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How to Kill Kikuyu Grass Weeds

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017
A thick lawn is the best defense against kikuyu grass.
grass,lawn image by Greg Pickens from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) is an invasive perennial grassy weed. It infests lawns, gardens, orchards and abandoned land. Once its established, it can be tough to remove. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, but is not impossible to get rid of. Kikuyu grass must, however, be treated aggressively for several seasons if it is to be killed for good. After it is gone, you must keep an eye out for new growth and kill it before it spreads.

Dig up individual patches of kikuyu grass. Be sure to dig up all of the roots. Even small pieces can regenerate into new patches. Bag all of the kikuyu blades and roots and throw them away. To kill kikuyu grass this way, you must remain vigilant and dig any new patches that sprout up as soon as you spot them.

Spray kikuyu grass patches with a post-emergent herbicide. The botanists at the University of California Davis recommend treating kikuyu grass with a combination of triclopyr and MSMA herbicides. First spray the kikuyu grass patch with triclopyr according to the manufacturer's instructions. Then, in four to six weeks spray any reemerging kikuyu grass with MSMA. Continue this cycle of triclopyr and MSMA in four- to six-week cycles until the kikuyu grass is killed and does not come back.

Apply a preemergent herbicide labeled for the control of kikuyu grass in spring and again in early summer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and amounts.

Spread polypropylene landscape fabric or black plastic tarp over your garden bed to keep kikuyu grass from reemerging.


Things You Will Need

  • Trowel
  • Triclopyr herbicide
  • MSMA herbicide
  • Preemergent herbicide
  • Polypropylene landscape fabric
  • Black plastic tarp


  • Reseed any bare areas in your lawn left behind killed kikuyu grass patches. Kikuyugrass will invade if they are left bare.
  • A healthy, thick-growing lawn may be able to fend off a kikuyu grass infestation.


  • Clean any yard or garden tools used on kikuyu grass infested areas. It can be spread to other areas of your lawn or garden by seeds or stem pieces that cling to them.

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.