A Guide to Lawn Maintenance for Couch Grass

Written By:
Scott Carroll
Published On:
June 21, 2023
Buffalo grass

Couch grass is popular for Australian lawns because of its hardiness and beautiful green colouring. Its beauty and resilience, however, can only be maintained with regular care and maintenance. This book delves into the principles of sofa grass care, offering expert suggestions to help your lawn thrive. Stay with us for an in-depth look at couch grass care.

Overview of Couch Grass

Couch Grass (Cynodon dactylon) is a perennial grass with a deep root structure and aggressive growth behaviour. Its dark green colouration, delicate leaf texture, and quick horizontal development via runners distinguish it. This resilient grass species tolerates many circumstances, including high traffic, heat, and salinity.

There are various advantages to using Couch Grass in your yard. Its rapid growth and spread make it an excellent choice for regions that demand rapid ground cover. It also withstands considerable foot activity, making it ideal for use in backyards, sports fields, and public parks.

There are various varieties of Couch Grass, each with distinct characteristics appropriate for specific situations and requirements. For a more in-depth look at the different varieties of Couch Grass, visit our article on types of couch grass.

Tips on planting Couch Grass

Timing and planning are critical for producing a rich Couch Grass lawn. Below, we’ll walk you through the best way to plant Couch Grass to ensure a healthy, long-lasting lawn. 

Best time to plant Couch Grass

In most circumstances, the best time to grow Couch Grass is in the spring or early summer, when soil temperatures range between 15 and 24°C. This gives the grass time to grow before the hotter months approach.

Preparation of soil for planting

Couch Grass development requires proper soil preparation. Begin by removing any debris from the area, such as stones or sticks. Check the pH of the soil; Couch Grass prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.0-7.0). Adjust the pH of the soil as needed by adding lime (to raise pH) or sulphur (to drop pH).

To encourage root penetration, fill the soil to a depth of around 15 cm. Organic matter or compost should be added to improve soil structure and nutritional content if the soil is heavy clay or sandy. Smooth the soil with a rake, ensuring it’s level to avoid water gathering.

Process of planting couch grass

Couch Grass can be grown from seeds, sprigs, or sod. Spread seeds evenly over prepared soil at a rate of roughly 1 kg per 100 square metres, then softly rake the dirt to cover the seeds. Water the area completely but gently so the seeds are not washed away.

Plant sprigs or sod in rows on the prepared spot if using. Plant sprigs around 20-30 cm apart and thoroughly water after planting. Sod can be rolled out over prepared soil, with the edges snugly fitted together to eliminate gaps. After laying the sod, use a lawn roller to establish good contact with the soil and thoroughly water it.

Watering Couch Grass

Water is essential for nutrient intake, photosynthesis, and plant health. Consistent watering of Couch Grass helps to preserve its lush, green appearance. It encourages the formation of a powerful root system, increasing its resistance to pests, diseases, and environmental challenges.

Ideal watering schedule for couch grass

Couch Grass needs 2–3.5 cm of water per week, including rainfall. Soil, climate, and season determine the watering frequency. Sandy soils need more irrigation than clay soils, and hotter weather needs more watering.

Water Couch Grass 2–3 times a week in summer and winter. Morning watering lets water permeate into the soil before evaporation and leaves dry before nightfall, lowering fungal disease risk.

Water conservation tips

Water conservation and effective watering go hand in hand. Water deeply but infrequently to encourage root growth deeper into the soil. Install a rain gauge to track rainfall and adjust your irrigation as needed.

Using a sprinkler system on an early morning schedule can help to reduce water waste due to evaporation. Mulching around the lawn can also help maintain soil moisture. If the water supply is an issue in your location, always follow local water limits and investigate drought-tolerant grass species.

Fertilising rules for Couch Grass

Fertilisers are essential for Couch Grass care. They augment the natural nutrient content of the soil, supplying key elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that Couch Grass requires for healthy development, beautiful green colour, and stress resistance.

Best types of fertilisers for couch grass

Selecting the best fertiliser is crucial for its lush growth and vibrant green colour. 

