Monthly Archives: November 2013

Feathertop™ Baloskion is a compact plant ideal for rain gardens

Feathertop™ Baloskion is a compact plant ideal for rain gardens

FEATHER TOP™ Baloskion tetraphyllum 'BUNNAN' PBR

If you’re looking for a beautiful plant to fill in areas that get light to heavy shade this one is a ripper.

Feathertop™ Baloskion has soft feathery foliage that looks soft and desirable. Feathertop is far more compact than the common form being less than half the height growing to 60 to 70 cm.

It’s interesting foliage makes it a real showpiece. It can handle full sun if it is grown in good soils and just given a little bit of extra water. It makes a great rain garden plant and it grows really well with wet feet.

It’s foliage makes a great filler in a vase set amongst flowers. For something a little different that’s fairly forgiving to grow, give Feathertop™ Baloskion a try.

Click here for more info on Feathertop™ Baloskion

Getting street tree selection right

Getting street tree selection right

By Jennifer Stackhouse

 

SUBLIME™ Acmena smithii 'DOW30' PBR

According to recent research into what makes a suburb appealing, good street trees are one of the main differences between a good suburb with strong house prices and a less desirable place to live. Quite simply people equate green, leafy streets with prosperity and good living.

However, many of the gracious trees that line the streets in our most desirable suburbs would not be planted today. Trees such as poplars, elms and plane trees or jacarandas and poincianas in warmer climates, that were favoured by town planners of yesteryear, are now seen as too big and offering too many potential maintenance problems to be suitable to plant today.

Many of these trees are no longer selected for street planting and others are being removed and replaced with different species as they reach the end of their lifespans.

Elms for example, which survive in streets and parks in southern Australia, are seen as a ticking time bomb as these trees have been devastated by Dutch elm disease in most other parts of the world. So far, although we have the vector that spreads the disease (the elm leaf beetle), we don’t yet have the pathogen in Australia.

Even street trees widely planted in recent years are being reassessed for their long-term suitability. In more recent times the pyramidal shape of the Bradford pear saw it being widely planted city and suburban streets. While these now mature trees do look spectacular, especially in spring blossom and autumn leaf colour, they present maintenance problems as the variety chosen, although ornamental, does produce small fruits that form a slip hazard on pavements in summer and autumn. As well, its branches were often subject to wind damage and splitting.

Some factors that make large, spreading trees so problematic for use as street trees can be overcome with planning and careful management. Underground or bundled overhead wires and broad planting strips to accommodate the tree’s growing roots and water needs are necessary for safely growing and maintaining large, spreading street trees.

Where these demands can’t be met, those making street tree planting choices need to select tree varieties that can live in harmony with the street and its users with minimum maintenance.

Ideal street tree

The ideal street tree from a maintenance point of view is one that …continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenda Kikuyu Turf Grass – A Sports Turf that is drought and wear tolerant

Kenda Kikuyu Turf Grass – A Sports Turf that is drought and wear tolerant

Todd Layt - Kenda Kikuyu Turf

Hi I’m Todd Layt the breeder of Kenda Kikuyu Turf.

I’d like to tell you a little about this new variety and why it’s such a big improvement over common kikuyu. In breeding Kenda my first aim was to develop a Kikuyu that is not going to spread by seed everywhere.

While breeding I had quite a few that would do that but then I listened to what turf farmers, sports turf professionals and home owners had to say. The common theme was they wanted a kikuyu grass that would survive better those excessive wear areas.

Some said while you’re at it what about one that would roll up better, One that was less susceptible to kikuyu yellows disease, one that needs less mowing, is better in shade and one that has much better winter colour.

To me that meant testing all the selections in plots to find one that did most of these things. The one I finally chose did all these things except one. It was not significantly more shade tolerant.

Even though Kenda grows much faster across the ground, left un-mown it tended to  be slightly shorter. Kenda has 4 times as many rhizomes also known as under ground runners compared to common kikuyu and stolons (or runners) that were more than double the length.

