Kikuyu lawns are a popular choice in Australia due to their unique characteristics, which make them well-suited to the country’s climate and landscape. Kikuyu is a warm-season grass that thrives in hot, dry conditions, and it has a deep root system that allows it to withstand drought and recover quickly from damage.
One of the main advantages of Kikuyu lawns is their resilience. They are fast-growing and hard-wearing, making them ideal for high-traffic areas such as sports fields and playgrounds. Kikuyu lawns are also require little water or fertilization to remain healthy and vibrant.
Popular Varieties of Kikuyu
There are several different varieties of Kikuyu lawn in Australia, each of which has been bred to enhance specific traits.
One popular variety is ‘Village Green Kikuyu,’ Australian bred Kikuyu grass has been rigorously tested under Australian conditions. Village Greenmaintains its rich emerald green colour and dense coverage throughout the winter months. Unlike other varieties of Kikuyu Village green does not have noticeable seed heads,.
Another popular variety is known as ‘Kenda Kikuyu,’ which was developed by turf breeders in Queensland. Kenda is excellent for high traffic home lawns, sporting facilities, schools, public amenity spaces or any area (except shade) that requires a turf to perform under the stress of extreme wear.
Overall, Kikuyu lawns are a great choice for Australian homeowners and landscapers. They are hard-wearing, low-maintenance, and well-suited to the country’s climate and landscape. With a range of different varieties to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect Kikuyu lawn for any purpose.
3 Big Positives For Kikuyu
There are several advantages to buying Kikuyu lawns over other warm-season grasses available in Australia. Here are three of the biggest positives:
- Resilience: Kikuyu lawns are known for their resilience and hard-wearing nature. They are fast-growing and can withstand heavy foot traffic, making them ideal for high-traffic areas like sports fields and playgrounds.
- Drought-tolerant: Kikuyu lawns have a deep root system that allows them to tolerate drought conditions better than many other warm-season grasses. They require less water and can recover quickly from periods of drought, making them a great choice for areas with limited water resources.
- Winter Colour: Whilst Kikuyu, like other warm season grasses, will go dormant in colder climates, it often holds its colour for much longer than other warm season grasses like Buffalo and Couch. In some areas that have mild winters Kikuyu may continue actively growing and holding great colour year round.
3 Negatives of Kikuyu
While there are many advantages to buying Kikuyu lawns, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Here are three negatives to consider when buying Kikuyu lawns over other warm-season grasses available in Australia:
- Invasive nature: Kikuyu lawns can be invasive and may spread into other areas of the garden or yard if not contained. They can also be difficult to remove if you decide to replace them with another type of grass or plant.
- High maintenance: Kikuyu lawns grow very quickly during the summer months, which means they require more frequent mowing and maintenance to keep them looking their best.
- Limited shade tolerance: Kikuyu lawns are not well-suited to shady areas and can struggle to grow in areas with less than six hours of direct sunlight per day. If you have a heavily shaded yard or garden, other warm-season grasses may be a better choice.
How often should you mow a kikuyu lawn?
The short answer is as often as possible. Kikuyu lawns are fast-growing grasses, especially in warm weather conditions and when getting plenty of water.
For most of the growing season Kikuyu will need to be mown weekly to maintain a high quality finish. During periods of rapid growth, or if wanting a sub 15mm lawn, it may be necessary to mow more frequently to prevent the grass from becoming too long and difficult to manage.
The reason why this frequency is need is because it is important to avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade length in a single mowing, as this can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease and damage. More frequent mowing also leads to a tighter, more dense turf.
During the cooler months, Kikuyu lawns will grow more slowly and may require less frequent mowing. However, it is still important to maintain a regular mowing schedule to keep the grass healthy and attractive. Ultimately, the best approach to mowing a Kikuyu lawn will depend on the specific conditions in your yard or garden, so it’s important to monitor the grass growth and adjust your mowing schedule as needed.
What height should you cut kikuyu lawn?
