Frequently Asked Questions
No, you just need to be patient as they are naturally slower to germinate and establish than introduced species, however they will survive and thrive in conditions that would kill off most introduced grasses. Native grasses require less water, fertiliser and mowing than introduced grasses and are far more suited to Australian soils and climate.
Native Grasses do respond well to water, either natural rainfall or irrigation. Regular watering will speed up germination and establishment as well as encourage leaf growth and seed head development. They will, however, survive on very little water and in conditions where most introduced grasses would perish. A native grass lawn will also survive on very little water, however if you want your lawn to remain green all year round deep and regular watering (at least weekly) is the key to establishing a beautiful and long rooted lawn. Overwatering (waterlogging) can be damaging to native grasses so watch the weather and only water as required. Water in the morning to avoid evaporation and avoid watering at night, as the water may sit on the surface for too long and promote fungus growth.
Germination will usually take from 10-14 days in spring or summer but dont be alarmed if it takes 3-4 weeks in the warmer months. In cold, frosty conditions germination can be considerably longer, usually 3-4 weeks but sometimes it can be anywhere between 6-8 weeks. Seed will continue to be viable and germinate over a 6-12-month period. During the warmer months a newly sown lawn will take between 1.5 – 2 months to establish. In the colder months, newly sown lawn will take a bit longer, usually 3-4 months give the right conditions. These times will vary depending on the variety of native grass and environmental factors. If you would like your area to establish as quickly as possible, the more seeds you sow the quicker the result. This means if you were to go with the higher end of recommended sow rates you would see a much quicker turnaround from sowing to establishment. The lower end of any recommended sow rates will still provide full coverage for the area, you just have to have a bit more patience for full establishment.
No, native grasses have evolved over thousands of years to grow harmoniously in Australian soils and climate, generally they thrive in the low fertile soils that already exist. Using fertilizers such as phosphate or lawn starters can be harmful to the native grass seeds while encourage introduced species to flourish and out compete the native grasses. Natural fertilizers such as seasol or dynamic lifter are more beneficial to managing and maintaining native seeds once they are established. It has been shown that certain fertilisers that have mobile nutrients such as nitrogen as their main component are not recommended before the seeds have germinated as they do not provide support for native seed growth. Unless the grasses have established root systems these types of fertilisers will be washed away, and fertilizer run off is actually detrimental to the environment. Once established native grasses used in a lawn situation will respond to nitrogen fertiliser.
Yes, there are some beautiful low growing, emerald green native grasses that are perfect for lawns, the best of them is Griffin Weeping Grass. Griffin Weeping grass can be mown as regularly as introduced lawns. Of course, new lawns need time for their roots to become established before they can be mowed for the first time. For seeded lawns, it may take up to 2 months before they are ready to be mowed.
To see our recommended native grasses best suited to lawns click here!
Controlling weed seed numbers in the soil is the most important aspect of soil preparation as introduced species will intially out compete the slower germinating native grasses. Native grasses are expert at finding there own way into the soil so minimal soil disturbance is recommended as turning the soil over can stir up the weed seeds, bringing them to the surface where they can germinate. Weed seeds that are present will germinate and make themselves known quickly after rain or irrigation and this is your chance to control them prior to sowing your natives grass. Compacted soil may need to be aerated to allow air and nutrients to flow into the soil and distribute adequately. If your soil is compacted, it is beneficial to aerate and loosen the soil to ensure adequate “soil to seed’ contact. This can be achieved by using a rake or harrow to break up the surface soil before sowing. No-tillage has been shown to decrease soil erosion, increase soil organic matter and improve water retention. Simply , if you don’t need to rip up the soil, don’t.
Native grasses are a great choice to reduced fire hazard compared to the introduced species and they can reduce the risk of bushfires by reducing the radiant heat. Most importantly, native grasses research done in South Australia showed that grasses such as Rye grass and Cocksfoot contributed roughly 20 tonne per ha bushfire fuel load while native grasses such as the Spear grass and Wallaby grass contributed only 4 tonne per ha bushfire fuel load.
Yes, in fact they are far safer for horses than introduced species. Native grasses are very low in fructose and other nonstructural carbohydrate’s (NSC) which make them ideal for any horse or pony that is prone to metabolic disorders such as laminitis or big head. The generally recognised threshold used to avoid pasture induced laminitis require the pasture NSC’s to be kept below 10 g/100g. To give you an example of how safe native grasses are, two of the commonly used native grasses, Weeping grass and Wallaby grass, easily fall under this threshold having contents for Fructose of less than 0.2, Glucose of less than 0.2 and total sugars of less than 1.0 g/100g. In comparison, the content of NSC’s in exotic species such as Ryegrass can show an average of the simple sugars at 10.9g/100g. So you can have confidence that native grasses will not cause equine laminitis even when they are growing in favoured conditions.
Take a look at recommended grasses for horse pastures here!
Yes, but it is important to choose a non invasive species that will grow harmoniously with the native grasses. As an example, our Rapid Green lawn mix comprises of Griffin Weeping and Burra Weeping (Microlaena stipoides), both perennial Australian native grasses, and a commonly used introduced species Fine Fescue lawn grass. The Fescue germinates rapidly providing a green protective cover while the slower growing natives become established and over time the natives start to out compete the Fescue and become the dominate species.
On the whole yes, however each state has its own flora and fauna environments and some native seeds species are not allowed into every state within Australia.
For our WA Customers: Western Australia has very strict quarantine and no seeds can be sent without certification. Unfortunately, we can only send individual grass species to WA which means all of our mixes are not available to WA customers . The grasses we currently have certified to send over to Western Australia are Burra Weeping grass (used for pasture and revegetation), Griffin Weeping grass (used for lawns) and Kangaroo grass (used for revegetation and landscaping).
Redgrass (Bothriochloa macra) is banned in WA.
For our TAS Customers: If your order is under 1kg then sit back and relax, there is nothing additional you need to do. Anything over 1kg requires the importer (the customer) must submit a completed “Notice of Intention to Import Seed for Sowing” form to Biosecurity Tasmania at least 24 hours before your seed order arrives at Tasmania boarders.
Windmill grass (Chloris truncata) is banned in TAS