Turf Species Difference

Following is a list of commercial warm- and cool-season turfgrass species. A species contains many different varieties or turf types. It is very important to choose a suitable turfgrass species, then the turf variety. Unfortunately, not one species of grass is suitable to all evnironments or needs.

Below each turf species thumbnail description is a green button called 'Display Varieties'. Click on each to see what turf varieties are available for that particualr turf species. Detailed photographs are also provied to help people who want to know what turf type they already have. 


Warm-season Turfgrasses

American buffalograss

Buchloe dactyloides

Buchloe (formerly Bouteloua) dactyloides is a perennial warm-season turfgrass species. In the United States, the grass species is called 'American buffalograss' and in Australia and online, retailers who sell the seed commonly call it 'buffalograss seed'. Don't be mistaken. Look or ask for the scientific name. You may be wanting a Stenotaphrum secundatum (American common name St Augustine) buffalograss variety instead. Buchloe dactyloides is a fine-textured turfgrass similar in appearance to a sparse green couch turfgrass variety and is predominantly blue-green in colour. The variety which is slow to establish from seed, spreads by stolons and has poor wear tolerance. 

Mowing height 15 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties


Paspalum notatum

A hard-wearing, coarse-textured grass with soft leaves. This species of turfgrass is commonly found along roadsides and within older parks. The species has excellent rhizomes which provide great wear tolerance and is near impossible to divot the turfgrass once firmly established. However, this benefit is soon lost as the species requires frequent mowing during summer to remove numerous seed heads and keep the vertical growth under control. Bahia grass shows poor shade tolerance.

Mowing height is 15 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Blue couch

Digitaria didactyla

Blue couch is also a popular choice with Queensland homeowners. It is well adapted to acid sandy soils, and will tolerate low fertility but at the same time respond to added fertiliser. Like green couch, it is a medium textured turf best suited to being mown short, but is more forgiving of the irregular mowing habits followed by many homeowners. Blue couch does not produce underground rhizomes, and so is less invasive of garden beds than green couch. It has good drought tolerance and reasonable wear tolerance, but is not shade tolerant.

Mowing height is 6 mm to 30 mm.

Display varieties

Broadleaf carpet grass

Axonopus compressus

Broadleaf carpet grass is a very coarse textured (broad leaved) species that can take over moist, shaded parts of the yard, forming a dense dark-green sward. For this reason, it is often regarded as a weed in southern Queensland, but most north Queenslanders regard it as a valuable turfgrass. Even after a couple of weeks of rain and excessive growth, broadleaf carpet grass can be mown easily and without scalping damage. It is also well adapted to acid soils.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Brunswick grass

Paspalum nicorae

A perennial warm-season grass that is largely used as fodder to livestock. However, there are improved turfgrass cultivars that are used in hgih rainfall QLD environments. 

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties


Stenotaphrum secundatum

Buffalo grass is one of the main grasses sold into shaded areas and residential lawns in general. It is coarse textured and needs to be mown higher than the couches for best results. It has reasonable drought and wear tolerance, but shows poor tolerance of some herbicides typically used for broadleaf weed control. Buffalo grass requires less fertiliser than green couch to maintain a lawn in good condition.

Mowing height is 20 mm to 65 mm.

Display varieties


Eremochloa ophiuroides

Centipede grass is a bright green, coarse textured grass that forms a dense stolon mat and requires less frequent mowing that the other grasses discussed. It is a ‘low maintenance’ grass that tolerates acid soils (4.5 to 8.5 pH), low fertility and drought, but not shade. It has excellent cold tolerance (<-10 degrees C), yet also goes dormant during winter in temerate environments, at which time it virtually ceases growing and can turn brown.

Mowing height is 25 mm to 40 mm.

Display varieties

Coastal Mix

Axonopus compressus and Digitaria didactyla mix

A mix of broadleaf carpet grass (Axonopus compressus) and blue couch (Digitaria didactyla) grasses.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Dwarf hybrid green couch

Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis

Dwarf hybrid green couch refers to greens quality grasses used on golf and bowling greens. Dwarf varieties include Tifgreen and Tifdwarf, whereas ultradwarf varieties (which have also been grouped into the dwarf category) include varieties like Novotek, TifEagle, Champion Dwarf, FloraDwarf and MiniVerde.