The height at which you should cut a Kikuyu lawn will depend on several factors, including the time of year, the amount of rainfall, the desired height of cut and the desired appearance of the lawn. If cut frequently enough Kikuyu can be maintain at 15-25mm when cut with a cylinder mower and 30-50mm when cut with a rotary mower.
If your lawn is in a shaded area it will need to be cut higher to compensate for the lack of light. In addition, the shorter your kikuyu lawn is cut, the less resilient it will be to foot traffic or other wear and tear.
Ultimately, the best approach to mowing a Kikuyu lawn will depend on the specific conditions in your yard or garden. It is important to monitor the grass growth and adjust your mowing schedule and height as needed to keep the lawn healthy and attractive.
How low can Kikuyu be maintained? Can you create a bowling or putting green with Kikuyu?
Typically speaking Kikuyu is not the lawn you want if you are trying to create a bowling or putting green. Turf varieties with finer leaves, like couch grass, are better suited to these types of playing surfaces.
However, if you have Kikuyu at home and you want to make a hobbyist putting or bowling green with the lawn you already have, then it is possible to maintain Kikuyu below 7mm, I personally have seen Kikuyu maintained below 4mm. However, there is a lot of work and technical understanding in maintaining Kikuyu below 7mm, and lower you get, the more work is involved.
How much water do kikuyu lawns need each week?
The amount of water that a Kikuyu lawn requires each week will depend on a variety of factors, including temperature, humidity, rainfall, and soil type. In general, Kikuyu lawns require about 20-30mm of water per week during the summer months when temperatures are high and evapotranspiration rates are at their peak.
If your soil is compacted or hydrophobic you will greatly benefit from aeration and wetting agents as these will allow more water down to the roots, and increase root growth
What is the best fertiliser to use with Kikuyu lawns?
The best specific fertiliser for your Kikuyu lawn will depend on the time of year, the goal you have for your lawns and the starting state of your lawn. So there is no such thing as a one size fits all fertiliser. So, with that said here are the products that we use, and what situations we use them in.
Best fertiliser for rapid Kikuyu recovery: Lawn Play Renovate
Renovate is a granule fertiliser that has high rate of carbon coated nitrogen. This results in rapid growth and increase in colour.
It also has a full spectrum of trace elements with helps with the overall health of the plant.
If you have a patchy lawn, or your lawn has lost vigor and colour then this is a great option.
Click here to read more.
Increase Kikuyu Colour Without Increasing Growth: Lawnganics Brilliance
A common mistake I see, especially with Kukyu is overfertilising with nitrogen when the lawn is already healthy. Nitrogen causes rapdi growth, which is great for patchy lawns but too much on a healthy lawn will cause a thatchy lawn which is hard to mow.
Brilliance is a liquid fertiliser that has a very low rate of nitrogen and a high rate of iron. This will cause a rapid greening of the lawn but only minimal extra growth. Great for Kikuyu.
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Slow Release Fertiliser For Healthy Kikuyu Lawns: Lawn Play All Rounder
Slow release fertilisers are the best fertilisers for most Aussie households. Whilst they are not as good at repairing a tired lawn, they are fantastic at maintaining healthy lawns (especially for busy lawn lovers).
All Rounder has two forms of slow release nitrogen so it can last around 2-3 months per application. It also includes a full spectrum of trace elements which is great for lawns overall health.
Because the nitrogen is slow release it will not cause a spike in growth, which is great when maintaining Kikuyu.
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Encourage Root Growth in Kikuyu Lawns: Lawnganics Roots
Encouraging deep root is very important to Kikuyu lawns, especially in hot and dry areas.
Roots is a combination of organic fertilisers and soil health stimulants like mycorrhizal fungi, humates and kelp that help promote root growth.
Click here to read more.
There are a whole host of fertilisers that a suitable to use on Kikuyu here. We use and recommend products from The Lawn Shed all the time.
How often should kikuyu lawns be fertilised?
