Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)


Perennial. Most growth in spring, summer and autumn. Prostrate growth. Suited to very fertile, well-drained soils. In favourable conditions the runners spread rapidly, making kikuyu a very suitable species for erosion control. Responds very well to nitrogen fertiliser and irrigation combined with intensive grazing (e.g. strip grazing).

Pastures dominated by kikuyu are unsuitable for horses.

Ryegrass or oats are often direct-drilled into established kikuyu to provide a year-round feed supply. White clover or Kenya clover (far North Coast only) are the main companion legumes used, with lotus also used on suitable soil types. Do not use in mixtures of grasses. Sow or plant in spring to early summer or late summer to early autumn, depending on the district.

Sowing rate: 1-4 kg/ha
Minimum average
annual rainfall
(summer dominant) 800 mm.
Planting rate: 1 cutting (runner) per square metre.
Select varieties on the basis of:

Vegetative or seed propagated: Seed is not available for common kikuyu.

Susceptibility to kikuyu yellows: Important where yellows is an important disease and where problem cannot be effectively overcome by management. Noonan has tolerance to kikuyu yellows.

Seed available:

Common (Vegetative only)

Whittet (Public variety)

Noonan (Public variety)