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How to remove kikuyu grass

05-Oct-2013 | Contributed by: Guest Author

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Kikuyu Grass

Kikuyu grass is an invasive weed that thrives in New Zealand’s climate, and can grow up to a couple of centimetres a day. If you have kikuyu grass invading your lawn, be prepared for a long battle – it is extremely difficult to get rid of completely.

There are some ways of managing the grass, and it slowing down however, so don’t give up all hope!

How NOT to kill kikuyu grass

First of all, it is important to note what you shouldn’t do to kikuyu grass:

  • Do not just mow kikuyu grass – even when mowed very short it can grow back quickly, because cutting the grass actually stimulates its growth.
  • Do not plough or till kikuyu grass – for the same reason as above, ploughing and tilling will not remove the grass from its roots, and it will grow back.
  • Do not leave kikuyu grass fragments in your equipment. If you have already mowed or tilled the kikuyu grass, make sure you go and clean out your mower or tiller, as these can spread the weed.

Methods of kikuyu control

Removal by hand

If you only have a little kikuyu, get onto it fast by pulling it out by hand. This is not foolproof however, and you have to be extremely careful not to miss any roots.

If your issue is larger, removal by hand might not be possible. This is a good follow up method after stronger methods, like spraying, as it is easy for a bit of grass to get missed, and following up to get rid of the missed kikuyu is essential to keep it at bay.


Apply a weed killer that contains glyphosate, like Roundup. It is very effective on kikuyu grass, at least for a while (expect it to come up again at some point though), but depending on your type of grass, the weed killer will probably kill your lawn grass too.

If you want to protect your lawn from the weed killer, and still kill the kikuyu grass, wait until winter, and avoid mowing your lawn for three weeks. This will allow the kikuyu to grow long, and enable you to put cardboard under the kikuyu grass. Then, spray the roundup directly onto the kikuyu grass. The cardboard will protect your lawn, avoiding the need to reseed. Repeat this process in three weeks for any kikuyu you may have missed.


You can mulch, or cover, the kikuyu grass with a variety of materials to assist in killing it. Anything thick that does not allow any light through it will work. Haylage has been shown to do the trick too if you, or a neighbour has any spare. Simply spread it thickly over the kikuyu grass.

If you have kikuyu grass invading your trees or vegetable garden, hand pulling, followed by mulching might be the best way to combat it. First hand pull all kikuyu you can find, making sure not to miss any roots, then thickly mulch over the area, between your plants, ensuring that no light can get to the soil below.

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