Conference 2003

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


The Suitability of a Native Grass Species, Microlaena stipoides, for use as an Amenity Turfgrass in the Auckland Region

Philip Smith (O2 Landscapes, Auckland)

Turfgrass is an important vegetation type within the urban environment, comprising a considerable proportion of the vegetation cover in our cities. Traditionally, aggressive introduced species have been utilised for this function. However, there are native grasses which are potentially useful turf species, including Microlaena stipoides. The potential of M. stipoides as an amenity turfgrass species is evidenced by its persistence in Auckland, where it forms a naturally occurring sward in many lawns.

M. stipoides has potential as a niche turf species, due to certain characteristics:

  • It is shade-tolerant, and could prove very useful as grass cover below tree plantings (where it is often difficult to establish turf).
  • It is able to withstand dry conditions and low fertility, growing conditions frequently encountered in the Auckland region.
  • As a native species, it presents an attractive and unique option for landscape clients who are interested in native plants.

This poster presents research into the suitability of Microlaena stipoides as a native amenity turfgrass for Auckland, with an emphasis on its potential for the landscape trade. This includes an investigation of the distribution of the species within the region, the issues involved in cultivating it and its commercial potential.

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

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Last updated: October 12, 2003