Kikuyu can grow rapidly in summer when conditions are favourable (warm and wet) and must be managed well to optimise pasture quality. Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) Description: Perennial. If it exceeds this, it will need slashing to promote new growth. Mowing, the key to a pristine, tidy lawn – get the timing and technique right! P should be applied to maintain soil P levels at or above 15 ppm. Summary: A creeping, aggressive, course, perennial lawn grass spreading by runners (stolons and rhizomes) and with seed heads that are hidden within the leaf structure and only showing long, white, thread like stamens at flowering in summer. Note that if left untouched, kikuyu grass will grow into a thick mat several inches thick (4 to 6 inches or about 10 to 15 cm). Pyricularia leaf-spot disease causes a leafspot, death of leaf tips, and in severe cases death of seedlings (usually only in plants weakened by nutrient deficiency). It does not grow well in the heat of summer or the cold of winter, and is generally sown in autumn (providing seedlings will have developed sufficiently by winter to withstand frost) or spring. Other articles where Kikuyu grass is discussed: weed: Biological control: Kikuyu grass, which was introduced into California to prevent soil erosion on hillsides and roadways, soon spread into orchards, turf, and crop areas, where it became a serious weed. The State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication. Under regular grazing or cutting it forms a dense turf, but otherwise can grow to about 30 or 40 cm deep. Leaves: Borne on short stems rising from the stolons. Only in spots that are bare or where many people walk constantly is it needed. 23%crude protein (CP), 50%NDF, 76% digestibility and 11.6 MJ/kg DM ME). A warm-season staple of Australian backyards, as well as sports fields, pastures, public areas and golf course fairways, Kikuyu is an excellent choice of grass to handle Australian conditions. It really needs full sun to prosper. Main insect pests: Army worms, sod web worms, african black beetle. Its resilient rhizomes overcome drought very easily and also cope well with otherwise difficult spots such as coastlines. Cows, goats, and lambs love eating kikuyu grass for fodder. In lawns*: LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle will suppress kikuyu without harm to the lawn grass.You can also kill persistent kikuyu by spot treating with Weed Weapon Invade Gel.Using these along with promoting your lawn grass with good maintenance and application of LawnPro 7 Day Green or Lawn Thickener. Planting kikuyu runners is very easy and all you need to do is layer a grass node into a nursery pot. This helps prevent the build up of rank material and encourages clover seed set. However, after 1 - 2 weeks, the quality declines rapidly to about 10% CP and less than 50% digestibility. Moisture – dry to swampy (all). Kikuyu grass is an excellent barrier to block spread of weeds! Height – 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) Legumes: 1. Since Warm Season grass grows most actively in Spring & Summer, this is when it needs to be fertilized most. Lush growth associated with excessive application of nitrogen can result in nitrate poisoning and even bloat, although the latter is rare. Do this in April or May (spring), just as for the sowing. Grows best between 15 and 25oC but will tolerate up to 40o C. Growth ceases when exposed to regular heavy frosts. Government customs intercepted a packet of unmarked seeds sent from there for quarantine. It grows best on well-structured, red basalt soils, but also on alluvial and fertilised moist sandy soils. Family – Poaceae, Type – grass March 27, 2013. Monitor grazing at this time to ensure runners are not being pulled out. 1-2(-3) kg/ha. Standard size rolls: 1m 2 (600mm x 1.67m). Kikuyu is most well known for being a highly invasive and aggressive grower and it is this trait that makes it suitable in some cases as a home lawn. 