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Best Lawns for Winter

In the Garden > Gardening Tips, Books, Techniques and Tools

Watch this segment on YouTube. Click here


Don visited turf farms at Clarendon and Windsor, on the outskirts of Sydney. Recently, this area has had severe frosts with temperatures as low as -6°C. He compared lawn varieties being grown at the farms for frost and cold tolerance.

Couch is a popular lawn variety for home gardens, but it was actually developed for use in large sunny areas, such as golf courses and football fields. Many home gardens have shaded lawn areas, but couch varieties are not shade tolerant. They also turn brown in winter. The couch variety shown in our segment ('Greenlees Park') was a straw yellow to light brown colour due to the cold, frosty conditions.
Best winter performers

Although the new varieties of soft-leaf buffalo are shade tolerant, some varieties, including 'ST-85', do not hold their colour in winter. Instead, they turn purple and then brown off. However, Don discovered that two of the new soft-leaf buffalos, 'Sir Walter' and 'Palmetto', are outstanding winter performers. 'Sir Walter' was developed by Brent Redman in the 1990s in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

'Palmetto' is a semi-dwarf with a plush appearance. It was developed on a turf farm in Florida, in the southern United States.

'Sir Walter'
  • Frost tolerant
  • Crisp green colour
  • Soft to touch
  • Drought tolerant
  • Herbicide tolerant
  • Fungus resistant
  • Holds its green colour in winter, and does not go purple
  • Performs well in sun and shade
  • More suitable for cooler regions of Australia than other buffalo varieties
  •  Frost tolerant
  • Deep green colour
  • Soft to touch
  • Drought tolerant
  • Herbicide tolerant (but not as good as 'Sir Walter')
  • Salt tolerant
  • Vigorous grower, recovering quickly from damage
  • Holds its colour well in cool months of the year
  • Performs well in sun and shade (requires 3-4 hours direct sun per day)
Further information

Our segment was filmed at:
Abulk Pty Ltd
Lot 3, Cuppits Lane
Clarendon NSW 2756
Phone: (02) 4577 5912
Fax: (02) 45775736

Grech's Turf Supplies
13 Cornwallis Road
Windsor NSW 2756
Phone: (02) 4577 3907 or 1800 806 304
Fax: (02) 4577 2089

'Palmetto' and 'Sir Walter' are available from turf suppliers. Palmetto turf retails for $6.50 per sq. m. and Sir Walter turf retails for $7 per sq. m.

'Palmetto' is also available in Viro-Cells. This cell grown grass has a well-developed root system, so it establishes quickly when planted out. Viro-Cells cost $23-$28 per pack (contains about 100 plants).

For a list of 'Sir Walter' licenced suppliers visit their website: (Australia Wide)

Chemspray's Bin-Die is a selective herbicide, which can be used on buffalo grass. It is available from nurseries and hardware stores for around $16/200ml.

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