Sold as Nara Native turf in Australia, and Icon Zoysia in the USA, this humble Australian Native is making waves in the southern US.
It has taken off very quickly over there, maybe because they just saw it as another Zoysia with improved autumn and winter colour, and faster establishment. Here in Australia we saw it as a native turf, which has never been tried before. There is a lot more being grown in the USA than Australia, but Australia is catching up.
Now that Australian turf companies and consumers are seeing how good Nara is, and how it is just as easy to grow as exotic turf, sales have skyrocketed. The biggest problem recently in Australia has been finding enough growers to grow the grass. Demand is so high that there is a short fall. Hopefully as more is grown over the next few years that issue will be solved.
In the USA, travelling down real-estate developments, it was easy to pick Nara (Icon) from the other Zoysia types in autumn. It was far greener than the others.
Along the coast in the US, it is being used in windy coastal areas, and loving the higher salt levels. It also appears to be providing solutions where other Zoysia types fail, in regions that have disease problems. It is coping far better.
There are already hundreds of acres of Nara (Icon) being grown in the USA, and this is expected to increase over the next few years. It is great to see the first Australian Native turf grass making it so big in the USA.
In Australia it is now being specified on many large projects, to begin with because it was native, and meets government guidelines to use natives. But now it is being reused again and again because it is a good grass compared to exotics.
It is a medium bladed Zoysia, with excellent cold weather colour, and great humidity tolerance for the tropics. It copes with up to 50% shade, and needs less mowing than Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo. And for those with gardens, it is far easier to keep edged. People love this about it.
As far as looking after, you treat it the same as you would any other grass. It can be mown very short or longer, and responds well to fertiliser. It outcompetes weeds well, and is tolerant of many herbicides used for weed control. It also seems to be less susceptible to lawn grubs, and other pests.
Roads departments across Australia are using it regularly, as it needs far less maintenance, and is surviving on natural rainfall once established in the eastern states. It is being widely used in drainage swales, as it handles the extremes, from wet feet to dry conditions, it soaks nutrients extremely well, and just 2 to 4 mows per year is enough in swales, as it only gets 15cm high after that time.
But what people often do not realise till they see this grass, is how beautiful it is when it is treated like a normal lawn. Mown regularly, fertilised as per the recipe on the web site, it has a natural lush looking appearance, that out classes exotic lawns.
Being available in instant turf takes all the work out of growing this lawn. It is not available in seed, as it is a running grass, with both above ground stolons and below ground rhizomes. It can be planted from plugs.
Many people have a natural tendency to prefer native plants, now those same people can enjoy a native lawn, but exotic lovers should not discount this just because it is native. It is exotic in the USA, and they are loving it, because of its benefits. Great to see an Aussie making it in the USA.
Nara™ Zoysia macrantha ‘MAC03’
- Australia’s first all purpose native turf
- Low maintenance and easy to establish
- Outstanding winter colour – out performing popular buffalo varieties
Description: Multi-purpose native turf.
Uses: Domestic, commercial and coastal plantings.
Position: Full sun to 50% shade with low wear and up to 30% shade with moderate to high wear. Nara is drought and cold tolerant down to -12°c.
Recommended for: NSW, ACT, VIC, SA, WA & QLD. Not yet available in NT.
Head to http://ozbreed.com.au/ for more information.