Kikuyu grass (Pennietum clandestinum) is a warm season perennial grass, grows low and indigenous to Kenyan highlands of Africa. It spreads robustly by seeds, stolons and rhizomes. Its leaves and stems are covered with some fine hairs. It is has a course texture and commonly used as turf grass in sub-tropical regions & mild coastal climates and as a forage. Today, many kikuyu grass advantages increase its demand for turf needs.
Due to its invasive characteristics, kikuyu grass has been listed as a Federal Noxiuos Weed. In most cases, it has been used mainly on parks, cemeteries and golf courses. However, the common kikuyu grass has become a leading turf grass species.
Kikuyu grass is distinguished from the Bermuda grass and St.Augustine grass due to its flat leaf blade, pointed leaf tip and the long fringe of hairs, which parallels the stem close to the leaf collar. In addition, Kikuyu grass has a prominent anther as well as a white filament that pulls out over the canopy on narrowly cut turf. Its white filaments are visible during fall and spring. After a day of mowing, the white filament returns giving a silvery cast to the turf.
This type of grass requires easy methods of propagation and establishment. The main methods of propagation are plugs, sod, seed and sprigs. However, transferring sod gives a solid turf cover. Seeds are easy to establish on bare soil. Plugs do well in the fall while sprigs can establish kikuyu grass in renovated or bare areas. Stolons are spread evenly over the soil either spiked or pressed. Good establishment is evident after a few weeks of good growth conditions.
One of the advantages of kikuyu is that is establishes quickly. Under warm and moist conditions, its shoot can grow up to 1” per day. Active growth occurs between temperatures of 600 to 900 F. However, it can also survive well at temperatures around 1000F. It can also tolerate any light frost, thus keeps has the best winter color retention.
The thick mat layer and rapid growth rate connected with kikuyu grass contribute to recovery from pivot injury and brilliant traffic tolerance. This grass also provides good ball support and playing conditions when closely mowed.
Tolerance on a wide range of soil conditions is among the kikuyu grass advantages. The optimum growth occurs in medium to heavy texture soils with neutral or alkaline pH. Kikuyu grass has good tolerance to drought, heat and salinity. It is favored by adequate soil moisture but can survive drought with a reduction in growth rate and slight color loss.
Kikuyu grass can survive with moderate level of maintenance. However, due to its rapid growth a successful management program that includes frequent mowing, carefully controlled nitrogen applications, thatch control, pest control, irrigation management and other frequent management practices should be established.
Kikuyu grass also competes well against weed invasion and has low nitrogen requirements. It also recovers quickly from any damage. Among the kikuyu grass advantages is its ability to beautifully green up giving your environment an attractive scenery .
If you’d like more information about kikuyu grass advantages or if you would like to purchase kikuyu turf for your home, contact the experts at Rivers Edge Turf today! We’re here and waiting to help!