Kikuyu lawns benefit from regular fertilization to maintain healthy growth and appearance. Howev
When using a granule fertiliser it is recommended to fertilise Kikuyu lawns every 6-8 weeks during the growing season. During the cooler months, granule fertilisation may be less frequent or may not be necessary at all depending on your climate, as Kikuyu grass can go dormant during this time.
When using a liquid fertiliser it is recommended to fertiliser Kikuyu lawns every 2-4 weeks. This can be done year round in most climates.
Can Kikuyu lawns be vertimowed?
Yes, Kikuyu lawns can be vertimowed. This is often a necessary, yearly service that needs to be completed if the goal is to have a low cut, beautiful Kikuyu lawn.
Vertimowing, also known as scarifying or dethatching, is the process of using a machine to remove thatch, which is the layer of dead grass and other organic material that accumulates on the surface of the soil. This can help improve he look of the lawn, water penetration, and nutrient uptake, as well as promoting healthy growth of the grass.
For Kikuyu lawns, it is recommended to vertimow when the grass is actively growing. This will help ensure that the grass can recover quickly from any damage caused by the vertimowing process.
Overall, vertimowing can be an effective way to maintain the health and appearance of Kikuyu lawns, but it should be done carefully and at the right time of year to avoid damaging the grass.
Should you aerate kikuyu lawns?
Yes, aerating Kikuyu lawns can be beneficial for the health and appearance of the grass. Aeration involves the removal of small cores of soil from the lawn, which helps to relieve soil compaction and improve soil drainage, as well as promoting the growth of healthy roots.
Kikuyu lawns can become compacted over time, especially if they receive heavy foot traffic or if the soil is heavy or clay-based. Aeration can help to loosen the soil and create space for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the roots of the grass, which can improve its overall health and appearance.
It is recommended to aerate Kikuyu lawns once or twice a year, depending on the level of compaction and the growing conditions in your area. Overall, aerating Kikuyu lawns can be a valuable part of lawn maintenance, and can help to improve the health and appearance of the grass over time.
What diseases are common with Kikuyu lawns?
Kikuyu lawns are generally considered to be relatively resistant to disease, but there are a few common diseases that can affect this type of grass. These include:
- Leaf spot: Leaf spot is a fungal disease that can cause circular or irregularly shaped brown or gray spots on the leaves of Kikuyu grass. In severe cases, it can cause defoliation and weaken the overall health of the grass.
- Winter fusarium: Winter Fusarium is a fungal disease that can affect Kikuyu lawns during the cooler months of the year. The disease typically appears as small, circular patches of dead or dying grass that can quickly spread and merge together, forming larger areas of damage.
- Summer patch: Summer patch is a disease that is caused by a soil-borne fungus and can cause the roots of Kikuyu grass to die back. This can lead to yellowing or thinning of the grass, and can make it more susceptible to drought and other stresses.
- Dollar spot: Dollar spot is a fungal disease that can cause small, circular patches of dead or yellowed grass to form on Kikuyu lawns. It is most common during periods of cool, damp weather, and can be difficult to control once it becomes established.
Prevention and control of these diseases typically involves good lawn maintenance practices, such as regular mowing, fertilisation, and watering, as well as proper drainage and aeration to reduce the risk of soil compaction. In some cases, fungicides may be necessary to control the spread of disease. It is important to consult with a lawn care professional for guidance on the best practices for preventing and treating diseases in Kikuyu lawns.
What pests are common in Kikuyu lawns?
Kikuyu lawns can be vulnerable to a number of pests, which can damage or destroy the grass if left untreated. Some of the most common pests that affect Kikuyu lawns in Australia include:
- Armyworms: Armyworms are caterpillars that can feed on the leaves and stems of Kikuyu grass, causing significant damage to the lawn. They are most active in the late summer and early fall, and can quickly defoliate large areas of the lawn if left unchecked.
- Sod webworms: Sod webworms are the larvae of small, tan or gray moths, and they can cause damage to Kikuyu lawns by feeding on the grass blades and stems. They are most active in the warm months of spring and summer, and can cause the lawn to thin out or turn brown.
