How to Grow and Maintain a Kikuyu Grass Lawn

Developing and maintaining a Kikuyu grass garden requires minimum watering, fertilizer, mowing, and pest and sickness control. but, Kikuyu grows vigorously. If house owners want to hold the grass from overgrowing and decrease the danger of thatch build-up, common mowing is needed.
Kikuyu is a noxious weed, so seed cargo might also solely be available to certain areas of the usa, like Hawaii, Arizona, and southern areas of California. keep reading for extra facts in this invasive weed that has been embraced as a garden grass.

Kikuyu Grass at a glance

  1. category: heat-season grass
  2. Spreads with the aid of: Rhizomes and stolons (runners)
  3. Soil kind: Adapts to many soil sorts, however prefers fertile, reasonably tired soil. Grows satisfactory in pink basalt soil; additionally grows in moist, fertilized sandy soil
  4. Soil pH: 5.five –, however can face up to tiers as low as 4.5
  5. Mowing top: 1 – 1.5 inches
  6. coloration tolerance: moderate
  7. Drought resistance: excessive
  8. Foot site visitors tolerance: excessive foot traffic and put on tolerance
  9. renovation needs: Low
  10. capacity for disease: Low
  11. Insect pest tolerance: excessive

The fundamentals of Kikuyu Grass

Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) is a warm-season perennial grass that grows exceptional in climates with mild winters. It belongs to the Poaceae plant circle of relatives and is local to East Africa. The grass is best tailored to the coastal and inland regions of Central and Southern California. In some components of California, like coastal regions and some inland regions, Kikuyu is taken into consideration a weed because it grows vigorously.
Kikuyu grows into thick mats and crowds out different grass species. It invades golfing publications and ornamentals in home lawns, like ground cover and vegetation in flower beds. In these instances, it acts as a weed and outcompetes preferred plants for mild and nutrients.

Why pick out Kikuyu grass?

This turf species also has benefits. it’s far used on golfing guides in areas that require low renovation. certain varieties are used for erosion manipulate.
owners have come to embody the stunning light green grass that used to be once regarded specially as a weed. other than needing climates with mild winters to thrive, Kikuyu has many features that make it clean to develop and hold. It has a excessive warmth tolerance and recovers well from droughts.
The coarse texture may be a flip-off for folks that like to walk barefoot or tumble on their lawn, however Kikuyu makes up for its coarseness with its low preservation. It recovers fast from serious damage and slight wear, and it tolerates sicknesses and bug pests. Kikuyu is likewise a fave due to its thick, lush ground masking.
In milder climates, this grass typically stays active and keeps its coloration in the iciness. In chillier climates, it commonly browns in past due fall and is going dormant till overdue wintry weather or early spring.
Kikuyu vs. different grass kinds: Kikuyu grass can be effortlessly careworn with St. Augustine grass. Kikuyu has leaf blades that are flatter, pointed, and slightly hairy, at the same time as St. Augustine’s leaf blades are creased, have rounded guidelines, and are clean.
Kikuyu grass is just like Bermudagrass in that they each grow quick in warm temperatures and extreme mild. but, Kikuyu has the introduced property of being capable of grow nicely at decrease temperatures, too.
be aware: due to the fact Kikuyu grass is invasive, it’s far considered a Federal noxious weed, which means the neighborhood, kingdom, or Federal authorities has described it as “injurious to public fitness, agriculture, endeavor, wildlife or assets.” The government can take measures to govern weeds under this classification. as an instance, the turfgrass company West Coast Turf states that Kikuyu grass is produced and bought under certain obstacles in Texas, Arizona, and California.

Kikuyu Grass varieties

Kikuyu grass is famous in locations like Hawaii and Australia, in which they’ve many cultivars of this species which have been developed or tested for the vicinity. a few types had been improved to have finer leaf blades or seed heads which can be less noticeable than other varieties. right here are some examples of not unusual Kikuyu lines and hybrids:

Village green Kikuyu

  • Breakwell
  • Whittet
  • Kenda
  • Kabete

pros and Cons of Kikuyu Grass

photograph savings: wooded area & Kim Starr / Wikimedia Commons / CC with the aid of three.0
Kikuyu grass may be invasive and outcompete different plants for nutrients, but it has blessings, too. See why this grass might also or might not work to your garden.


✓ excessive drought resistance
✓ Recovers quick from slight wear and extreme damage
✓ excellent foot visitors tolerance
✓ No serious disease or pest issues
✓ Tolerates excessive warmth
✓ Adaptable to a extensive range of soil pH stages
✓ Withstands severe light, so it grows properly in full sun


✗ Low bloodless tolerance
✗ Scalps whilst mowed too quick or too once in a while
✗ Accumulates good sized thatch
✗ needs common mowing to save you overgrowth and thatch construct-up
✗ can be tough to mow due to its coarse texture and thatch accumulation
✗ Invasive and outcompetes desired plant life and grasses

How Do You establish Kikuyu Grass?

This grass spreads fast, but edging will assist prevent the grass roots from extending too some distance underground. right here’s a step-by using-step technique on a way to set up Kikuyu grass from seed:
  1. set up edging next to flower beds and regions that you do no longer need Kikuyu to unfold to.
  2. dispose of weeds from the vicinity that is being seeded.
  3. stage the soil so that the surface is even.
  4. moist the region, then unfold the seeds flippantly.
  5. Water the lawn after the seeds are unfold. hold the seeds moist until they’re set up. study our on hand manual on watering grass seed nicely for greater info.
you can additionally begin a Kikuyu lawn by using propagating via cuttings or transplanting. within the spring, dig out some of the rhizomes and replant them inside the desired region. deliver the area plenty of water to set up the lawn grass.
A Kikuyu garden can also be started with the aid of placing runners at the soil and pushing the grass nodes slightly into the soil.

