How to Kill Kikuyu Grass in the Yard


Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) is a tough, warm-season grass that has coarse, light green blades. It thrives in Mediterranean climates and, because it spreads by rhizomes, seeds and stolons, has become an invasive pest in California. Kikuyu grass grows rapidly, up to 1 inch per day, and it challenging to control. Mowing the grass stimulates it to grow more, as cut stems regrow and mowers spread the seed.

Step 1

Apply a preemergent herbicide, according to label directions, in March. Scientists at the University of California suggest using pendimethalin, benefin or bensulide. Preemergent herbicides will kill the seeds.

Step 2

Spray kikuyu-infested turfgrass with a postemergent herbicide containing triclopyr and MSMA. Follow application rates and instructions on the package and repeat the application three more times during the year, four to six weeks apart.

Step 3

Control kikuyu infestations in the ornamental bed by hand pulling the plants. They are easier to remove if the soil is wet. All parts of the plant have to be removed as it can regrow from even a tiny piece of stem.

Tips and Warnings

  • Herbicides may contain chemicals that are poisonous. Read and follow all label directions, wear protective clothing and a breathing mask during application and store the chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Tank sprayer
  • Preemergent herbicide
  • Postemergent herbicide


  • Grounds Maintenance: Living--and Succeeding--With Kikuyu Grass
  • University of California: Kikuyugrass
Keywords: kill kikuyu grass, control kikuyu grass, manage kikuyu grass

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, providing writing services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.