Carpet grass is a lawn variety that has very clear pros and cons. Its disadvantages clearly eliminate it as a grass choice for a few situations, but its advantages make it the stand-out best choice in many specific scenarios. Its unique combination of characteristics make it a fantastic choice of ground cover where no other grass would fit the bill.
So, let’s have a look at these advantages and disadvantages and what are the best uses for carpet grass.
What is Carpet Grass?
Carpet grass is a perennial warm season grass. It has runners and stolons and wide, blunt leaves. Carpet grass originated in the southern states of the USA so loves warm, wet weather.
Pros and Cons of Carpet Grass
The best thing about carpet grass is that it will grow in low fertility and rarely needs fertilising. Carpet grass also does will in very moist soil, in shade, and in sandy soils. Its thick sod makes it weed resistant, and its runners make it self-repairing. All of these together make it a very low maintenance grass.
The characteristics that stack up against carpet grass, however, are that it’s not very drought tolerant, it doesn’t deal well with saline soils, and the colour isn’t very attractive. The single biggest drawback of carpet grass is its very rapidly growing seed heads. These seed heads quickly grow up to a foot in height which means it needs frequent mowing to keep them at bay. Carpet grass is one of the first grasses to brown off in autumn and the last to recover in spring.
Best Uses for Carpet Grass
Reading those cons of carpet grass might put you off the grass altogether, but just hold on a second! Carpet grass is really, really useful for particular areas. In fact, there are some situations where no other grass will grow and you can quite easily maintain a happy and healthy carpet grass.
The most obvious one is in shady, moist areas. Most warm season grasses aren’t very shade tolerant. Carpet grass is a special warm season grass that not only loves the hot weather, but loves shade. If you’ve got a big shady tree in a sandy back yard, you’ll likely find that not many grasses will grow under it. That’s where carpet grass comes to the fore. For ground covers in boggy areas and under big trees or areas in semi-permanent shadow, carpet grass is the best choice.
Carpet grass is best used in tropical northern areas of Australia. Its love of hot weather and regular rain make it best suited to that climate, where it’s another alternative to kikuyu and Bermuda grass.
Whilst carpet grass isn’t regularly used as a turf in a home yard, ground cover for large council areas is one of the best uses for carpet grass. The seed heads in a home yard can look weedy, meaning frequent mowing to keep it looking tidy, but in a council area where the seed heads aren’t off-putting it makes for a fantastic low-maintenance ground cover.
Areas like roadsides, golf course roughs, median strips, airports, and park boundaries are perfect spaces for carpet grass. In these areas carpet grass is incredibly low maintenance and its ability to grow in low fertility makes it a safe choice – you know you won’t have problems with it! It also won’t need fertilising, making it a good budget option.
Carpet grass is also great for erosion control. Any patch of land that you’re not ready to work with yet but would like to keep from eroding away will do well to have a patch of carpet grass grown on it to keep it safe until you’re ready to work with it. The thick sod of carpet grass keeps weeds to a minimum too, meaning you won’t come back to the site and find that there’s been an infestation of Bermuda grass or other weeds. This in itself sums up what carpet grass is best for – covering areas that are rarely maintained but need some super low maintenance ground cover.