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Couch vs Kikuyu Grass: Choosing the Right Turf for Your Needs

Aug 1, 2023

Having a lush and vibrant lawn is every homeowner’s dream. The key to achieving it lies in selecting the right grass variety that aligns with your taste and requirements. Couch and kikuyu are two grass varieties popular in Australia and well-suited to the local climate. 

In this article, we explore the strengths of these two types of grass type so you can make an informed decision based on your lawn-care needs.

Drought Resistance: Flourishing Through Dry Spells

A resilient grass that can withstand long dry spells and water restrictions is highly desirable for homeowners. TifTuf bermuda is one such variety that stands out for its high drought resistance, making it an excellent choice for arid regions or areas with limited water availability. This variety has been extensively researched and trialled for over two decades to ensure long-lasting performance in high-sunlight areas. Don’t be fooled by the ‘bermuda’ moniker, this is what the Americans call couch grass.

The Eureka Kikuyu variety, on the other hand, exhibits medium-level of drought resistance. Although not quite as tough as couch grass and it’s much thirstier than TifTuf, Eureka Kikuyu remains a robust performer. It can endure moderate dry spells and still retain its vigour, making it suitable for most uses in the Sydney Basin and Wollongong area where there’s enough sun and available water. Through drought periods, it will need watering to thrive.

Shade Tolerance: Thriving in Sun and Shade 

Shaded areas in a yard can be challenging for some grass types. Both couch and Kikuyu grass display a shade tolerance of up to 25%, but their performance varies in partial shade conditions.

TifTuf thrives with as little as 4 – 5 hours of direct exposure to the sun daily. It’s an good choice for yards with at least partial sun during the day, where its fine leaf appearance contributes to a manicured lawn look. If your lawn has significant shaded areas, however, you may want to consider other shade-tolerant varieties like Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo Grass.

While not as shade-tolerant as other grasses, Eureka Kikuyu still manages reasonably well under partial shade, though it needs 5-6 hours of sun a day to thrive. This makes it suitable for yards with mixed sun and shade conditions. However, it can’t compete with Sir Walter or Sir Grange for shade tolerance.

Wear Tolerance: Standing Strong Against High Foot Traffic 

Lawns subjected to high foot traffic, whether from playful kids or energetic pets, demand a grass variety with excellent wear tolerance.

Couch grasses like TifTuf stand out in this regard with its very high wear tolerance. It’s a favourite choice for residential lawns and sports landscaping projects like football and cricket grounds. The grass’s ability to recover rapidly from wear and stress ensures a consistently beautiful lawn, even in high-traffic areas.

Eureka Kikuyu, similarly, exhibits high wear tolerance but this is achieved mainly through it’s rapid recovery capability, as damaged areas regrow fast during the warmer months. With regular mowing, Eureka Kikuyu forms a dense and tightly woven growth mat, and can maintain its colour reasonably well into the cooler months.

Maintenance Required: Nurturing Your Lush Green Canvas 

An important factor to consider when choosing lawn grass is the level of maintenance it demands.

TifTuf bermuda, while a good all-round choice, requires about as much maintenance as most other grass types. Mowing is recommended at least every seven days during the summer months. On the flip side, couch has low dormancy during winter, leading to early growth recovery and good stress resistance. TifTuf can handle a frost and will maintain its deep green colour well through winter. The healthiest look will be achieved if it is fertilised at least twice a year.

Eureka Kikuyu Grass also demands regular mowing – at least once per week – because it grows fast throughout spring and summer. With enough water, it maintains its bright green colour year-round in warm climates while remaining visually appealing until early winter in colder climes. It should be fertilised three times a year for the best results, especially in the lead up to winter. The vigorous nature of Kikuyu means that it can be invasive, so you need to keep on top of runners that may encroach into garden beds in the growing season if left untended.

Appearance: Enhancing Your Lawn’s Aesthetic Appeal 

The shape and overall appearance of grass blades significantly contribute to the aesthetic appeal of a lawn.

Couch grass is recognised for its fine leaf blades, which contribute to a manicured and sophisticated look, especially when mowed low with a cylinder mower. The slender, delicate nature of its blades gives the lawn a velvety and captivating appearance.

Additionally, the dark green colour of the couch gives it an idyllic touch. The rich hues create a striking contrast against other elements in your landscape, from colourful flowers to paved pathways.

Eureka Kikuyu, on the other hand, has a distinctive appearance with its medium-sized leaves and yellow-green colour. This dynamic combination imparts a fresh and vibrant look to the lawn, invigorating your outdoor space with natural energy.

The coarser texture of Eureka Kikuyu’s leaves offers a distinct charm, giving a sense of vitality to your lawn, though it cannot be mown as low as couch. 

Cost: Budget-Friendly Turf Solutions

Cost is a crucial fator for homeowners when embarking on a lawn installation or renovation project. Making an informed decision requires a clear understanding of the expenses involved in acquiring and maintaining the chosen grass variety.

The estimated cost of TifTuf is approximately $13 – $15 per square metre, making it a good option for many homeowners. The actual cost may vary based on regional factors, including supply and demand, sod transportation costs, and installation complexity. Additional services, such as professional installation or specialised equipment, may also contribute to the overall cost.

Eureka Kikuyu Grass is cheaper, ranging from $10 – $12 per square metre and is popular among those on a tighter budget. Once again, the final cost may vary based on factors like seasonal availability. Homeowners can weigh the cost against the grass’s performance in specific conditions, including wear tolerance, maintenance needs, and suitability for low-maintenance settings.

Is TifTuf better than kikuyu?

Choosing between Tiftuf and kikuyu grass depends on your needs and budget. Tiftuf has higher drought resistance, very high wear tolerance, and a finer leaf appearance. Kikuyu is a more economical grass variety with pretty good wear tolerance, but only medium drought resistance and it needs more sun. They both require about the same amount of mowing in summer, though you may need to fertilise kikuyu slightly more frequently. Whether you prefer the bright green leaf colour of kikuyu as compared to the deep green of Tiftuf is a matter of personal preference.

Understanding the unique characteristics of couch and kikuyu grass and aligning them with your specific lawn requirements will help you make the best choice for your lawn.

Remember to explore and compare all available options through our website. Both TifTuf and Eureka Kikuyu grass come with a 10-year product warranty, from Lawn Solutions Australia, so you can be sure of nothing but the best for your lawn.