General description

Perennial creeping rhizomatous grass. Stolons are long, occasionally climbing and root frequently. Leaves are soft, yellow-green, drooping, < 40 cm long, hairy and alternate, with a pale green/white hairy sheath. Seeds are borne in minute feathery seedheads.

What you need to know

Although kikuyu is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Coastal areas, grassland, disturbed forest, open areas, riparian margins, plantations, crop land, pasture, urban areas, roadsides.

Seeds dispersed by wind, water and animals. Vegetative spread from stolons and rhizome fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and movement of contaminated soil, machinery, clothing and equipment.

Forms dense mats, smothering native vegetation and suppressing seedling recruitment. Damages infrastructure and increases fire risk.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: For new planting areas cover with biodegradable permeable mulches such as cardboard and bark mulch or carpets, underlay or wool to subdue kikuyu while allowing plantings to establish.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Basic Growsafe certified
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant
For infestations amongst desirable broadleaf species foliar spray with 150ml haloxyfop-P-methyl per 10L of water

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.

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Kikuyu - Main species image