Up until now many sports facilities used couch as it had more under ground runners but now with the advent of Kenda the job can be done better with all the other benefits that come with it.

The winter colour of Kenda is the best of any kikuyu, buffalo, couch, Zoysia or any warm season turf. It grows much more actively in winter than all other types. Kenda has shown itself to be very resistant to kikuyu yellows disease.

Turf farmers love it because it rolls up better. They no longer have to use horrible netting like you often had to on common kikuyu. Already it has been used successfully on sporting venues, parks and general turfing areas that have ful sun to light shade.

There’s a real buzz about this turf from the turf professionals who’ve used it. Now it’s time for the home owner to benefit. If you have a dog or hard playing kids in your back yard then Kenda is easily the best choice. This grass recovers from wear far better than any other lawn.

So if you’re looking for a low maintenance lawn for around gardens then look at buffalo or Zoysia but if you want a lawn to survive rampaging animals and people then Kenda Kikuyu is it.

Click here for more info on Kenda Kikuyu Turf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empire™ turf is a low maintenance lawn grass which gives you more time to relax

Empire™ turf is a low maintenance lawn grass which gives you more time to relax

Empire Zoysia

Aussies on most internet turf forums are discussing EZ Grass. This is the nick name for Empire™ Zoysia Turf. So what makes Empire™ so easy to look after?

Firstly we know how army worm and web worm can devastate lawns. Army worm and web worm prefer to eat couch, kikuyu and buffalo grass way before they’d ever resort to eating Empire™. In fact…

research shows that eating Zoysia is actually harmful to these lawn caterpillars. There is lots of research that Empire™ is far more drought tolerant than buffalo turf.

With it’s deep rhizomes it can survive dry far longer than most turf types but it’s the beautiful soft appearance that attracts most people to Empire.

House after house looking great year after year with such little effort. No wonder it’s getting such good raps from lawn professionals. People are amazed at how little thatch it produces and the fact that unlike many Zoysia types this lawn can easily be mown with any type of mower.

Now, if you value your time too much to be mowing and edging listen to these researched facts:

Empire™ turf needs a third of the mowing of kikuyu

Half as much as couch and…

30% less than buffalo grass.

Why mow when you could be doing more fun things like playing on your Empire™ lawn or relaxing.

Empire™ turf can be mown short or long allowing you to play Bocce or even back yard cricket. It is so wear tolerant that it’s often used for sporting venues and high-wear areas in parks. You can’t do that with buffalo.

Most lawns simply cannot tolerate the wide variety of climates that Empire™ can. It did the best in floods, it survived years of drought, it lives in cold temperatures that would easily kill all kikuyu and buffalo types. t loves the humidity of Queensland even if it is a wet year. It just gets far less disease and insect damage.

Empire™ performs with up to 40% shade,  it’s herbicide tolerance is legendary and best of all Empire™ will do well with much less fertilizer than all other grass types.

It has been proven to strengthen the soil more than other turf and if you need evidence to back these claims up just download the referenced research document .

There is always a BUT…

The BUT for Empire™ is not to lay it in winter in Sydney, Perth Adelaide and Melbourne as it will root out too slowly. Queensland is generally warmer so you can get away with it for most of the year. In the warmer months Empire™ strikes really quickly.

Whether it’s grubs, floods, drought, humidity, cold, disease, wear or scalping, Empire™ just keeps on surviving. Make your next lawn not only the most beautiful in the suburb, make it the toughest. Choose Empire™ Zoysia Turf.

Click here for more info on Empire Zoysia Turf

Katie Belles™ Lomandra is a rain garden plant with masses of fragrant flowers

 

 

Katie Belles™ Lomandra is a rain garden plant with masses of fragrant flowers

Katie Belles™ Lomandra hystrix 'LHBYF' PBR

The flowers on this Katie Belles™ Lomandra are just opening The frangrance is already enthralling my senses. As the flowers mature, the frangrance fills the whole garden, lasting for many weeks.

