Kikuyu Grass is considered by some as a decorative type of grass, but for most people, it’s not that great to use for aesthetic purposes because it grows aggressively.
Kikuyu Grass first grew in East Africa before it grew in the inland valleys of Central and Southern California. It’s also commonly found in temperate areas, and was first brought to California’s ditch banks to hopefully reduce erosion. But, since it grew fast, and was hard to control, especially in the 1900’s, it was then branded as a pest.
How it grows and what it does
This type of grass usually grows during summer, and is able to absorb nutrients from the soil fast, that’s why it grows rapidly. During winter, it might turn dormant, but for tropical countries, it may grow throughout the year, but in a slower motion.
You’ll know that the type of grass in your yard or garden is kikuyu grass when you notice its pointed tips, and see leaf blades that are flat, and when you see hairs growing from the stems. There are also anthers or pollen sacs with white casts and filaments. Pistil is found in the lower portion, and leaf sheaths produce seeds. It generally has a coarse texture which also does not make it good for decorative purposes.
In late spring, it grows fast again, until fall arrives. It grows at least an inch per day and becomes flowery when the weather is humid. Then, it spreads out towards other plants, through its root, and thick, fleshy and hairy stems. It has underground stems, as well, and can produce roots and shoots from its nodes.
What’s dangerous about this is that it makes its way to ornamental and maybe even fruit-bearing plants and trees. When this happens, it gets the nutrients that the plants are supposed to have for themselves, and may invade golf courses, too. Golf courses have to be mowed and weeded when this type of grass is around. It also interferes with irrigation.
Basically, you can control the growth of kikuyu grass by making sure that it does not spread out to other areas. How can you be sure of this? Well, getting a gutter guard is a good start, as it will keep the grass where it’s just supposed to be, and prevent it from making its way to your other plants.
Cultivation, mowing, and having good renovation equipment for your garden such as aerators, sod cutters, rakes, or seeders can also be helpful to ensure that your garden will be rid of this kind of grass, and to be sure that what you’ll be planting in the future will grow healthy and will stand the test of time.
Putting ornamental plants and dense turf grass can also be good because they give shade to the surface of the soil, which means that seedlings and sprigs of the said grass would have a hard time growing.
And, you can also try solarization, especially during July to September, or during summer season. Keep these things in mind and sooner or later, kikuyu grass won’t be a problem anymore.
Here is a short video that will help you with further information on Kikuyu Grass.
Best of luck managing your kikuyu lawn!