Mowing height is 3 mm to 10 mm.

Display varieties

Green couch

Cynodon dactylon

Green couch is the most popular choice for homeowners. It forms an attractive, medium to fine textured, dense turf that can be mown short, but requires regular mowing and some fertiliser application to keep it looking good. Green couch has good drought and wear tolerance, but except for a couple of varieties does not tolerate shade. Its below ground rhizomes help to stabilise the soil, but will invade adjacent garden beds if not controlled.

Mowing height is 15 mm to 25 mm.

Display varieties

Hybrid green couch

Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis

Also known as 'hybrid bermudagrass' in the USA. Hybrid green couch is a often referred to as a finer textured green couch grass.

Mowing height is 12 mm to 30 mm.

Display varieties

Indian bluegrass

Bothriochloa pertusa

Indian bluegrass, also known as Indian couch, grass grows best in a warm climate and has become naturalised in central and drier areas of northern Queensland. It is a very drought hardy plant growing where an annual rainfall range of 500 mm to 900 mm per year is seen. It is suited to well-drained loam and clay soils, yet will also grow better than most other grasses on difficult to manage, forest soils.

Mowing height is 20 mm to 30 mm.

Display varieties


Pennisetum clandestinum

Kikuyu grass is a vigorous medium to coarse textured grass for the subtropics, particularly in highland areas or along the coast which have a moderating influence on summer temperatures. For best results, it requires good soil fertility and moisture, but at the same time shows good drought tolerance because of its deep rooting rhizomatous habit. Kikuyu tolerates moderate wear and usually recovers rapidly because of fast stolon growth. Its shade tolerance, however, is poor.

Mowing height is 10 mm to 40 mm.

Display varieties

Lax panicgrass

Panicum laxum

There is a lawn variety of Panicum laxum which thrives under low-light conditions in the sub-tropics. It is difficult to produce commercially viable seed of the variety and thus is often in very short to no supply. The variety can produce a dense cover of dark green foliage, which requires litte mowing. It mixes well with Broadleaf carpet grass.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Marine couch

Sporobolus virginicus

Sporobolus virginicus, commonly known as marine couch, is a highly salt tolerant grass species found growing naturally around the Australian coastline. There are many forms or genotypes of Sporobolus virginicus, however there are no commercial turfgrass varieties of Sporobolus virginicus being sold within Australia. 'QLD-Coast' was one variety previously protected in Australia. With increasing water restrictions and the ability to irrigate with brackish or salty water, Sporobolus virginicus varieties may soon be in the spot light as the next desirable Australian native turfgrass.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Narrowleaf carpet grass

Axonopus fissifolius

Narrowleaf carpet grass is considered a coarse-textured species. It is more drought tolerant and better suited to drier shallower soils than broadleaf carpet grass, and is typically the dominant species in low soil fertility turfed areas. It can also be found growing quiet happily growing within moist, well-watered soil, but not water-logged conditions. Narrowleaf carpet grass as a managed turfgrass, forms a moderately dense sward of medium quality turf with a generally shallow root system.

Mowing height is 20 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties


Distichlis spicata

A warm-season perennial grass suited for high saline areas.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 40 mm.

Display varieties

Seashore paspalum

Paspalum vaginatum

Seashore paspalum is a turfgrass suitable for salt affected sites where other turfgrasses struggle badly or die, and will grow across a wide range of soil pH from very acid to alkaline. Like the couches, it is a medium textured turf best suited to short mowing heights. Seashore paspalum has moderate shade and wear tolerance. It survives at low fertility, but responds well to added fertiliser which also helps to supress incidence of disease.

Mowing height is 10 mm to 40 mm.

Display varieties

Spiny mudgrass

Pseudoraphis spinescens

Spiny mudgrass is a perennial warm-season aquatic grass largely seen in grassy wetlands and floodplains. The grass requires prolonged cycles of deep flooding following by drying to achieve adequate turf growth and density.