Here are the top four fertilisers, each uniquely suited to bolster couch grass:

  1. Slow-release nitrogen fertilisers: These fertilisers are ideal for sustained growth. They gradually release nitrogen, a key nutrient for Couch Grass, ensuring a consistent supply without overwhelming the grass. This fertiliser promotes a steady growth rate, enhancing the lawn’s density and colour over time.
  2. Liquid iron supplements: Perfect for enhancing the deep green hue of Couch Grass, liquid iron supplements address iron deficiencies, which can lead to yellowing. They are easily absorbed, offering a quick solution to improve the lawn’s colour and overall health.
  3. Organic composts: Enriching the soil with organic compost is a natural way to nourish Couch Grass. Composts improve soil structure and provide a balanced mix of nutrients, promoting healthy root development and robust growth.
  4. Balanced NPK fertilisers: Fertilisers with a balanced ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) cater to all-round development. They support root strength, enhance resistance to stress and disease, and aid in efficiently using water and nutrients.

Each of these fertilisers addresses the specific needs of couch grass, from boosting growth and colour to improving soil health. Choosing the right fertiliser ensures your Couch Grass remains a vibrant and resilient outdoor space feature.

Schedule and methods for fertilising couch grass

During the active growing season (spring, summer, and early fall), Couch Grass should be fertilised every 6-8 weeks and less frequently during dormancy. For granular fertilisers, use a broadcast spreader; for liquid fertilisers, use a sprayer. Water the lawn following fertiliser application to aid absorption and prevent leaf burn.

Remember that the purpose of fertilising is to supply nutrients deficient in the soil. Thus, a soil test is recommended before deciding on a fertilisation schedule and kind.

Mowing couch grass

Regular mowing is an important part of Couch Grass upkeep, as it contributes greatly to a healthy, dense, and appealing lawn. It encourages horizontal development, resulting in a thicker, more resistant grass to pests, disease, and weed invasion.

Ideal mowing height for couch grass

Couch Grass mowing heights range from 15-25mm in bright places to 30-40mm in shaded locations. Maintaining this height promotes optimal leaf density and robust root development, which improves the grass’s resistance to stress and wear.

In addition, when mowing your Couch Grass, we urge that you follow the following guidelines:

  1. Regular wowing: Maintain the ideal height by mowing regularly. We recommend mowing weekly during peak growth and less frequently during cooler months.
  2. Sharp blades: Use sharp mower blades at all times. Dull blades can damage the grass, causing it to turn brownish or white.
  3. Clipping management: When possible, leave the clippings on the grass to decompose and restore vital nutrients to the soil.
  4. Vary mowing direction: To encourage upright growth, alternate your mowing direction each time.
  5. Don’t mow wet grass: Mowing wet grass might result in an uneven cut and the spread of disease.

Weed control for couch grass

Weeds can still infiltrate Couch Grass due to its vigorous growth and deep mat. Bindii, clover, dandelions, and winter grass are examples. 

Furthermore, if left unchecked, couch grass runners can become a weed problem (for more information, visit our page on couch grass runners).

In terms of controlling weeds, we recommend following one of two methods:

  1. Manual removal: For small infestations, uprooting weeds by hand can be helpful. It is ideal for weeding after rain, when the soil is soft, to ensure that the root system is removed.
  2. Weed control chemicals: Broadleaf and grassy weeds in Couch Grass can be controlled with selective herbicides. When using these goods, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Best weed killer for couch grass

When it comes to keeping your couch grass free of pesky weeds, it’s all about choosing the right weapon for the job. Let’s dive into some of the top contenders in the weed-killing game. First up, we’ve got the trusty glyphosate-based products like Round Up.

These are great for tackling those invasive grasses that just won’t take a hint. But remember, glyphosate is like the Hulk of herbicides – it smashes everything in its path. So, use it carefully, maybe with a paintbrush or weed wand, to avoid collateral damage to your beloved lawn.

For more information, check out our breakdown on the best weed killers in Australia.

