Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kikuyu - Accursed Grass Species.

In an earlier post, the three dominant lawn species on the North Shore were mentioned:

  • Buffalo
  • Kikuyu and
  • Couch. 

Buffalo is the dominant local species but with so many older homes around here, the other two are also quite often found and usually as an invasive species.

In the past, Kikuyu was seen to be a panacaea for lawns. It's fast growing, it's pretty much self-healing and it fitted in with that ideal of a close-napped species which was ideal for very short lawns. Best of all, it was cheap and fashionable. Times and fashions change, as do environmental sensibilities.

These days, it's classified as a noxious weed in some parts of Australia.

Owing to its growing habit of being thickly matting and being an aggressive grower, it is a high maintenance lawn. While that was more acceptable in the past, most householders are now time-poor and end up with a matted mess which takes considerable work to correct if the maintenance schedule slips. As an aggressive grower, it will find its way into garden beds and other places it shouldn't be. It can choke out many plants of much higher value. It also is reputed to exude a toxin which kills other plants.

An untended Kikuyu lawn can grow up to 300 mm in less than eight weeks - sometimes up to 450 mm in optimal conditions. Owing to its dense growth habit, mowing at this stage is a serious undertaking. It can be quite costly and time consuming to return that wild and wooly growth to being a lawn, let alone a common grassed area. 

Overall, it's nasty and high-maintenance. If you have recently purchased a property which has a couch lawn, consider having it killed off and tilled back into the ground and new turf installed. You will be much happier for many more years than trying to fight this monster.

If you're considering a new lawn or patching an existing one, please consider one of the modern soft-leaf Buffalo varieties. There is not a big cost difference at purchase and installation time, but there is a massive cost difference for maintenance in the long term.

Questions? You're welcome to e-mail us and we'll help you or you can leave a comment below.

Next time, we'll talk about Couch grass.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! We love to hear opinions of other lawn and garden fanatics.