What is Berea grass ?

Berea grass (Dactyloctenium australe) is a firm favourite in the gardens of South Africa. Its soft leaf texture makes it a joy for bare feet and picnics on the lawn, while its bright green colour and luminance adds a rich foundation for an impressive domestic garden. Berea grass is known for its resistance to drought, easy overall maintenance and low mowing frequency. It has a superior shade tolerance to most other grasses, which means it can thrive in most garden settings. Although soft on feet, it does not withstand high foot traffic as well as some other breeds of grass. This makes it best suited for private domestic gardens, rather than communal spaces or sports fields. 


High Shade Tolerance

Berea can tolerate up to 60% shade coverage, making it an excellent choice for gardens without lots of sun.


Less Mowing

Berea lawns thrive with longer leaves. No need to mow more than once a week in summer and once a month in winter.


Drought Resistance

Berea is a lawn that can survive low rainfall levels. It needs little water, yet can still withstand high temperatures.

About Berea

Beautiful, predictable
and dependable

Berea Grass is an indigenous evergreen creeping perennial grass that grows easily all year round. It has a shallow root system that reduces the need for mowing, while its bright shiny leaves create a vibrant lawn that is soft under feet.


An easy way to choose

*Prices are given as indication only

Characteristics of Berea grass

Berea grass is also known as Durban grass or LM grass. It was named LM grass after the colonial name for the capital of Mozambique, Lorenzo Marques, where it was widely planted during the Colonial era. Today it is more often referred to as Berea grass, or sometimes LM Berea. Berea grass is native to the Kwazulu Natal region. 

It is naturally found in sandy regions, the veld, as well as shady parts of the savanna. It is a creeping perennial grass that grows easily all year round. Berea grass is unique in that it thrives in shady areas, needs little water, yet can also withstand high temperatures, making it a popular choice for homeowners who need a lawn that can survive the unpredictable. Berea grass suits a wide variety of soil types. 

It is often planted for the purpose of erosion control and may be used to help stabilise sand both inland and at the coast. Bright and shiny green leaves and a shallow root system create a pleasantly spongy lawn texture. It has relatively broad leaves with a twisted leaf margin, and when grown properly creates a lawn that is both dense and satisfying. This shallow root system also means mowing should be kept to a minimum, as Berea grass thrives with longer leaves. 

Berea’s inflorescence, or flower head, has two or three spikes at the tip and it is flowers from January to May. The leaves have only a few hairs on the margins, creating an abundance of vibrant green that looks attractive in any garden. 

Berea Prep

How to get things
prepared for Berea


Remove the stones,
weeds, stumps &
existing grass.


Turn the soil and top
dress with compost if
sandy or poor quality.


Create a raked smooth 
surface 20-30mm below
the level of paths.

Growing Berea grass

Berea grass can be planted in both full sun and semi-shade. It can tolerate up to 60% shade coverage, making it an excellent choice for gardens without consistent sun exposure. It is a fast grower in summer, with the growth rate slowing significantly in winter. The ideal time to plant Berea grass seeds or seedlings would be spring to summer. Pre-grown lawn turf, such as Duzi Turf’s instant lawn, will still manage to thrive if installed in winter, as long as there isn’t too much frost. The frost tolerance of Berea is fairly low, yet this can be mitigated by allowing the stalks to grow longer than usual just before the frosty weather hits. This way only the top layer will be affected when it is mowed again in spring. Using a fertilizer enriched with iron prior to winter will also help strengthen Berea’s resilience for frosty periods ahead.

KZN pietermaritzburg roll on lawn sod

Berea grass prefers rich, loamy soils. But it can be grown in sandier soils, providing it receives enough water. It prefers a PH of between 6 and 7. When planting Berea grass from seedlings, they should be spaced 15cm – 25cm apart. The closer you plant them, the sooner you will see a lush and dense appearance to your lawn. If using seeds, you will need around 3g of seed per square metre. The seeds can take up to 30 days to fully germinate, and during this time it’s best to avoid stepping on the lawn area as much as possible. Duzi Turf’s Berea Livinglawn instant turf has already been planted and grown to its optimal thickness, which means it’s already happy and thriving before it even arrives in your garden. This removes both the time and effort it takes to grow a lawn from scratch. Not to mention the unsightly lawn of soil you’d have to tolerate for months! 

Why choose Berea?

As with most things in life, laying a good foundation is key. The better prepared your soil is to receive Berea turf, the healthier your lawn will ultimately be. A well kempt lawn will truly last a lifetime, and the low maintenance and resilience of Berea makes it a good investment for the long haul. When assessing where your new lawn will go, the two key foundational aspects are good drainage and no weeds. 

Although the lawn is instant, you will need a little more time to prep the area properly. We recommend spraying the entire area with an appropriate pesticide and then waiting two weeks to make sure there is nothing remaining. If after two weeks you see or suspect there are still some weedy survivors, you will need to spray it again. 

At the same time, be sure to remove all pre-existing lawn from the area with a rake and fork. Laying your new turf over weeds or old lawn will only create problems in the future that can be easily avoided by putting a little work in before. Once your soil is weed free, test its PH. If it is too acidic for Berea, as in below 6PH, you can add lime to the soil

Prepare the area further by digging and turning 150mm – 200mm below the surface adding in compost to enrich the soil. Afterwards, it’s time to evenly rake the soil, creating an even surface for your turf to be laid. As soon as your Berea turf has been laid, you’ll need to keep the grass moist by watering daily or as needed for the first 2 to 3 weeks. 

It is best to do this little and often to avoid flooding the roots. Once the turf has settled and established roots, your new Berea lawn is ready to enjoy.

Maintaining your Berea lawn

Once your Berea lawn has been laid and rooted itself properly, it is one of the easiest lawns to maintain. And in many ways, the most rewarding. Unlike many other breeds of grass, Berea requires no lawn dressing.

In addition, its natural density doesn’t allow much room for weeds to take hold. Any weeds that do crop up can be easily eradicated with regular herbicide treatment. The best things you can do to keep your Berea lawn in tip top shape is watering it correctly and mowing it to the optimal length.

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Berea grass

Berea vs Kikuyu

As we’ve explored, Berea grass is an excellent choice for low mowing, low maintenance and its aesthetic appeal. However, to determine whether the grass is greener elsewhere, let’s compare Berea grass with Kikuyu, another option offered by Duzi Turf that is also suitable for domestic lawns.

Berea grows more slowly than kikuyu, but is more prolific than buffalo and only requires mowing about twice a month. Berea is more drought resistant than kikuyu. During winter, Berea goes dormant, while Kikuyu remains green.

Berea can grow in the semi-shade and in full sun but is highly frost sensitive out in the open. Kikuyu on the other hand does not like the shade, but is hardier in the cold and stays vibrant even during a moderate frost. As a surface runner, Berea grass should not be cut too short. It is a lower traffic grass than kikuyu and more sensitive in high footfall areas.


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