Kikuyu Lawn

A vigorous growing lawn that can withstand high levels of traffic. Grows well on any well drained fertile soil, and holds its colour well throughout the year.

This lawn has a high cold and frost tolerance unless it is heavy frost.

Kikuyu is not suited for small areas as the runners become invasive to nearby gardens. It is not shade tolerant, requiring at least 6 hours of sunlight. During the warm seasons, Kikuyu requires regular mowing, once a week.

Because Kikuyu is easy to grow, it’s a popular choice for large areas such as parks and ovals.

Texture: Medium to course.

Description: A rhizomatous and stoloniferous prostrate species, which forms a dense mat. Stolons are multi-branched with short internodes. Rooting occurs at the nodes. Leaf blades 1.25 – 5 cm long, 3 – 4 mm wide, folded at first, then flattening. The leaf sheaths are yellow-green. Flowers are rare and appear on leafy, vegetative side shoots with only the stamens visible above the leaf sheaths.

Use: Lawns, parks, cemeteries, golf course fairways, playing fields, air strips, race courses and erosion control.

Mowing height: Requires frequent mowing to maintain a tight sward. Scalps easily. Mow every 7 – 10 days in summer and less frequently in winter as the growth rate slows. Mow at 30 – 40 mm. Lower cutting heights require more frequent maintenance.

Method of propagation: Vegetative – rolls, sprigs.

Preferred soil types: Thrives on high fertility well-drained soils. pH 6.5 preferred, but will tolerate acidic soils to pH 4.5. Not suited to heavy clays.

Comments: Has a high nitrogen requirement and needs phosphorous levels at or above 15 ppm. High thatching tendency. Dethatch in late spring. Needs intensive management for high quality lawns or fairways. If poorly managed, the surface can interfere with ball roll on golf fairways. Can tolerate some water-logging and inundation.

Can be an invasive weed. Once established can be difficult to eradicate. Encroaches into adjacent areas such as garden beds and golf course bunkers.

Heat: Poor tolerance of extreme heat.

Cold: Growth declines below 7°C. Exposed foliage damaged by frosts at -2°C, but plant will survive temperatures to -9°C. Good colour retention in winter.

Shade: Tolerates partial shade. Does not grow well in deep shade.

Drought: Prefers areas with reliable root zone moisture. Relatively poor drought tolerance, mitigated by capacity to form a deep root system in suitable soils.

Salinity: Although sometimes found in coastal sand dunes, this is misleading due to high levels of leaching. Experiment results indicate poor salinity tolerance.

Wear: Recovers rapidly from wear.

Herbicide sensitivity: A broad range of registered chemicals is available for controlling weeds in kikuyu.

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