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. It performs best in soils with moderate acidity (pH 5.5-7.0), but tolerates pH as low as 4.5 and the often accompanying high aluminium and manganese. Kikuyu responds strongly to applied P and N and these are usually the limiting nutrients. Production over 11 months at Hamilton, SW Victoria in 2006/07 was 10.7 DM t/ha for a Kikuyu/subterranean clover pasture. Rapid summer growth rate with high yield potential. Check with your local agriculture office first. Moreover, in many mild and cool climates, temperatures are never hot enough to trigger blooming. Seedhead: Much reduced and largely enclosed by the leaf sheath at the top of the fertile shoot. Suited to very fertile, well-drained soils. Even though watering will become unnecessary after a few months, you still must water regularly until seeds sprout. It is also a good lawn grass. Hi Leon, you don’t need to fertilize kikuyu as you would weaker lawns. Since then, landscapers have sown it in many areas around the planet. In general, it produces about 15-30 kg DM per kg N applied. You should not plant it. Religion: The Kikuyus believe in their creator, God who they call Ngai and also in the spiritual presence of their ancestors. Responds well to nitrogen fertiliser in warm season. The aim is to have 30-40% kikuyu content. Kikuyu Grass Fast growing, hardy and likes good drainage Will usually grow in any soil, but we still recommend a good layer of top soil for a better finished job. In fact, there are no fungicides specifically registered against Kikuyu yellows. You can prevent the water borne fungus from spreading by taking care not to move the infected soil or grass to other areas of your lawn, and avoid walking through the yellowed patches, particular during damp weather. It can recover from drought conditions. The best time to sow kikuyu seed is when the soil temperature is above 20oC and there is a high probability of several days of good soil moisture. Grazing management is important to ensure the kikuyu is grazed sufficiently to allow regeneration of the clover sward. This compares with 9.2-10.4 for perennial ryegrass, 8.3 for chicory, 11.8 for lucerne and 12.2 for tall fescue. Unlike most other varieties of grass, there aren’t very many different types of Kikuyu grass to choose from. Crushed blades of kikuyu grass are slightly astringent. It will sprout roots and spread from there. Leaves on the seed-bearing (fertile) shoots are shorter than those on the purely vegetative (sterile) shoots. Aim for 4.5 leaves per tiller with cattle or 2 leaves per tiller with sheep to maximise quality and quantity. It has a deep root system (to >3 m). Grasses: Kikuyu should not be sown with other grass species generally although short-lived ryegrass can be oversown in late autumn to provide winter feed. One fungal disease that Kikuyu grass is susceptible to is Kikuyu Yellows. If you work it between the blades of grass with a rake, Great for dry and even desert-like, warm climate, Watering unnecessary or extremely reduced, It doesn’t like being trimmed too often and too short, Kikuyu grass tends to turn yellowish in winter. Kikuyu can spread rapidly from rhizomes and stolons. Kikuyugrass is a perennial grass that grows best under cool to warm temperatures (60° to 90°F) and moist conditions; however, it also survives well at high temperatures (100°F). Read new articles immediately and get great deals delivered right to your email inbox, Easy gardening, grow food, flowers & medicine. Interest in it was spurred by the fact that it is well-suited to golf terrains, especially the wide spans of rough. So in a way, we could say it’s native to Kenya and Uganda… and probably a few other countries, as well! Many Australians grew up with Kikuyu, as it’s one of the few grasses that can be grown almost anywhere in the country. Requires high fertility for sustained production. Need advice? In fact, you could have brought Kikuyu seed onto your own lawn just by visiting your mate’s house and walking across his Kikuyu grass. The “Kikuyu” people, a prominent tribe that excelled in agriculture and had deep knowledge of nature, inspired the name for the plant. Seeds: The kikuyu grain (caryopsis) is dark brown, ovoid in shape, about 2.5 mm long and 1.5 mm broad. Kikuyu Yellows infects the root system, causing root rot and subsequently grass death in a circular pattern. Select a cutting from the plant by digging out a portion of the rhizome and settle it in at the desired location. As a result, sometimes the plant’s origin is said to be Uganda – right in the middle of Congo and Kenya! Kikuyu grass gives you a solution against dry spells, foot traffic and watering. Temperate: clover (balansa, subterranean, white). For farms and homesteads, kikuyu is a great grass for grazing animals, since it grows back quickly and copes well with trodding. De soort komt van nature voor in het gebied van Oost-Afrika waar de Kikuyu stam woont. Requires good management to maintain feed quality. Is it wise to use kraal manure or chicken manure to fertilize Kikuyu lawn? Kikuyu Grass Types. Hard grazing also encourages clover growth. Kikuyu grass became very popular across South Africa, professionally and domestically. About 400,000 seeds/kg. Rank kikuyu is more likely to be damaged by frost than is well grazed kikuyu. However, it is also a popular garden lawn species in Australia, New Zealand, South Africaand the southern region of California in the United States, as it is inexpensive and moderate drought-tolerant. He then collaborated with an australian university to make the new, amazing grass available throughout the continent as fodder and lawn material. Because of its rapid growth and aggressive nature, it is categorised as a noxious weed in some regions. 