Kikuyu Grass

Our finca (country home/farm) is being invaded by kikuyu grass. An upstream neighbor uses it for a lawn and it has worked its way down the drainage into our meadow. This was once a high diversity gem and is rapidly becoming a single species stand of kikuyu. From the meadow it is extending down the stream. It also has invaded the strip bordering our lawn-loving neighbor’s fence.

In addition some people we had care taking the place decided we needed a lawn at the door step, kikuyu of course. From there is has spread to adjacent areas. The finca borders a nature reserve that includes some patches of remnant native forest and would like to preserve at least some biodiversity.

Enough is enough. Last weekend I started an eradication program with Roundup. This is phase I of a restoration program. 

Phase II will be to plant some native species on the meadow that will shade the area and reduce the vigor of the kikuyu. Right now I am thinking about using Gunnera and native alders and perhaps bamboo (guadua). As they become established spot treatments with Roundup and hand digging will be used to control the weed from hell. Most of the upland areas will be planted first to clover as the soil is rather poor in some areas. Then they will be dedicated to landscape and heritage crops. The strip boarding the kikuyu source will become a demilitarized zone until the neighbor sees the error of his ways 😉

Phase III will be monitoring and maintenance, in perpetuity I fear.

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