Kikuyu punishment

kikuyu grass stops mower

A month away from the mountain is a long time. The bush itself requires no attention from me, but my domesticated area does, and the 350mm of rain in February has effected a great deal of green growth. Not all is welcome.

I continually apologise to the environment for my ignorant crime of introducing kikuyu grass here thirty years ago. As punishment, its runners are the scourge of my garden, but until lately the horses kept its main expanse munched very short, its patches the first thing they headed for whenever I let them into the house yard.

With the horses gone, that munching is much missed now after my month’s absence. Mowing is the only answer, and with these dewy autumn mornings that has to wait until the sun is hotter than I like for outdoor work.

Thick and tall kikuyu is a hard task for a mower and when wet it is an impossible one, a sudden choked capital green full stop.

It seems dreadful to have no animals to give it to, especially after my trip to Thailand, where nothing is wasted. As the train home passed though the Hunter Valley’s currently green and seemingly endless slopes and flats of nothing but grass for beef cattle, all I could think of was ‘How wasteful’!

In Thailand the few cattle eat crop residues like rice stubble, while the majority of meat production comes from small animals like pigs and especially chickens. Long-legged and very handsome bantams scratch about everywhere, in quiet temple gardens, country villages or bustling city lanes.

I have never wanted a ‘lawn’  here, but whatever grows in the yard between trees and gardens needs to be short  for me to see snakes and to keep the bush rats from moving in again en masse. Clearly mowing will become a chore for which I have no time;  I need to rethink the yard and come up with a compromise solution.

If it were all native grass there’d be no problem, since it is only the kikuyu that overdoes it and reaches for the fence tops. The few surviving bits of kikuyu outside the yard get eaten right down and kept in check by the native animals.

Sorry, sorry, sorry, I repeat, but it is only me that’s suffering now. Ignorance is no excuse, says the law, and I guess a life sentence of mowing is a fitting punishment for this crime.  Yet I intend to appeal if I can find a way.

11 thoughts on “Kikuyu punishment”

  1. Sorry Tracy, but the runners go down metres! They come up in the dark though my wheelie bin compost and emerge, pale but determined, out the top. The come up through any cracks in concrete; I wouldn’t be surprised if they MADE the cracks.

  2. I tried removing my Kikuyu a few years ago. I completely removed the top layer of turf down to the bare soil and got new topsoil in. For about a month I went go over the lawn on my hands and knees picking out the shoots and rhizomes. Eventually the Kikuyu came back. I’d LOVE to know too how to get rid of it, although with pets and kids it’s really hard wearing, only problem is it kills any lovely native carex I plant in my borders.

  3. Thanks John, but such a sheepish solution won’t work because:
    1 I’d have to stay home all the time to move the stake
    2 Sheep would eat anything else within reach
    3 Sheep would die of tickbite
    4 Sheep would get footrot
    5 Sharyn doesn’t like sheep

  4. 1 Buy Sheep
    2 Tie to star dropper with long rope
    3 Sheep grows
    4 Sell sheep
    5 Profit!

  5. Thanks for the welcome home, Denis. Haven’t contemplated any herbicides; tried smothering it with old carpet years ago when it was smaller but the runners snuck underground and came up metres away! Gave up.
    If you find anything to target kikuyu, please tell me. And the world.

  6. Hi Sharyn
    I’ll echo the welcomes.
    And I share your problems with kikuyu. I have seen it growing out of the top of an old “stink pipe” in a ruined farmhouse. It’s amazing stuff.
    It is swallowing my garden, and I don’t dare try the selective herbicides which the local Co-op recommends. No doubt you wouldn’t go that way either.
    Its a battle.

  7. Hi Fleur,
    I am feeling like such loyal readers of my blog are my friends, to miss me and my life in this way. Am very touched by these three comments on my first post back
    But I wouldn’t agree that mowing controls kikuyu; it just keeps it mowable. Kikuyu thrives under a regular ‘prune’ and meanwhile keeps sending out those wretched sneaky runners to colonise new areas.

  8. Hi Sharyn, fantastic to see you back – I’ve missed you’re blogs but been checking regularly to see if naything new had been put up – what a shame it has to be about that blo*** pest of a grass! Nothing gets rid of it! Mowing is a great way to control it though.

    Great to hear you had a good time and look forward to reading more of your interesting times.

  9. What a lovely welcome! Thanks, faithful readers, DWG and Shane.
    Thailand was great and I will do a few posts on it soon. At present am catching up on writing work – in between mowing.
    Shane, we rarely get frosts here, or we used not to. And another animal that needs care and me being here is not on the cards as yet.
    There’s a lot in my last book about stopping the roos and wallabies coming in Shane, especially one rogue wallaby. I still want a garden, which is why I built the fence in the first place.
    No, the solution will have to do with the overall rethink and remake of the garden, as there are too many spots where a mower can’t go after kikuyu but a horse could nibble, like amongst rocks.
    No time to really think about it just now, but I hope DWG is right and a solution will snap into my brain one day.

  10. Welcome Back Home!
    Can you get another Horse to keep the grass in check?

    Why don’t the Roo’s jump the fence and eat the grass?

    It won’t be long and the first frost will burn off the grass…hope the wood pile is stocked.
    You are so lucky with Febs rainfall we got 136mm all month then virtually nothing in March.
    Anyway welcome back to Blog land!

  11. I am sure you will figure out a way to cope with it, or deal with it. i hope you had an enjoyable trip to Thailand, or at least a very interesting one. I am sure that I can speak for all of your followers in saying that your posts were missed. Glad that you are safely back and ready to inform us of the happenings on the Mountain.

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