Kikuyu grass, lawns made easy

Kikuyu grass gives you a solution against dry spells, foot traffic and watering.

Key Kikuyu facts

Name – Pennisetum clandestinum
Family – Poaceae
Type – grass

Height
 – 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary

Foliage
 – evergreen

Extremely easy to care for and with quick growth and spread, this turf plant is perfect to replace the grass in a lawn or dress a bare patch up.

Take note, though, that you’ll need to live in a region where the climate is mild in winter.

Sowing kikuyu grass

In spring, sow in much the same manner you would any type of grass used for traditional lawns.

  • Doses to follow are about ⅓ to ½ oz (10 to 12 g) to a square yard (1 m²).
  • Even though watering will become unnecessary after a few months, you still must water regularly until seeds sprout.
  • Germination of the kikuyu grass seeds should occur in just under two weeks (10 to 14 days). Keep watering for a few more weeks.
  • Growth is slow at the start, but kikuyu grass quickly speeds up after that and will spread across the entire surface it was sown on.

Preparing kikuyu grass cuttings

Kikuyu grass is very easy to propagate through cuttings or simply by transplanting it.

  • This can be done in April or May, just as for the sowing.
  • Select a cutting from the plant by digging out a portion of the rhizome and settle it in at the desired location.
  • Water often at the beginning.

Kikuyu turf also sends runners out as it spreads, like strawberries. Planting kikuyu runners is very easy and all you need to do is ensure a grass node is layered into a nursery pot. It will sprout roots and spread from there. You can also direct the runners to maximize coverage since secondary runners will appear and make the plot denser.

Mowing kikuyu grass

  • Kikuyu grass doesn’t cope well with being mown too often or too short.
  • Mowing is actually unneeded and in any case can be spaced far apart in time.

Advantages of kikuyu grass

Kikuyu grass gives you a solution against dry spells, foot traffic and watering.

Used for ages in Mediterranean regions in places where foot traffic was high, this grass native to tropical areas is slowly gaining popularity as a very interesting alternative to traditional lawn grasses.

Extremely easy to care for and with quick growth and spread, this plant is perfect for gardens located in areas where the climate is rather hot in summer and mild in winter.

Its resilient rhizomes overcome drought very easily and also cope well with otherwise difficult spots such as coastlines.

To sum it up:

  • Extremely drought-resistant
  • Spaces mowing and trimming further apart
  • Great for dry and even desert-like, warm climate
  • Watering unnecessary or extremely reduced

Disadvantages of kikuyu grass

However, apart from these numerous advantages, kikuyu grass does present several disadvantages:

  • It doesn’t like being trimmed too often and too short
  • Kikuyu grass tends to turn yellowish in winter
  • Kikuyu grass tends to turn invasive because it spreads fast

Smart tip about kikuyu grass

Kikuyu grass is an excellent barrier to block spread of weeds!

Note that you might get this grass confused with St Augustine (which you’ll find under the name Stenotaphrum secundatum in horticulture stores), which is thinner-leaved and doesn’t resist drought or foot traffic as well.

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  • Ashley Turns wrote on 19 April 2018 at 2 h 46 min

    Since my husband and I are planning on installing some new turf, we are wondering what type would be best. So thanks for mentioning that Kikuyu grass is very easy to care for and grows quickly. We will definitely have to put in some Kikuyu turg since we want our grass to grow quickly.

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