Mowing height is 40 mm to 100 mm.

Display varieties

Sweet smothergrass

Dactyloctenium australe

Sweet smothergrass is a coarse textured grass that grows well in shaded areas. It has long stolon internodes and must be mown high to avoid thinning out the turf sward. It has excellent shade tolerance, but should not be planted in areas subject to moderate or heavy wear.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Tropical Turf Mix

Axonopus compressus and Cynodon dactylon mix

A mix of Axonopus compressus and Cynodon dactylon turfgrasses. The grass is largely sold in a tropical environment. It is used in home lawns, parks and gardens.

Mowing height is 30 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties


Zoysia matrella, japonica, macrantha, tenuifolia and hybrids

Zoysia grass is a slow growing, dense, stiff turf. It is less drought tolerant but more shade tolerant than green or blue couch. Zoysia forms a medium to coarse-textured turf and is notable for its extremely high wear resistance, though very slow to recover if damaged. Different Zoysia species produces different seed head and inflorescence as seen within the images provided. Seed head are normal and can be removed by mowing. Like green couch, it produces underground rhizomes that can invade adjacent garden beds if not controlled. Vegetatively propagated cultivars maintain good colour during winter, unlike the seeded types which are highly winter dormant and turn brown even where there is no frost.

Mowing height is 10 mm to 30 mm.

Display varieties

Cool-season Turfgrasses

Bluegrass hybrid

Poa arachnifera x Poa pratensis

Bluegrass hybrid is a cross that can perform in the heat and cold. In America it is available in sod (turf) and seed. The grass performs well in sun and part shade.

Mowing height is 50 mm to 75 mm.

Display varieties

Browntop bentgrass

Agrostis capillaris

A fine-textured turfgrass that produces a dense sward under management. Brown-top has a creeping habit and can spread by underground rhizomes. Brown-top is usually mid- to grey-green in colour and is suited for golf courses and residential areas. The species has a high water and fertilizer requirement.

Mowing height is 2 mm to 30 mm.

Display varieties

Creeping bentgrass

Agrostis stolonifera

A fine-textured turfgrass that forms a dense turfgrass under close frequent mowing (golf and bowls greens). The species can also be used in circumstances where up to 30 mm height of cut is desirable. Creeping bentgrass prefers friable soils and has a high maintenance and watering requirement. Creeping bentgrass has a tendency to suffer from summer decline, or commonly referred to summer bentgrass decline complex.

Mowing height is 2 mm to 30 mm.

Display varieties

Fine Fescue

Creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra), Chewing’s fescues (Festuca rubra var. commutata) and Hard fescue (Festuca ovina var. duriuscula).

Fine Fescue grasses are as the name indicates, fine-textured. They possess a relatively low mowing requirement and require low amounts of water.

Mowing height is 2 mm to 40 mm.

Display varieties

Kentucky Bluegrass

Poa pratensis

A vigorous rhizomatous grass, frequently used in mixtures with perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. Poor shade and drought tolerance and is slow to establish by seed. The species of turf is hard wearing but requires regular watering to maintain its attractive appearance and density.

Mowing height is 10 mm to 75 mm.

Display varieties


Lolium perenne

A hard wearing fine leaved grass often used for oversowing of green couch in sports fields, Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues and bentgrass. Fast growing and requires frequent mowing and management. Has a high water and fertilizer requirement. Very poor drought tolerance and does not handle heat and humidity well. Both annual and perennial ryegrass varieties are now available.

Mowing height 4 mm to 50 mm.

Display varieties

Ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass

Lolium perenne and Poa pratensis

Mowing height is 10 mm to 75 mm.

Display varieties

Tall Fescue

Festuca arundinacea

Tall Fescue has a variable texture - old varieties are quiet coarse, while new varieties are medium- to fine-textured. Tall Fescue has a moderate to low density and the species possesses a deep root system.

Mowing height is 25 mm to 60 mm.

Display varieties