Which grass works for your home?

Visitors will always marvel at the sight of your lawn. There are several types of grass that will give your compound this gorgeous look.
“Grass makes a home look neat and attractive. It also covers the bare ground and prevents soil from being washed away. Before choosing the type of grass for your compound, factors such as location of your home and the type of soil should be considered,” says Ms Pamela Nahamya, chief executive officer, at Leads gardener designers.
Locally, there are several kinds of grass for compounds some of which bear local names. Landscape experts explain them in detail to give us a feel of what they look like, how they are grown and maintained.

Paspalum, also known as swamp couch grass, is tough course grass. It is found in most compounds and its stems grow up to about 75cm tall. They are a little bit hairy.
The good thing about this type is it is drought resistant and cannot be intimidated by shade.
“Even in the hottest of conditions, Paspalum will thrive. It will grow into a very thick turf even in sandy soils,” notes Ms Sylivia Tulina, the manager for Green Life gardeners.
She adds that most landscapers plant Paspalum because it forms a high quality tuff even in poor conditions such as water logged areas, swampy areas and shades or areas that receive minimal light and have salty soils.

It is easy to control weeds in Paspalum. When weeds sprout through it, one can easily get rid of them by pouring some salty water. The weeds will die and the grass will survive.
It is maintained by regular mowing or slashing at least once a month.
Ms Nahamya says the beauty of Paspalum is that it can be planted in any part of the compound as long as it is maintained well.

Carpet Grass
Carpet grass, also known as flat grass, can be grown in all seasons.
“It has rough leaves with curved tips, flat stolons and a tall seed stalk with two branches at the apex. This type of grass has a tendency of creeping,” explains Mr Daniel Kyalimpa, a landscaping and interior designer at Grand Flora, Najjanankumbi. He says carpet grass makes a thick lawn and can be grown from seeds. Just like a carpet, it forms a dense mat that covers the ground.

This type grows better on low, wet soils than other grasses. Carpet grass will grow well in sun or shade,” says Ms Nahamya.
It is good for controlling erosion and requires low maintenance on low fertility soils. It can thrive if not trimmed without adding fertilisers.
He notes that it withstands higher traffic than many other grasses with these conditions.
“Even when you hold parties on this lawn over and over, it will not wear out easily. The ability of carpet grass to thrive in less fertile soils makes it suitable for use on low maintenance area,” Mr Kyalimpa says.

Like the adage goes that ‘even the most beautiful girl doesn’t lack a flaw’, its most irritating characteristic is the recurrent and persistent production of seed stalks which makes most people shun its use. Besides, it requires frequent mowing to keep it looking good.
Ms Nahamya, however, says carpet grass is very prickly.
“It should be planted for lawns which are wet, acidic and less fertile sandy soils where they can easily grow. It is important that the seed heads grow as fast as possible in order to have your dream look.”

Ms Tulina says the grass may be attacked by insects. In this case, insecticides should be used to control them.
Similarly, where weeds are a problem in carpet grass turf, it is recommended that herbicides are used to control them.

Centipede grass
Centipede can be established from seeds or stems. Synonymous to its name, centipede grass grows slowly. It takes longer to completely cover an area, but can produce a thick and beautiful lawn.
Much as it can grow under shade, it grows best in full sunlight. It produces only surface runners. Most home owners grow it around flower beds and walkways.

You will notice that centipede grass exists in most compounds because it can be grown where soils are less fertile and it has low maintenance requirements.
“If properly managed, there are very few pest problems. It is the ideal grass for a person who wants a fairly attractive lawn that needs little care since it does not require much fertiliser or mowing.”

However, compared to other grasses, centipede grass is generally resistant to most insects and diseases. If managed well, it develops into a very attractive turf. During the first mowing, centipede grass should not be over trimmed before the growing season begins,” aises Ms Nahamya.
Ms Tulina says it is attacked by nematodes (microscopic worms).
“They can pose a threat on centipede grass. They attack grass roots and cause the grass to thin and die. In order to get rid of nematodes, one needs to apply less nitrogen, provide less frequent but deep watering and add soil fertilisers consisting of potassium and phosphorus.”

Bermuda grass
This kind of grass produces horrible seed heads. But these wear off over time and the grass gets beautiful. “If you are the patient type, you can have this grass at your backyard so your children can freely play around,” highlights Ms Tulina.

Jija grass
Jija grass is a fast growing type of grass. In a months’ time, you will have your turf of jija grass. It’s tiny blades give one the feeling of a woollen rug under their feet.
It also grows as a weed: “While pruning other grasses, you will notice a great amount of jija grass. Most homeowners shun this kind of grass because it requires regular mowing since it grows fast. It is also very delicate and requires ultimate care. This is why it is usually grown in low traffic areas,” she says.



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