Using Australian Native Grasses As Lawn

Austrodanthonia geniculata (Wallaby Grass)

Austrodanthonia geniculata (Wallaby Grass)

One of the points of discussion at the Grasses ID Workshops was the use of Australian Native Grasses as lawn substitutes. This is something that has been written about occasionally over the years before growing grasses as garden plants became fashionable as it is now.

The suggestion was made that it would be worth trying Wallaby Grass (Austrodanthonia setacea) and Weeping Rice Grass (Microlaena stipoides) together in a lawn and that both would accept foot traffic. They would need to be watered probably every three weeks during late spring and summer to maintain a degree of greenness. I think it is worth the experiment to try this on a small scale to see if it is worth the effort of proceeding to a larger area. It means some propagation to get enough plants to have a quick cover of the area designated as ‘lawn’.

The photo shows a Wallaby Grass in the foreground. The cream heads are the seed heads of Austrodanthonia geniculata which is similar to the one I want to grow. The beauty of it is that I have it growing on our block and just need to find some fine leaved plants to use as propagating material.

The lawn would need to be mown when the plants flower to avoid seed set and the nuisance of picking seeds out of socks. This would be a matter of setting the mower at a high setting so that just the flower stalk is taken.


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