4:07. Name – Pennisetum clandestinum Used for dairy pastures in Queensland, NSW and far-eastern Victoria. Although native to the entire East Africa area, kikuyu grass was first studied and imported to the USA from Kenya, in the center of that region. Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois): Below 20o C, germination may still occur but seedlings will be slower to establish and more susceptible to moisture stress and waterlogging. However, apart from these numerous advantages, kikuyu grass does present several disadvantages: Note: in some places, Kikuyu is invasive. It is definitely a very interesting alternative to traditional lawn grasses. Once the Kikuyu seed is in a fine leaf and low growing lawn such as Couch or Zoysia, the invader can be easily spotted and removed before it takes a foothold. But, during this long, dry season it is easy to see its positive attributes, especially in sandy areas. The second theory is that they came from a mythical place called Shungwaya, which is present day Somalia. It can tolerate some waterlogging and up to 10 days inundation, as well as moderate salinity levels. Spring: Maintain grazing pressure to keep pasture below 5cm (1400 kg/ha). While it may grow in areas with average annual rainfall as low as 700 mm in the eastern subtropics, it is really only productive where annual averages are above about 1000 mm. Although moderately drought tolerant, it responds well to irrigation, and produces most active growth during periods of high humidity. Soil N should be supplied as spring and autumn dressings of 50-100 kg/ha or through the legume component. Temperate: clover (balansa, subterranean, white). Kikuyu will smother any other weed that might grow on a lawn, like clover for instance. This is largely a reflection of poor management due mostly to under-grazing over summer-autumn and inadequate fertiliser use. Average quality of kikuyu silage has been assessed at 13.5% CP, 64% NDF, 64% digestibility, and 9.7 MJ/kg DM ME. Sometimes it even spreads so fast, it has become invasive! The aim is to achieve 30 - 40 plants/m2. Learn more about kikuyu grass Availability of other nutrients, particularly potash, should be monitored and corrected as necessary. Kikuyu, Bantu-speaking people who live in the highland area of south-central Kenya, near Mount Kenya. Kikuyu Grass Pennisetum Clandestinum. This is a sub-tropical disease and is unlikely to be a major problem is temperate Australia. Inoculation: N/A: Major nutrient deficiencies: Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur. It doesn’t need much watering, and copes well with dry air, which made it ideal for California at the time. Widely naturalised on higher-fertility coastal soils. Hi Kikuyu poisoning occurs sporadically in cattle, especially where rapid growth follows a protracted dry period. De meest gebruikte Engelse naam is kikuyu grass. Doses to follow are about ⅓ to ½ oz (10 to 12 g) to a square yard (1 m²). A collaboration between AWI, GRDC, MLA, RIRDC and Dairy Australia. Kikuyu grass. Kikuyu is widely adapted but prefers fertile, at least moderately drained, light to medium textured soils. After 2 months, the mowing interval is increased to 5 days. P levels change with season, falling as the species became dormant. It is beneficial to scarify warm season lawns first in spring when an application of 5:1:5 can be introduced onto the roots at 50g / m². Ideal for full sun. This will require more stock as growth rates increase. You can apply them on small cut wounds to help stop blood flow. Growth is slow at the start, but kikuyu grass quickly speeds up after that. Keep in mind that the parts under the sunlight grow a lot faster than the ones that are in the shade. My lawn has been taken over over the years by kikuyu grass, but I have noticed that clover and burr clover have no problem thriving in patches in it. Take note, though, that you’ll need to live in a region where the climate is mild in winter. 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