It often then flowers again in Autumn. The flowers are the biggest for any Lomandra. Katie Belles™ Lomandra is ideal for the tropics, but it also does well in colder regions. In Colder regions it will need more slow release fertiliser to look at its best, but in Queensland and Northern NSW, this plant excels in most soil types, even with lower nutrients, however even there a slow release fertiliser will help its foliage go a really nice dark green colour.

Katie Belles™ Lomandra is slightly smaller than the common form of Lomandra hystrix. This plant is about 5 years old. Katie Belles™ Lomandra does well in full sun or shade, even wet shade.  Planted as a specimen or on mass, Katie Belles™ Lomandra will fill your landscape with golden fragrant flowers.

Click here for more info on Katie Belles™ Lomandra

 

 

 

 

 

Sapphire® Buffalo Grass – Because people just want the best-looking lawn in the street

Sapphire® Buffalo Grass – Because people just want the best-looking lawn in the street

Buffalo Grass

Lying on this soft Sapphire® Buffalo grass and comparing to all the other buffalo types near by, you notice how different it is. My name is Todd Layt and I’m the breeder of this grass and the main reason I chose it was for it’s fine texture.

Choosing The Right Turf

This leaf (on your left) is typical of the other buffalo types and this leaf (on your right) is the finer Sapphire®  leaf.  Sapphire® is not only the most beautiful buffalo turf on the market – with it’s beautiful green fine soft texture – it is one of the toughest and most functional.

Sure, you’re probably thinking everyone says that about their grass but in this case it’s the Department of Primary Industry and Horticultural Australia research data that’ll do the talking.

Sapphire® Buffalo grass, in this comprehensive research, had the highest scores in shade tolerance data, higher than Sir Walter and better than all the other buffalo types sold in Australia. In fact it was the only popular variety to have acceptable quality at 50% shade and also had the highest score at 70% shade.

Now on that point, Sapphire® Buffalo grass will handle 50% shade with wear but if it’s 70% shade, low to moderate wear is recommended. Remember mow your Sapphire higher in shade.

Sapphire® does well in full sun and can tolerate significant wear. Sapphire® did very well in wear trials in this research. The data showed it had a similar winter colour to other types in many regions. It’s salt tolerance at saltwater pool levels was better than most and it grew less vertical than most of the others meaning a slight reduction in mowing.

Buffalo seed can cause some people allergies. The data from a trial at Richmond showed sapphire had 39% less seed than the average of the other popular buffalo types.

Scratchy leaf buffalo types like this old style scratchy buffalo can cause rashes. Sapphire has no barbs further down the side of it’s leaf so it’s very soft. Sapphire is the only Australian bred buffalo that has made it in the USA. In fact in 2007, data from a large US water authority showed that Sapphire had the best rating in summer. With Zero water for 30 days of all 7 buffalo types tested.

On a personal level I’ve noticed Sapphire has less thatch has excellent heat and humidity tolerance and new turf strikes quicker than other buffalo types but the real reason that Sapphire is so often chosen is because people just want the best looking lawn in the street.

Click here for more info on Sapphire® Buffalo grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aranda™ Dianella is a very compact plant with deep blue flowers

Aranda™ Dianella is a very compact plant with deep blue flowers

Aranda™ Dianella caerulea 'DC150' PBR

Aranda™ Dianella  is a great little green Dianella caerulea. It flowers well, and is super tough. If you need a small Dianella for borders or planted close together as a low ground cover, Aranda™ Dianella  fits the bill perfectly.  It is great for humid areas, and did well in recent roof top garden trials.

Like all Dianella it prefers reasonable nutrients, so if the soil is poor, a slow release application of 8 to 9 month slow release fertiliser is essential. Aranda™ Dianella works well in colder regions like Victoria, but it is very much at home in Humid Queensland.

If Aranda™ Dianella starts to get a little untidy, just cut it back hard like this in spring or Autumn, leaving a few leaves out the side to help it reshoot. No other super compact Dianella caerulea is as tough or as beautiful as Aranda™ Dianella.

Click here for more info on Aranda™ Dianella