Couch (pronounced cooch) has been popular in Australia for such a long time that you’re bound to have come across it. It’s been here so long and is so common that some people assume it’s actually native to Australia.
Originally, from Africa and Southern Europe, Couch (known as Bermuda grass in the U.S) thrives in a wide range of conditions. So, if you’re looking for a quality lawn variety, how does Couch stack up? Will Couch give you those qualities of drought, sun, shade and wear and tear tolerance you’re looking for in a lawn?
The Pros and Cons of Couch Grass
Couch produces a dense lush growth. This dark green grass with fine leaf blades is renowned for maintaining a dark green colour even in poor soils. Couch grows well in most soil types from sandy soils to heavy clay and although it prefers moist sites, it has extremely high drought tolerance. Couch lawns grow well even in salty coastal conditions.
Couch grass has a well-deserved reputation for being an exceptionally tough wear tolerant grass that will really bounce back quickly from any damage or setback. It easily tolerates being cut to a low height, which can help reduce time spent on mowing.
This makes it ideal for your home lawn, sports fields, golf courses and any area subject to high foot traffic. Because it spreads through rhizomes and runners, its aggressive growth can cause problems with spread into areas where it’s not wanted.
Couch loves full sun but doesn’t cope well with shade. Its shade tolerance levels are similar to Kikuyu grass.
It is a warm-season grass and cooler temperatures will most likely see the grass browning off. Fortunately, it returns to its normal deep blue green colour faster than most other warm season grasses. If sowing from seed, Couch grass needs temperatures of 25° or more for germination.
To sum up:
- Exceptional drought tolerance
- Outstanding wear and tear recovery
- Beautiful deep green, fine leaf growth
- Grows almost anywhere
- Copes easily with low mowing heights
- Aggressive growth can lead to unwanted spread
- Poor shade and cold tolerance
- Winter browning
If your property gets all day sun and isn’t subject to severe frosts then Couch could be the grass you’ve been looking for.
What is Couch Grass?
Couch grass (Cynodon dactylon) is a warm season grass that thrives in full sun areas. There are a number of couch grass varieties available in Australia. We supply CT2 Couch, which is a variety that has been developed to enhance its hard wearing, drought resistance qualities.
It is highly popular with golf course developers, such as Greg Norman, and is in use throughout Australia. CT2 Couch features minimal seed head production; great for those with allergies, and it also helps reduce unwanted spread.
Care Advice For Couch Grass
Couch is a relatively easy grass to maintain. Keeping it well fertilised and watered is vital for good healthy growth. Less frequent but deep watering is much more beneficial for healthy Couch growth than frequent light waterings because it encourages deeper root growth.
Apply slow fertiliser rich in nitrogen in early autumn and spring before it gets too cold or too hot. Couch copes well with a low mowing height but avoid scalping the lawn. The ideal mowing height is between 15 and 25mms. Keep your lawn longer during the cold months and also when it’s under stress such as during prolonged drought.
The longer grass length helps keep your lawn healthy during those challenging times. Keep an eye open for weeds especially in areas that have suffered some damage. Pull weeds by hand before they become established and this will allow the Couch to recover and reclaim those areas.
Tell Me The Best Fertiliser For Couch Grass?
Nitrogen rich fertilisers are ideal for Couch. We recommend the application of a slow release fertiliser such as Grech’s Top Turf Fertiliser during the growing season, especially early spring. This will give your lawn the essential nutrients it needs to thrive.
How Do I Remove Couch Grass?
Although CT2 Couch is herbicide resistant, most Couch varieties are sensitive to Glyphosate based herbicides. Apply in late spring through to early autumn. You will probably need to repeat the application.
If you’re trying to get rid of Couch in garden areas where wanted plants are growing then it’s a good idea to use a paint brush to apply herbicide. Removing Couch by hand is usually not very effective because even a single rhizome left behind will grow into another Couch colony.
Does Couch Grass Spread?
Couch spreads very quickly. Its very strong horizontal growth is what enables it to recover so well from damage or die back. Couch spreads through underground stems called rhizomes and above ground via runners as well.
These aggressive strong growth habits can be a problem if you allow it to spread beyond well-defined borders. Introducing a solid boundary around a Couch lawn is a simple solution for unwanted spread.
How Do I Identify Couch Grass?
Couch has a fine leaf blade (one of the finest blades on the market) with a deep blue green colour. Couch feels very soft and dense when you walk on it. Although CT2 Couch produces few seed heads, the seed heads are distinctive.
You’ll know Couch in the wild from the spokes (up to 6) growing out from the stem. Couch also produces red coloured stolons (runners).
Can You Revive Dead Couch Grass?
If your Couch lawn is simply brown and dead looking due to dehydration, then simply watering your lawn will soon see it coming back to life. With cold winter temperatures (below 5°), Couch will brown off. The arrival of warmer spring temperatures will see Couch rapidly return to its normal dark green colour.
How Often Do You Water Couch Grass?
Couch has exceptional drought tolerance and so requires minimal watering. That’s what makes it such a great choice for areas subject to severe water restrictions.
Naturally, your Couch lawn will maintain its optimal looks with regular deep watering but, in summer, watering deeply every 7 to 14 days will be enough to keep Couch grass looking fantastic.
How Do I Mow Couch Grass?
You can use very low mowing heights with Couch. This means you don’t have to mow so frequently; every 7 to 14 days. The ideal height for Couch lawn is between 15 to 25mm.
Do Dogs Like Couch Grass?
Dogs love the soft lush feel of a healthy Couch grass. Couch grass is very tolerant to wear and tear and will recover quickly from some pretty heavy duty rough and tumble play. That’s why Couch is such a popular turf choice with pet lovers everywhere.
Pest Control For Couch Grass
Couch grass can be more prone to pest and weed problems especially if grown in less suitable areas such as shady cold locations. As with all turf types, keeping your Couch turf healthy is the best way to prevent pests or weeds taking over.
The application of a slow release fertiliser in autumn and spring will help keep your lawn really healthy and those pests at bay. There a number of pests that will attack Couch turf. Fortunately, Amgrow Patrol is really effective at dealing with lawn grub pests such as:
- African Black beetle
- Argentinean scarab
- Sod webworm
Amgrow Patrol comes in the form of pellets and you should apply these in spring before the lawn grubs enter that highly damaging stage of their lifecycle.
How Do I Keep My Couch Grass Green In Winter?
Because Couch is one of the warm season grasses, there won’t be any winter growth activity. Applying a slow release fertiliser in autumn (May) will help keep your Couch grass green throughout winter.
Allow the grass to grow longer throughout the winter months. This not only gives you a break from mowing but it helps the grass to produce more of that lovely green chlorophyll in the low sunlight months. It’s always a good idea to reduce the foot traffic and wear and tear on your lawn during the winter.
Couch needs warmer temperatures to really thrive and any damage to the grass in the cold months when it’s dormant could potentially allow weeds and lawn pests to take hold and get a head start before Couch can recover in spring.
Atlas Turf are one of the most highly regarded turf suppliers in New South Wales. If you’re thinking about a highly drought-resistant Couch option for your lawn then talk to us.
We also supply Buffalo grasses and kikuyu grass as well as a wide range of other turf grass species for home lawns, sports fields, and large scale landscaping.