Replace kikuyu or live with it?

scionfriarJanuary 8, 2013

We bought this house close to two years ago. The front lawn, slightly over 1,000 sq. ft., is entirely kikuyu. We've since had the rear sodded with a fescue mix. The front is severely thatched, and while it greens up decently in the summer, goes completely dormant in our mild winter and is downright ugly.

I've invested a ton of time, if not a ton of money, in keeping up the front lawn, but with spring coming up, I think it may be time to make a change. The summer upkeep and winter appearance, not to mention contamination issues with the back lawn, are reasons enough.

Any suggestions on how to proceed and if it's even worth it? I know this stuff is a severe pain to get rid of. Should I just admit defeat and do a better job of dethatching and then overseed in the winter?

I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I assume you live in California. Can you home in on the city/town you live in? It might make a difference.

The State of California believes you can get rid of kikuyu grass. I know it spreads aggressively but I don't know how hard it is to eradicate. The standard process would begin with Roundup. It has to be growing before the roundup will have any effect on it. You could start in the spring but I would wait until June. If you can't wait and want to do it in the spring, do wait until you have mowed the lawn for the second time. That way you are sure to know the grass is alive and not dormant. Then spray it with Roundup, wait a week (water every other day), and spray for a second time a week later.

The reason to wait until summer is to minimize the pain of starting a new lawn. If you start a new lawn in the spring, it will be mostly crabgrass by mid summer. Then you would get to start a new lawn again in the fall. But if you wait until June or even July to kill the kikuyu, it will be dying during the heat. Then you can start the new seed in late August or whenever the evening temps start to cool back down from summer. This is the part where it makes a difference where you live.

You have to kill it all. If it has escaped from your yard and you kill it only in your yard, it will be back unless your yard is entirely contained by concrete.

Kikuyu is a relatively rare grass in the US. I've only ever heard of it in California, but it has been there for decades. Here is a picture of it escaping over a road.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. I live in Costa Mesa, which is about 4 miles from the ocean.

It's been suggested to me that St. Augustine or Zoysia would be the best replacement grasses.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I will be right up front I do not have experience with this grass. I moved out to AZ a couple of years ago from TX and now am the Super of a golf course in Prescott AZ. In that two years I have gotten to know some golf course Super's in SoCal, and some of them have Kikuyu. None are not by choice. One very high end course in particular, Riviera CC, fairways, tee boxes, and rough are Kikuyu. The greens are Bent. When the course was built, Kikuyu was not laid or planted. It invaded and took over. Only place they fight it is the greens. They surrendered the rest of the course to Kikuyu a long time ago as it is impossible to combat.

Every Super I have talked with in CA with Kikuyu did not start with it nor was it ever chosen to be the grass of choice. The Kikuyu chose them and they are stuck with it.

This post was edited by texas-weed on Thu, Jan 10, 13 at 19:09

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:08PM
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