Kikuyugrass — Pennisetum clandestinum

Asked September 22, 2020, 12:39 PM EDT

I discovered a grass that was vigorously invading my strawberry bed. It looks similar to Bermuda, has rhizomes that were two inches or more underground. The leaves are thin and two or more inches long. I have not let it grow to full height so I don't know if it has any kind of flower.

Montgomery County Maryland

4 Responses

Kikuyugrass, Pennisetum clandestinum is an aggressive grass that grows out West such as in CA. It does not grow here.

The above grass looks like bermudagrass, a warm season perennial grass. This is an extremely difficult grass to control. Small infestations can be dug out; you must remove all parts of the root. Do not rototill live plants. These are the best control options in a strawberry planting.
Here is our page on bermudagrass which pertains to lawn weeds. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/bermudagrass

Although the bermudagrass is not located in your lawn - we recommend that you read through the information about your county's lawn pesticide law and what you can and cannot do with regard to controlling lawn weeds in your jurisdiction. Montgomery County’s pesticide law bans the use of most synthetic pesticides, including

herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides on private lawns, playgrounds, and mulched recreation areas. Organic pesticides are allowed. There are some exemptions. Go to the following website for information regarding the law and organic lawn care
You can also contact the office directly to ask questions -
Email AskDep@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or call 240-777-0311.

Marian

The rhizomes are 1 to 2 inches below ground. Is there any grass on the East coast that looks like Bermuda but has a slightly different growth habit?

We double-checked with our UMD turfgrass specialist about this. It does indeed look like bermudagrass, which can have deep rhizomes if it has been established for a few years.

Christa


Thank you.