How do you get rid of Kikuyu growing in your lawn?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 1 May 2013 

If there is one thing to be said about kikuyu, it would be that it is HIGHLY INVASIVE. That can be a good thing and a bad thing although if you have it invading your lawn, its clearly a bad thing! So if you have it in your grass and you don’t want it, the question is can you get rid of it? The answer to that question is yes, and no….

Kikuyu is more aggressive in nature than any other lawn so it’s potential to take over is high. It spreads by both runners and by seed. There isn’t a variety of lawn available in Australia that can successfully compete with it so if you find it showing up in your lawn uninvited and do nothing, eventually it will completely take over. Kikuyu has an underground network of runners called rhizomes which spread out where they can’t be seen. That means that what you can see on the top is generally the tip of the iceberg. Hand pulling it out is no more successful at getting rid of it than trying to kill a daisy bush by picking the flowers off it. What you leave behind is the rhizomes which send up some more growth to the surface. Even if you dig the area completely out and replace the soil, there will probably still be runners under pathways and in garden beds that surround your lawn area ready to re-invade at the soonest opportunity. Then there is the seed – many kikuyu varieties produce a seed which blows around looking for a place to grow so even if you get rid of the seed and runners at your place, theres nothing to say it wont blow in from a neighbor or from bird droppings.

Sounds pretty bleak doesn’t it! The way I see it is that you have a choice – If you have kikuyu invading your lawn, either let take over learn to manage it (when maintained, kikuyu looks really good and has some great advantages) or take measures to control it. This usually involves chemical sprays, both selective and non selective.

Selective Control:

There are some selective herbicides that you can use to suppress kikuyu but only in couch. That means you can spray them all over the couch and they will just target the kikuyu not the couch. The reality is that you will probably never get rid of it because it will most likely re-invade from its original source but you can certainly suppress it which means you wont see so much of it on the surface. The most notable chemical for the suppression of Kikuyu in Couch is Monument Liquid by Syngenta. Its one of the only chemicals registered for this purpose. It is a commercial group B herbicide so if your thinking about using it you’ll need to get a licensed sprayer to apply it for you. Other options for suppression of kikuyu in couch include selective herbicides that contain DSMA and MCPA. These are available off the shelf in hardware stores and usually have names like Paspalum killer or Paskill etc. Although not noted on the bottle for the control of kikuyu, they will burn back kikuyu on the surface without harming the couch. They also selectively control weeds like paspalum, crab grass and broad leaf weeds. Once again, read the instructions and directions before applying. Because of Kikuyu’s aggressive nature, you will need to repeat applications of these chemicals as required to keep the kikuyu in check. The best time to spray is during the warmer months when the kikuyu is active and able to draw in the chemical

Non Selective Control:

If you have kikuyu invading your buffalo, tall fescue, rye or bluegrass lawn then you cant use the selective herbicides mentioned above because they will harm your lawn. The only solution here is to spot spray with glyphossate (eg Roundup) Keep in mind though that Glyphossate is non selective meaning it kills all types of lawns. You have to be careful to only apply it to the kikuyu, not the lawn you are trying to preserve. The best time to spot spray is winter. The reason for this is because the damage to surrounding lawn will be minimised.

I hope this helps – feel free to leave comments on your success stories and tips on controlling kikuyu in your lawn.


Comments (6)

Lawn watering

By: on 5 August 2018
After applying the roundup how long does one wait before watering the lawn?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Leslie, I wouldn't turn your irrigation on for at least 6 daytime hours after spraying. The same goes for rain or dew - don't spray if either of these two are expected within 6 hours.

The dreaded kikuyu

By: on 27 July 2018
Message for Peter Watson, You say you have Queensland Blue. So you won’t want to spray your lawn with monument , it will kill it

Buffalo recovery after roundup Treatment

By: on 26 April 2018
Fantastic read. No more pulling runners out now. Just wondering about the recovery time after pinpointed use of roundup in a buffalo lawn. I've seen it take as long as 2 summer foe the buffalo to completely recover and thrive.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Depending on which part of Australia you live in, buffalo can take quite a while to repair itself when damaged with glyphossate. The warmer and more humid it is, the faster it will repair.

Garden edging

By: on 11 April 2018
How deep to Kikuyu roots go? I want to section my lawn, remove the Kikuyu in one section and keep it in the other. How deep down do I have to dig to put in a barrier? Like an edging of some sort?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Acacsia, Unfortunately you cant contain kikuyu with borders and barriers. The roots will travel a long way down into the soil and will in most cases re-invade the area you have just removed it from. Along with that, it is difficult to completely remove the runners and roots in the area that you wanted to remove it from in the first place. You would need to leave the area fallow with nothing growing in it for at least 3 years to ensure you have completely removed it.

Kikuyu taking over in Tasmania

By: on 21 March 2018
Good article and as someone already stated straight to the point on the Kikuyu problem

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