The fee of beginning Kikuyu Grass

Kikuyu grass seed charges rely upon variety and quantity. Twenty seeds may cost as little as $7.00, while a hundred seeds can variety from about $nine.50 to $15.50. assume to unfold about 2 handfuls of seed for every rectangular meter.
be aware: Kikuyu grass seeds can solely be shipped to positive areas of the USA, so that you may not be capable of get them shipped to your region.
Cuttings, transplanting, and runners. the best component approximately those propagation strategies is that you can use Kikuyu that’s developing some place else as a substitute of having to purchase it. you could additionally look for runners at your nearby nursery or garden middle.

whilst to start Kikuyu Grass

A Kikuyu garden can be established for the duration of any season. The high-quality time to seed a Kikuyu lawn is early spring to early fall while the soil temperature is greater than 70 levels.
Kikuyu grass grows fantastic while it is wet and the temperature is among 60 and 90 ranges Fahrenheit. It also grows in extremely excessive temperatures, like 100 stages Fahrenheit.
choosing between a hundred% Kikuyu Grass and a combined Grass garden
Kikuyu is pricey and causes weed troubles whilst used on my own, so it’s far usually combined with annual ryegrass. The sluggish boom dependency of Kikuyu makes weeds difficult to control, however annual ryegrass acts as brought help. The mixture is usually 85 to ninety% annual ryegrass to Kikuyu. Ryegrass goes dormant and dies on the stop of summer, in the end making Kikuyu the important grass.

the way to care for Kikuyu Grass

right here are some tips on a way to care for Kikuyu grass:
  • Mowing
  • Water
  • Fertilization
  • Dethatching and Aeration
  • disorder and insects
  • Weeds
  • Mowing
Kikuyu is a turfgrass that keeps nicely with forget. It must now not be mowed too frequently. however, Kikuyu’s energetic increase pattern easily ends in overgrowth. The grass can develop as tall as four to 6 inches and right into a thick mat when left uncut. Mowing it frequently not solely prevents overgrowth but additionally reduces the risk of thatch build-up.
Mow it down to 1 to at least one.5 inches. ideally, you need to reduce it before it’s 3 to four inches tall. when it’s about 6 inches tall, the grass will become more at risk of pests, diseases, and thatch accumulation.


even though Kikuyu is drought-resistant, it needs a number of water to establish. Water robotically till seeds germinate and for some weeks after the seeds sprout. The grass calls for deep and rare irrigation to ensure its roots set up deeply in the soil. This also facilitates the grass have a sturdy drought tolerance. Do no longer overwater as it promotes shallow root boom and makes the garden extra liable to disease.
To reduce evaporation, irrigate early inside the morning or late within the afternoon. For guidelines on whilst to water your garden, test our article approximately how frequently you should water your garden.


one among Kikuyu’s blessings is that it wishes little fertilizer, particularly whilst the weather is heat. restricted fertilization is suggested when the temperature is improved in the summer time. making use of fertilizer in autumn and iciness allows the grass keep its color in cooler temperatures.
Use fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). A balanced fertilizer encourages wholesome root improvement and inexperienced grass and gives the garden the desired nourishment.
Use 2 kilos of nitrogen for every 1,000 rectangular toes. house owners can fertilize a Kikuyu lawn lightly when the grass is actively growing inside the early spring and late summer time into the autumn.
want help deciding on a fertilizer? take a look at out our manual on how to pick the right garden fertilizer and observe our list of the great fertilizers for grass for thoughts.

Dethatching and Aeration

like several turf, Kikuyu grass will benefit from lawn aeration because it will assist the grass roots acquire water, air, and nutrients. It’s quality to aerate Kikuyu one to 2 instances yearly, either within the spring or at some stage in the length within the fall when the grass is growing. Use a mechanical aerator or aerate manually. Kikuyu is liable to thatch accumulation, so dethatch often.

disorder and bugs

In standard, Kikuyu grass has high disease tolerance. In areas like California, it has no sizeable disorder or insect troubles. We’ve covered a few sicknesses and pests that can infect this turfgrass. whilst treating the grass, make sure to apply insecticides which can be categorized for Kikuyu grass.
  • winter fusarium
  • dollar spot
  • Leaf spot
  • lawn grubs
  • Armyworms
  • Cutworms
  • Weeds
monitor the turfgrass for weeds frequently and use manual techniques or herbicides for remedy. apply pre-emergent herbicides as according to the label and use them sparingly to save you grass harm.
Use a broadleaf herbicide after 3 to five weeks of lively grass growth. Do no longer apply too much of the herbicide or it may harm immature seeds. observe in the spring, summer time, and fall as critical.
The weed Paspalum may be eliminated manually with a screwdriver. Re-seed the vicinity if it is thin.

How lengthy after seeding can you mow a Kikuyu garden?

A Kikuyu garden can be mowed after it’s miles mounted, which is about 3 weeks after seeding.

How lengthy does it take Kikuyu seeds to germinate?

It takes approximately 2 weeks or less for Kikuyu seeds to germinate. Seeds commonly develop after approximately 10 to 14 days.

where does Kikuyu grass develop first-class?

Kikuyu grows nice in heat, temperate climates with mild winters. The grass is high-quality adapted to the coast and inland valleys of Central and Southern California.

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