General description

Perennial grass with creeping stems & rhizomes. Leaf blades usually long, soft, hairy, & drooping. Tiny feathery seed heads. Distinguished from other grasses by yellowy light green leaf colour, especially in summer when appears very green compared to other drier grasses.

Pasture, waste areas, roadsides, coastal and open areas. Prefers warm, moist, sunny conditions. Tolerates drought but is knocked back to a pale lime green colour by frosts.

Spreads locally from vigorous rhizomes, creeping/rooting stems. Rhizome fragments regrow so spread by cultivation. Seed dispersed by wind & on animals.

Almost completely inhibits regeneration by smothering seedlings & other low growing plants. Particularly invasive in coastal areas.

Site management

Do not spray after heavy frost. Physical removal largely ineffective, creates disposal problem. Weedmat suitable only around plantings, does not prevent reinvasion. Grazing gives some control. Maintain rolling control front, check for seedlings. Aim to lower light levels with planting.

Recommended approaches

1. Weedmat discrete spots for 2-3 months.
2. Spray new growth (spring & autumn), follow up with spot spraying of regrowth or mow or graze back hard then spray regrowth (60ml haloxyfop (selective) + 50ml crop oil/10L).
3. Spray (100ml glyphosate (non-selective) + 20ml penetrant/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

buffalo grass
Stenotaphrum secundatum

Flowers more regularly than kikuyu. Seeds are held flat against a broad, compressed stem in a short spike

mercer grass
Paspalum distichum

Mercer grass is nearly glabrous and more gracile than kikuyu. Its sheath has a distinctive reddish purple tinge and its ligule is membranous and white.

RPMS status

Not a legally declared pest plant
kikuyu - Main species image