Buffalo DNA Certified and Eureka Premium VG Kikuyu have been fantastic grasses that have survived their long drought times, there has been something missing in the available grass options for people putting in a new lawn. To understand the future of lawn grasses we need to look at the past!
The heading of this article asks us to go back to before the drought and Sir Walter, and the time when 90 percent of available turf in our market consisted of Bluegrass/ Ryegrass blends. These grasses typically used in ‘English gardens’ largely came from the Northern American states where water wasn’t a problem (snow was). They were very susceptible to drought, diseases and pests, which destroyed many lawns. However, they were very fine, pretty grasses that were green all year round. There are many people who still to this day love to have this look in their lawns as opposed to the coarser nature of Sir Walter and Eureka Premium VG Kikuyu.
Lilydale Instant Lawn was the first to bring a premium soft leaf buffalo grass to the Victorian market and now, over 20 years later, they are excited to announce not one, but two new grasses have also been launched. Sir Grange and TifTuf have been developed by the world’s best turf grass breeders and they believe they now have the perfect solution for every Aussie lawn.
With the challenges of shade from buildings on increasingly smaller residential blocks, Lilydale Instant Lawn has been looking for a grass that is more shade tolerant than Sir Walter, with a fine leaf, yet drought tolerant and low maintenance and they have found it! Sir Grange is a fine leafed grass that requires less sunlight than most warm-season grasses. This drought-tolerant lawn is the perfect variety for those shady courtyards or formal gardens. With a slow growth rate and less requirement for nitrogen, Sir Grange is a low maintenance lawn needing seasonal fertilizing and reduced mowing frequency. Available exclusively from Lawn Solutions Australia members, you can be sure Sir Grange has been tried and tested to stand up to whatever the Aussie climate can throw at it.
Where shade is less of an issue, and wear and tear and winter colour is a challenge, they recommend TifTuf. TifTuf is a newly released variety of Bermuda grass to the world market, developed through 25 years at one of the world’s leading turf grass breeders – the University of Georgia Tifton Campus. TifTuf has a very fi ne leaf blade with dense growth, making it ideal for a wide variety of applications. Its density enables it to handle high wear situations like backyards and sports fields, whilst its fi ne blade is very soft to walk on.
In addition to a fine leaf and excellent winter colour retention, TifTuf has superior drought tolerance requiring on average 38 percent less water* than any other Bermuda variety saving you money year after year.
Lilydale Instant Lawn is excited about the next stage of lawn options for Victoria allowing them to fi nd the perfect fi t for your location, ensuring you have a world-class lawn, whether it be a classic like Sir Walter or the new kids on the block, Sir Grange and TifTuf, they will help you make the right choice. *Based on US data, Australian Data available Summer 2019.