How to Identify Kikuyu Grass (Australian Guide)

You can identify Kikuyu grass by its leaves. The leaf blades are quite flat, of medium width, and have a pointed tip.

Kikuyu is a tough grass species that is perfect for heavy traffic areas. It’s commonly used in sporting fields because of its durability and ability to handle drought conditions. 

It’s also perfect for people with pets and kids who like to romp around on the lawn. 

What is Kikuyu grass?

Kikuyu grass is a leafy grass species with deep roots. This particular grass species can handle almost any soil type in Australia.

It’s perfect for planting in areas where other grasses may fail thanks to its tough growth habit and resistance to times of drought.

This type of grass is fast-growing and will spread very aggressively. This is ideal when you want to cover an area with lawn fairly quickly.

However, this aggressive growth habit means that Kikuyu will also invade garden beds and areas where you don’t want it to grow.

Due to its strong growth, it’s a fairly high-maintenance grass that will require very regular mowing during the warmer months.

You also need to ensure that you keep the edges well-trimmed in order to stop the grass from spreading into other areas.

Another important thing to consider if you want to grow a Kikuyu grass lawn is that while it will thrive in any sunny spot in your garden, it does not like to grow in the shade.

How to identify Kikuyu grass

You can identify Kikuyu grass by its leaves. The leaf blades are quite flat, of medium width, and have a pointed tip.

You can also observe the long fleshy runners that spread across the top of the ground. The leaf blades themselves range in width from 4 to 7 mm.

One of the advantages of Kikuyu grass is that it will keep its lovely green colour really well even during less than ideal conditions.

How does Kikuyu grass spread?

Kikuyu grass spreads through underground rhizomes and above-ground stolons that spread across the top of the soil. It can become quite invasive as it’s an aggressive grower.

The above-ground stems or stolons are quite fleshy which means that the grass can form a nice dense mat.

Due to the fact that Kikuyu spreads by both rhizomes and stolons, it’s much quicker to repair itself than a lot of other grass species that only spread by above-ground runners. That’s why it’s often used in high-traffic areas like sports ovals.

It’s also favoured by homeowners who have young children and pets because it can withstand the rough and tumble of being played on all day.

How to tell the difference between Buffalo and Kikuyu grass

It’s not that easy to tell the difference between Buffalo and Kikuyu grass because they’re fairly similar in appearance. Both species spread quickly by above-ground stolons or runners. 

However, Buffalo grass has a wider leaf blade than Kikuyu. Also, the leaf blades on Buffalo stolons are flatter against the stem while those on Kikuyu tend to grow more upright along the stolons. 

In general, Buffalo leaf blades will be a minimum of 7 mm wide with many being wider, while Kikuyu leaf blades range in width from 4 to 7 mm.

Another difference is the tips of the leaf blades. While Kikuyu leaf blades have a pointed tip, Buffalo leaf blades are rounded. 

You’ll also find that Buffalo will grow in shaded areas while Kikuyu does prefer to grow in full sun.

How to tell the difference between Couch and Kikuyu grass

It’s much easier to tell the difference between Couch and Kikuyu grass. Couch has a much finer leaf blade and is soft to the touch. The above-ground stolons are much finer too. 

The leaf blades on Kikuyu range in width from 4 to 7 mm while Couch leaf blades are normally less than 4 mm wide. However, both species do have pointed leaf blades.

You’ll also find that Couch will grow leaves on short stems from the stolons while Kikuyu has leaves that grow directly on the stolons. Overall, Couch is a much finer grass than Kikuyu.

Another major difference between Couch and Kikuyu is that the latter will stay evenly green right throughout the year while Couch has the habit of turning yellow or developing brown spots when conditions are not ideal.

Kikuyu grass FAQ

How many types of Kikuyu are there?

There are numerous Kikuyu varieties sold around the country. The most common ones are Eureka, Kenda, Zulu, and Village Green.

Where does Kikuyu grass grow best?

Kikuyu grass grows best in full sun. It does not handle shady conditions well and will fail to thrive. It can be grown in most parts of the country and in a variety of different soils.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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