We see grasses everywhere. At the field, near the beach, beside the road, even in our backyard. They come in different colors, sizes and kinds. The kikuyu grass is one of the many kinds of grass. It is a warm weather grass that can tolerate heat and still do well under shady areas. It is susceptible to cold weather but recovers quickly with moderate or even severe injury. Although it was originally native to Africa, this grass was introduced to Australia in 1919 and then a couple of years after that, it was introduced to California. In California, they refer to it as superweed. Why? It gained its title just like any other grass being stubborn and overtaking. This grass can spread to about an inch every single day. In Australia, it is popularly used in lawns and even in golf courses.
Features of a kikuyu grass
Kikuyu grass is course in texture with a light green color. Their leaves are flat, folded and has tiny hairs. When left alone, it can grow for up to the height of 18 inches. Its roots are the secret to how this grass can easily spread throughout your lawn. Just like any other grass, the Kikuyu has rhizomes in its roots and spread beneath the ground. Every bulb of rhizome can then produce another plant which later emerges from the ground. These roots are extremely stubborn that if you leave just a single bulb onto the ground after pulling out would cause another growth for the plant.
Grasses have a reputation of alienating lawns spreading out like a parasite. The same goes with this grass. With its mulish property, others would prefer making use of the grass than getting rid of it. This grass is not only good with overrunning your lawns. It has distinct characteristics which can be made into good use. It has high tolerance to drought, disease, insects, and varying temperatures. It keeps a good color even in the cold season. It is ideal for those who want to have a low maintenance turf. Excellent in erosion control and grows well where other grasses don’t. This makes it suitable for recreational areas the likes of sports field and lawns.
Dealing with the kikuyu grass
Seeing unwanted grass just like the kikuyu grass growing in your lawn would cause an alarm. Immediately one would approach it and try to pull it off the ground. Removing this grass involves more than just grab and pull. You have to remember that its parts grow into another grass when left lying on the ground. Carefully pull it off the ground making sure that you don’t leave any part of the plant behind. If necessary, use a spade or fork to loosen the soil around the grass before taking it out. In cases when the grass has spread all over, you might want to use bigger tools. Using chemicals can be very effective only if they are done the right way. Have a specialist deal with the problem if it’s way out of hand. Or you can embrace its presence and just think of it as a better way of having than a barren piece of land.
The kikuyu grass is a popular grass used for lawns and sports like soccer and golf. It is a perennial grass and grows all year round. Stubborn as it is, this makes it a perfect grass for areas the is constantly exposed to wear and tear. Although just like any other grass, having this installed in areas like your lawn, the kikuyu will need tending to. A lot of experts say that lawn care has a lot of problems most of which coming from mowing. Some would mow their lawns when the still is not at the right height and with a machine with unsharpened blades.
Grasses have different heights when they grow to an optimum level. Cutting them at just the right height will increase the density of grasses in your lawn since they are maintained to a height where their growth is at best. In cutting it, there is a simple guideline that you should follow. Cut up to no more than a third of the leaf surface of the grass. Grasses in shady areas should have increased mowing height to about two centimetres. It is also important that you keep the blades of the mower sharp. You are supposed to cut the grass not tear it apart.
Care for kikuyu grass: Fertilizing
Fertilizer provides nutrients to your lawn and makes your plants grow better. A lawn with kikuyu grass on it will need the same kind of care. You can have the soil tested to see which kinds of nutrients it lacks and from there base the kind of fertilizer and program it needs.
Fertilizing products are abundant in the market. Having any doubts about its application, you should seek consultation to experts who can guide you with the technical issues included in the process. In cool seasons like autumn, fertilizing the lawn is advised. Applying fertilizer in autumn proves to make great quality of grass in spring. With your lawn still having good color by the end of the season, you can have the fertilizer applied to a later date.
Care for kikuyu grass: Watering
Watering the lawn is the most common thing that we do. Unfortunately, mindlessly watering it just for the sake of getting it wet isn’t enough. Watering is done to replace the amount of moisture from the soil and the grass which is lost by evaporation. Too much water or less will affect and stress your lawn.
The time involved when you water your lawn is important. You should be watering it at the time of day when water will less likely to evaporate. Early morning would be a good time way before the sun rises to its peak and heats up the evaporation process.
As to how much water needed and how often it needs to be watered, it would be best to consult a professional gardener regarding your lawn. Since there is a test involved as to the rate of evaporation and the amount of water your sprinkler sprays before these two factors are answered.
The kikuyu grass in your lawn will only be at its best if you give it enough care. Take the time to learn about it and help it out.
At peak condition during summer, the kikuyu grass is a perennial type of plant that survives all throughout the year. It creeps across any land area and often becoming a headache to lawn gardeners. Such a downside can still be overlooked as this grass is known to be a staple for some farm animals. This grass can adapt to a wide range of soil types and can survive extreme weather conditions. It can regenerate at a fast speed making it look lush even after a frost. It is a great plant for erosion control and can help in holding water for harvest.
Raising Kikuyu grass
Planting kikuyu grass isn’t much of a challenge. Even on slopes and rocky areas where machineries would have a hard time, the grass can be established without much difficulty. It can be done by vegetative material like the stolons or rhizomes of the plant or through seeding. Below are vegetative planting methods that can be done with this grass.
Spot planting is one vegetative planting method that can be done. This can be used in areas where the slope is really steep or there are too much stone that using machineries is impossible. This method has proven to be successful under such conditions. In this method, you need to clear the area by spraying herbicide and then burning after the process or simply burn it.
Disc, one that is off-set can be used in removing the plant material needed for planting the grass. It is also used in incorporating the materials into the area where you want it planted. It should be set to cut a depth of 10 – 15 cm as you disc out the sods. You then pick it up and on an even manner, spread out to the area. The area will be disced lightly to a depth of 10 – 115 cm twice before the rolling takes place.
Plough with a single to three furrow mouldboard is commonly used to make furrows for the planting materials. The width should be about 90 cm. The materials are then placed within the row to the height of 5 cm of the leaf from ground level. Use the tractor wheel to roll through the area after you have planted the last of the materials.
Rotovator or rotary plough can be used to lift out and plant the grass. In using this machine, the rear flap is lifted as you lift the planting material then closing the flap while you put the material into the soil. The speed you set on your tractor is important. It should be set to about the speed of a walking person. The recommended depth to be set in this machine should be 6 – 10 cm. It is important that you keep an eye to the depth by which the materials are being planted. This is key to a successful planting of the grass.
After planting the kikuyu grass
Once you have finished planting the kikuyu grass onto your field, it is advisable that you put on extra amount of fertilizer that contains phosphorous. This will encourage the roots, rhizomes or stolons of the plant to grow away from the plant. This will encourage spreading of the grass.