By Todd Layt
It’s hard to believe that the girl shown here kicking her soccer ball in the backyard is playing on a locally developed Australian turf grass. This lush, green lawn is Nara™ native turf, a form of Zoysia macrantha. It was bred in Australia to cope with local conditions.
As well as coping with the hot dry summers, Nara™ Zoysia is a lawn grass for garden owners who don’t have time to lavish on lawn care. Given a minimum amount of fertiliser, Nara™ native turf survives and remains green without needing constant mowing. With a more frequent fertiliser regime and regular water, it becomes greener and lusher.
Nara™ turf has resistance to most lawn diseases and its strong, dense growth helps keep it weed free. If it does develop a problem, products used to treat pests, diseases and weeds in Couch can be used safely on Nara™ Zoysia.
Nara™ native turf is one of a couple of Zoysia turf grasses finding favour in Australia. Another variety is Empire™ turf, a form of the closely related Zoysia japonica.
According to Todd Layt from Ozbreed who bred Nara™ native turf, it responds well to different levels of care. “Nara™ really is versatile,” says Todd. “It grows in most areas in half shade or full sun, with drought or wet conditions and can be mowed short or long. Indeed we find it requires less frequent mowing than most of the traditional lawn varieties, particularly through summer,” he adds.
The key to managing the variety lies in how much fertiliser is applied and how frequently. For a lush green lawn apply high rates of a slow release lawn food every 10 to 12 weeks. For a lower maintenance lawn, or when water is at a premium, slow growth by applying fertiliser at a lower rate and only in spring, autumn and winter.
The autumn and winter feeds help keep Nara™ Zoysia greener through winter. Todd recommends applying lawn food in early April and again in early June. He also says the occasional watering in a dry winter helps maintain good coloration.
Todd says it was the finer leaf blade of Zoysia macrantha that led him to consider whether it was possible to breed a fine but tough lawn variety.
“I already liked the lawns that were being grown using Zoysia japonica,” says Todd, “but most people had dismissed Zoysia macrantha as not being worth bothering with as it is too slow.”
After 10 years of hard work and trials, Todd says he’s pleased with the appearance and the faster better performance of this new breed of turf. Todd also reports that Nara™ native turf has been released in the United States where it is performing well.