Proactive measures to keep weeds at bay

At Yard Work, we believe the best control method is always prevention! Accordingly, follow these tips to help stay on top of those pesky weeds:

  1. Healthy lawn practices: Regular mowing, enough watering, and proper fertilisation promote dense Couch Grass growth, leaving little room for weed germination.
  2. Mulching: By limiting sunlight, mulching can help to reduce weeds.
  3. Early detection: Inspect your lawn for weeds regularly to capture them before they spread.
  4. Proper irrigation: Overwatering might encourage weed growth. Make sure your Couch Grass gets enough water but not too much.

By following these tips, you can help safeguard your Couch Grass from being overrun with weeds. 

Couch grass problems and solutions

Couch grass, known for its resilience, faces several challenges. Here are some common problems that we encounter when dealing with couch grass:

  1. Invasive growth: Couch grass can aggressively spread into unwanted areas.
  2. Winter dormancy: This leads to colour loss and reduced recovery capabilities.
  3. Shade intolerance: Struggles in areas with significant shade.
  4. Overwatering risks: Can cause soil waterlogging and promote fungal diseases.

Fortunately, there are some practical tips to resolve these issues! These include:

  • Regular mowing to control growth.
  • Ensure adequate sunlight and prune overhanging foliage.
  • Adjust watering schedules to prevent overwatering.
  • Implement proper lawn care practices, including fertilisation and aeration.

Pest and disease management in cough grass

When it comes to couch grass, it’s not just about keeping it green and lush. You must be on the lookout for some uninvited guests and ailments.

Let’s talk about a few common ones:

  1. Lawn Grub/White Grub: Causes brown patches on the lawn.
  2. Armyworms: Lead to significant damage and discolouration.
  3. Dollar Spot: Results in silver dollar-sized tan spots.
  4. Spring Dead Spot: Causes large circular patches of dead grass.

Now, don’t fret! There are ways to tackle these issues. Products containing ‘Bifenthrin’ are your go-to solution for those grubs and armyworms. Just make sure to use them as directed. As for Dollar Spot and Spring Dead Spot, a good fungicide should do the trick – again, follow the guidelines for the best results.

Remember, the best offence is a good defence. Keeping your lawn healthy with regular care is key to preventing these pests and diseases in the first place. And don’t forget to keep an eye out – regular inspections can help you catch any problems early on, making treatment much more effective. So, stay vigilant and give your couch grass the love it deserves!

Repairing damaged couch grass

Heavy foot traffic, bug infestations, disease, insufficient watering, and nutrient deficits are all common causes of Couch Grass damage.

When restoring damaged Couch Grass, the method always starts with identifying the source of the damage, then fixing it and stimulating new growth. To improve soil health, you may need to reseed severely damaged areas or apply a top dressing. Make sure your lawn has enough water and nutrients to recover.

Key takeaways

This detailed guide has highlighted the essential aspects of maintaining Couch Grass, a popular lawn choice around Australia. This guide is jam-packed with essential lawn care information, from understanding the appealing properties of Couch Grass to precise directions on planting, watering, and fertilising. Mowing at the proper height and regularity promotes a healthy and neat appearance while efficiently removing weeds and pests can avoid damage to your grass. 

In the unfortunate event of damage, restoration methods are available to bring your Couch Grass back to life. So, roll up your sleeves, start implementing these strategies, and watch your Couch Grass lawn thrive!


Can Couch Grass tolerate shade?

Although Couch Grass enjoys full sun, it can tolerate slight shade. Couch Grass, on the other hand, may not be the ideal choice if your lawn is highly shaded. It needs at least 6-7 hours of sunshine per day to flourish properly.

Is Couch Grass safe for pets?

Yes, Couch Grass is safe for pets. It’s a tough and durable grass that can tolerate a lot of foot (or paw) traffic. However, any use of weed control herbicides or fertilisers should be carefully monitored to avoid exposing dogs to dangerous toxins.

How Fast Does Couch Grass Spread?

Couch Grass is a fast-growing plant that can spread swiftly due to its aggressive nature. This can be advantageous for swiftly creating a lawn. Still, it can also be detrimental if it invades places that are not desired.