In the past when Australian backyard toilers were hunting for a grass seed to cover their backyard, it was a choice in two. The classic Buffalo, or the hardy Kikuyu.
Times have certainly changed, and now lawn owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to varieties and blends to make the most of their patch, but Kikuyu remains an outstanding choice of turf Australia wide.
As a seed choice it ticks a lot of boxes. Cheap? Tick. Quick growing? Tick. Tough? Tick. The list goes on and on. Sure, it’s got a few drawbacks, but it was and is an Australian mainstay for a reason.
Kikuyu made its name in Australia by being a supremely hardy and quick repairing turf. A go-to for sports clubs and heavy traffic backyards, Kikuyu is arguably the quickest repairing grass variety available.
It is also a fantastically low maintenance turf. Wet it and forget it. Minimal lawn care is needed to keep it in growing, although the aggressiveness of its runners can mean that you may find it in places you hadn’t planned it to be.
Kikuyu can handle some fairly average soil, and will succeed in getting established where other varieties fail.
But some people like it purely for its look and feel. A wonderful bright green leaf and a soft feel underfoot make it a great lawn to enjoy with the kids. With proper care you’ll have a beautiful looking lawn to enjoy all year round.
The flipside of the quick repair and quick spread qualities of Kikuyu mean that keeping it in line – mowing and stopping overexcited runners – can be a little more work than other varieties. Firm barriers around your flowerbeds and a regular mowing schedule are all that’s needed to keep your turf from acting up.
While the Kikuyu seed is able to be grown essentially anywhere in Australia, you do need to keep in mind that it is a warm season grass. While McKays’ Kikuyu seed has been bred so it is more resistant to frosts than other Kikuyu strands, if your area is prone to regular frosts you may see it yellowing off.
McKays offers two different options when it comes to Kikuyu seed – Kikuyu Pure and Kikuyu Blend.
Kikuyu Pure is McKays’ 100 percent Kikuyu offering. One of the only seeds that is able to be planted Australia wide, it’s a viable choice for home owners from Port Arthur to Port Douglas.
For best establishment, ideally you’ll plant your Kikuyu Pure in late spring or through summer, when the mercury is hovering within the ideal 18-29 degree range. It should start to germinate within 10-21 days.
As mentioned, while McKays’ Kikuyu has got better defences against the cold than most others, it can be susceptible to regular frosts.
Due to the cold weather susceptibility (particularly when establishing itself), McKays has gone about creating a blend that allows the Kikuyu to survive and thrive in the cooler regions of Australia, where previously it would have struggled.
A mix of 70 percent Annual Ryegrass, 20 percent Kikuyu and 10 percent slow release fertiliser, the blend is built to establish itself in cold conditions, and then thrive. The Annual Ryegrass acts as a cover for the Kikuyu as it establishes itself, dealing with cooler conditions while protecting the more vulnerable Kikuyu germinating blades. Once the Kikuyu has established itself, it will slowly overtake the Ryegrass, using its aggressive spreading capabilities to fill out any bare areas.
The Annual Ryegrass will usually be all gone within 12 months, generally dying off when there is an extended warm period. At this point you’ll have a well-established and hardy Kikuyu lawn that will withstand cooler conditions a whole lot better than Kikuyu Pure germinating seeds ever could.
So no matter where you are in Australia, McKays has a Kikuyu seed option to suit your situation. For more information on Kikuyu or to see which seed would suit you best, contact your friendly McKays team.