Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can anyone apply to convert or install warm season grass?

A. Residents, businesses and third parties may apply for a 28-day exemption to establish warm season grass – located at either residential or business addresses. Contractors and developers can apply for an exemption to a property where they are working. Given that developers often construct multiple properties simultaneously, they may apply for exemptions for multiple addresses.

Q. Can I apply for more than one exemption?

A. Yes, properties may apply for multiple exemptions to convert both front and back yards. Exemptions are granted on a basis of installation address.

Q. When is the best time to install my warm season grass?

A. Warm season grass, when installed as directed, stands a very good chance of success if it is installed from September to March. That said, optimum installation times do vary dependent on if seed or pre-grown grass is used.

With seed, the very best time to install is early November. This allows the seed to establish root systems before the height of summer. Installing seed in early September or late March is not recommended, as it is less likely to germinate/take evenly and could result in a patchy appearance.

With pre-grown grass, there is more flexibility and given its pre-formed roots, it can successfully be installed year round. It is somewhat sensitive to ground temperature, so if Melbourne is being subjected to a particularly cold spring, consider delaying your installation for several weeks. Similarly, avoid installation during heat-wave conditions for the best chance of success.

Q: What if my installation takes more than one day?

A: Your 28-day exemption begins on the first day of installation. We suggest that you only apply after you’ve completed the soil preparation phase, especially if you are doing it yourself. The actual installation or sowing of seed should only take a day, and most suppliers guarantee that they will complete the installation of grass or sowing of seed in this time period.

Q: Do I have to display my exemption certificate?

A: Yes, you must display your exemption certificate. We suggest that you laminate it or place it in a clear plastic bag and post where it is visible. By prominently displaying your certificate, you also help to inform your neighbours and members of the broader community that you are watering under an approved exemption.

Q. If I follow your instructions, will my grass survive after the 28-day exemption period without watering?

A. There are many factors that contribute to the success of grass installation. Although many of the keys to success and considerations are covered in the available fact sheets*, it is always wise to consult with your local nursery or horticulturalist to obtain specific advice for your area and growing conditions.

That said, if these instructions are explicitly followed, your transition to warm season grass should be successful and give you the best chance of enjoying a lawn with reduced water requirements.

As with any home improvement or DIY project, you always have the choice of seeking expert advice.

* These fact sheets have been produced in conjunction with leading horticulturists and turf/ grass experts.

Q. How much does installing instant / pre-grown grass cost?

A. It costs approximately $1,500 to $2,000 to install warm season pre-grown grass to an area of approximately 100 square meters. This cost includes all materials and labour, including soil preparation. If you choose to prepare the soil and install the instant grass yourself, the cost of the actual grass will run at approximately $500 to $1,000 per 100 square meters.

NOTE: The standard backyard grassed area is 60 square metres, with traditional front yards possessing 20-30 square metres of grassed area.

Q. How much does the application of warm season grass seed cost?

A. Warm season seed can be applied via spray or applied manually by hand/ seed spreader.

If using the DIY approach of applying seed via a seed spreader (highly recommended for even coverage and germination success) the costs are limited to about $35 (the cost of the seed and the spreader).

The spray application of seed is rarely recommended for residential properties, as the costs of applying it to relatively small areas make other options more attractive.

NOTE: This cost does not include soil preparation or any other labour – which is essential to ensure even coverage, and ultimately the attractiveness and successful establishment of the grassed area.

Q. When am I allowed to water my grass?

A. Under the terms of your 28-day exemption, you can water your warm season grass with a watering system at any time and on any day. When your exemption expires however, you must water your lawn in accordance with the prevailing stage of water restrictions or Permanent Water Use Rules.

Q. Am I allowed to use sprinklers to water my grass during the 28-day exemption period?

A. Yes, you may use your sprinkler(s) to water your new warm season grass outside of allowed hours during this 28-day exemption period only. It is also recommended that you have any sprinkler system and automation checked by a professional to ensure it will not over or under water during the establishment period. As many residential sprinklers haven’t been used for many years, it is likely that fittings and connections may have become cracked or blocked.

Q. When my 28-day exemption expires, can I water my grass if it gets really dry or stressed?

A. Yes, you can water your new warm season grass if it is dry or stressed in accordance with the prevailing water restrictions or Permanent Water Use Rules.

However, warm season grasses are highly tolerant of heat and water stress and in the vast majority of instances recover very well without additional water. You may also water your lawn using an alternative water source such as tank, grey or recycled water.

Q. Within your fact sheets and directions it states that I must kill off my existing grass. Must I really do this? I don’t like the idea of using chemicals in my garden.

A: We stipulate that you must poison/and or remove any existing grass before installing your new warm season grass to give it the best chance of success. Independent horticultural and turf specialist advice is conclusive, that without killing off any present grass, your new warm season grass is unlikely to be successful. The additional water provided by your turf exemption will simply encourage the existing grass to thrive, and new warm season grass won’t be able to ‘overtake’.

If you do not want to use non residual herbicides (commonly used to kill off existing grass), you do have the option of ‘scalping’ your existing grass. This involves mowing your grass at the lowest possible setting, before systematically and evenly removing the top 8 cm of soil (in addition to the grass) from the entire area to be planted with warm season grass.

This can be best achieved through using a sharp flat headed shovel, and all soil and grass will need to be disposed of. After such treatment, it is likely that your soil will need to be conditioned with the application of organic matter and a layer of topsoil. Due to the heavy manual labour that is involved, we have not listed this approach within our general installation instructions.