- Billbugs: Billbugs are small weevils that can feed on the roots and stems of Kikuyu grass, causing damage that can appear as yellowing or thinning of the lawn. They are most active in the late summer and early fall, and can be difficult to control once they become established.
- Argentine stem weevils: Argentine stem weevils are small black beetles that can cause significant damage to Kikuyu lawns by feeding on the stems and crowns of the grass. They are most active in the warmer months of spring and summer, and can cause the grass to wilt, turn brown, or die in large patches.
Prevention and control of pests in Kikuyu lawns typically involves good lawn maintenance practices, such as regular mowing, fertilization, and watering, as well as proper drainage and aeration to reduce the risk of soil compaction. In some cases, insecticides or other pest control measures may be necessary to control the spread of pests. It is important to consult with a lawn care professional or local garden center for guidance on the best practices for preventing and treating pests in Kikuyu lawns.
How to control weeds in Kikuyu Lawns
Controlling Broadleaf weeds in Kikuyu lawns
Broadleaf weeds are a common problem in all lawns, and they will be a challenge in your Kikuyu lawn if you are not aware of how to prevent or control them There are two main ways to control broadleaf weeds in Kikuyu lawns. Manual removal and selective herbicides.
Manual removal involves physically pulling the weeds out of the lawn by hand. This is a labor-intensive process, but it can be effective for small areas of weeds. To manually remove broadleaf weeds, you should grasp the weed near the base and pull it out of the ground, making sure to remove as much of the root as possible.
There are also some helpful tools that can assist you with removing weeds from your lawn. Check your local hardware store or garden centre to see what options they have.
Selective herbicides, such as Bin-Die and Bow and Arrow, are designed to kill broadleaf weeds while leaving the grass unharmed. These herbicides work by targeting the broadleaf weeds and not affecting the grass. It’s important to read and follow the instructions on the label carefully when using herbicides, as they can be harmful if not used correctly. Selective herbicides should be applied when the weeds are actively growing, and it’s important to avoid applying them during hot, dry weather.
Most selective herbicides will work on Kikuyu lawns without doing damage to the lawn, however some may cause some transient yellowing to occur.
Overall, a combination of manual removal and selective herbicides can be an effective way to control broadleaf weeds in a lawn. It’s important to maintain a healthy lawn through proper watering, fertilisation, and regular mowing to prevent weeds from taking over.
Controlling grass weeds in Kikuyu lawns
There are a few herbicides that will control grassy weeds, like winter grass, once they have sprouted in your lawn. However, some of them will also do some damage to Kikuyu lawns.
Products like Wintergrass Killer, will cause damage to Kikuyu where as Duke will not cause damage to Kikuyu lawns. However, Duke is an expensive herbicide and is slow acting.
A better wat to control grassy weeds in your lawns is to prevent them from emerging in the first place with a pre-emergent herbicide. Pre-emergent herbicides like Spartan and Barricade are designed to prevent weed seeds from germinating and growing into mature plants. These herbicides work by creating a barrier in the soil that prevents the weed seeds from developing roots and growing. Pre-emergent herbicides are typically applied before the weeds have a chance to germinate and become established in the lawn.
When using a pre-emergent herbicide timing is very important. Apply the herbicide in early Autumn and early Spring, before the weeds have a chance to germinate.
It is also very important to apply your pre-emergent herbicide as evenly as possible. To get the best results you will need to use a herbicide sprayer, and follow the instructions on the label carefully. Be sure to apply the herbicide when the soil is dry, and water the lawn lightly after application to help the herbicide penetrate into the soil.
It’s important to note that pre-emergent herbicides only prevent new weeds from germinating and growing, and will not kill existing weeds in the lawn. To control existing weeds, a post-emergent herbicide or manual removal may be necessary.
Overall, pre-emergent herbicides like Spartan and Barricade can be an effective way to prevent weeds in a lawn, but it’s important to read and follow the label instructions carefully and to apply the herbicide at the appropriate time to achieve the best results. If you’re unsure about how to use a pre-emergent herbicide in your lawn, consult with a lawn care professional for the best course of action.