12 August 2011

Dogs and grass in Canberra?

| koalathebear
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Part of our back yard when we bought the house had grass, part of it was just dirt. With the dogs running around on it, the grass is thinning out. I would really like to have more grass in the yard. OH thinks there’s no point because with two Kelpies running on it, it will just be worn out again.

Has anyone had success growing grass in the backyard with active dogs? Any tips or should we resign ourselves to a life of mud and dirt?

Can anyone give recommendations for grass varieties we could try and places in Canberra that you recommend? Someone has mentioned something called Sports Tiff to me – any other ideas? Thanks in advance!

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You could always go for that uniquely Canberra option and astroturf your yard.

Most my friends with dogs have no grass. Maybe try that plastic suff though scooping up the other consequence might be an experience

Yeah, I would be cautious about Kikuyu, unless you live in a very arid place. Even Couch and Buffalo can get pretty invasive if given enough water. But if you have arid, stoney, grass-averse ground, running grass is the go.

EvanJames said :

Those running grasses do seem to be a good solution for toughness, water-use and tolerance for our challenging climate.

If you can get them going, they’re damn tough, and can survive weeks of bone dry soil. But you do have to be careful about where they grow. Under good conditions (ie hot and wet) my kikuyu sends out runners that seem to grow centimetres per day, and can easily cross concrete boundaries.

It’s really hard to find buffalo these days! Couch and Kikuyu abound, but from what I’ve read, buffalo is a better go. Kikuyu I’d be cautious about. I’m trying some Bermuda Couch, it comes in that Brunnings tough grass mix they sell in Cheap Shops, and am quite pleased with it but in a moist environment it might become invasive. And all of these brown off in winter, the idea beign that you oversow with Rye.

Those running grasses do seem to be a good solution for toughness, water-use and tolerance for our challenging climate.

ACTEW ran a trial on various grass varieties not long ago. The trial took place at a local primary school and therefore took into consideration impact by large numbers of little feet running all over it. Admittedly the little feet may not have the same impact as the Kelpie paws but it’s probably a good starting point…

It was mentioned here on RA: http://the-riotact.com/couch-and-soft-buffalo-judged-the-best-canberra-grasses/29789

Results available on ACTEW’s site: http://www.actew.com.au/Education/Grass%20Roots%20-%20the%20turf%20and%20irrigation%20research%20project.aspx

Get some kikuyu and plant it in pots, then plant the small plants into your yard. It’s very hardy, drought resistant, and because it propagates by runners it doesn’t go patchy over time. You will need to keep it out of garden beds, however (although a spot of round-up kills it very effectively if it does get in), and also bear in mind that it goes yellow/brown in winter (as it is dormant then).

Spring and early summer will see the grass naturally thicken up. I would give it a bit of a once (or twice) over with that liquid fertiliser and seeds when spring is here and hope for the best. Although I can’t be confident with this approach as that bread of dog seem quite energetic.

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