A good lawn consists of a carpet of beautiful green grass. This is the picture that comes into mind when we think of what type of grass to plant on our lawns. One of the greatest challenges here in Australia is to get a type of lawn grass that can put up with the dry spells. In order to understand it, we believe you need a Kikuyu Grass description. Kikuyu grass is one of the most compatible if not the best type of lawn grass for the Australian weather. The scientific name for Kikuyu grass is Pennisetum clandestinum. The origin of Kikuyu grass is the East Africa region where it grows in the lower tropic regions. Kikuyu grass has been introduced to many parts of the world including Australia, Hawaii and Arizona. Despite being categorized as a noxious weed in some parts of the world, Kikuyu grass has many qualities that make it a suitable lawn grass in Australia.
Kikuyu grass is a rough, perennial, drought- resistant lawn grass that is very leafy and deeply rooted. It grows on loam, clay, alluvial and fertilized sandy soils. The grass spreads by numerous large creeping stolons and rhizomes thus forming a large fibrous root network. It spreads very fast by producing a network of thick, fleshy stems. This network of stems forms a thick mat above the soil surface. Its invasive potential is very high and is listed as one of the “World’s worst weeds of cropping”. However, it is important to note that Kikuyu grass becomes a noxious weed when there are abundant rain and very fertile soils. The leaves of Kikuyu grass have pointed leaf tips and flat leaf blades. Leaves are 10 – 150 millimetres long and 1 – 5 millimetres wide. Seeds form inside the leaf sheaths and are very small. Kikuyu grass normally obtains a height of between 70 and 150 millimetres. Kikuyu grass is highly competitive and therefore cannot be planted with other grasses.
One of the major advantages of Kikuyu grass is that it is drought resistant. This enables to stay green all year round. Heavy grazing can be used to control the growth of the grass. Kikuyu grass spreads quickly from rhizomes and stolons on suitable soils. It tolerates a wide range of mowing heights. In case of a fire outbreak, Kikuyu grass is rarely burnt and recovers even from severe fires. It is also inexpensive.
Kikuyu grass provides high-quality animal feed and is therefore considered as an important pasture grass. It is used to provide fodder grass during spring, summer and autumn in coastal areas. Kikuyu grass recovers quickly from hoof damage and human traffic damage and is therefore used in racecourses and golf courses. The extensive network of roots and stems make Kikuyu grass well suited for erosion control, especially on irrigation channels. In sandy areas, it is used as a sand stabilizer. It also provides good ground cover.
The rhizomes of Kikuyu grass can cause a weed problem if not properly controlled. The grass forms dense mats which choke up other plants that grow where it is planted. It also contains some allergenic substance that affects some people.
Given the Kikuyu grass description above, I hope you are now convinced that you should plant Kikuyu grass on your lawn. All you have to do is properly maintain the grass and you will not be disappointed by the results. All the best. Contact us at Rivers Edge Turf to find out more or to order your grass today!