Grasses or turfs are of numerous types, and it can be hard to decide which is better for you. You might think that artificial turf is the best option, but what if you can also have a natural grass lawn without the added maintenance. Based on the region you live in, carpet grass might be the best option. To help you decide, this article discusses carpet grass and how to care for it. So, let’s dig in!
Introduction to Carpet Grass
The botanical name of carpet grass is Axonopusaffinis andAxonopuscompressus, and it originated from the southern USA, West Indies, or Central America. There are two types of carpet grass; Axonopuscompressus has broad leaves while Axonopusaffinishas narrow leaves. They both have the same defining properties, but the narrow-leaf type is mostly used in home lawns, and it produces a lot of seeds.
Carpet grass is mainly grown in warm seasons and was introduced to the United States in the 1800s. Since then, this creeping grass is found everywhere – from fields and woods to roads and sidewalks in Texas, Florida, Virginia, and Arkansas. It is a very popular type of grass for home lawns and is usually known as flat grass or Louisiana grass.
Identification Characteristics of Carpet Grass
The main identification features of carpet grass are its flat runners or stolons, which means that it grows or spreads by creeping stolons. It has wide leaves and rounded tips. Carpet grass has a light green color, and its density can often be confused with other species of grasses, such as the centipede grass or crabgrass. The grass should be kept at the height of 1 or 2 centimeters because if it is any longer, it can be harder to mow down due to the coarse leaf blades.
It is important to know that in hot climates or during summer, carpet grass produces tall head like seeds, which can give it a weed-like appearance. The appearance of these seed stalks is prominent because they are about a foot long in height and have rounded seeds on the tips. To prevent these, you should mow carpet grass every five days to a week.
Planting Carpet Grass
Carpet grass is usually grown after the last spring frost. The best time to plant carpet grass seeds is when the climate starts to turn warm, i.e., from April to July. The soil should be loosely prepared, but it must be firm enough to hold the seeds in place. The best way is to drag the soil to make it lose and roll it to give a smooth or firm surface. The rate of sowing seeds for carpet grass is 2 to 5 pounds of seeds for 1000 sq. feet of land.
After sowing the seeds, move the soil lightly to cover them. The land must be kept well-hydrated for the starting two or three weeks. Moving forward, water it once every week for ten weeks. The spread of carpet grass initiates ten weeks after planting. Although carpet grass does not require fertilizer, adding it will assist the growth. When the grass is spread evenly, keep watering it thoroughly.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Carpet Grass
The main advantage as to why carpet grass is preferred for home lawns is that it requires low maintenance, as it does well in low fertile soil. It grows well in a hydrated soil, be it wet or poorly drained, and it also requires little attention. However, it does not survive well in dry soil, so it is important to water it frequently. The only drawback of carpet grass is that it cannot survive cold weather and drought.
While tending to carpet grass, keep it away from salinity because it has low salt tolerance. Carpet grass is most susceptible to diseases like pests and insects, such as nematodes. It is not of high quality and does not produce a fantastic looking lawn, but it can be grown in areas where other grasses fail to grow. Carpet grass is a convenient turfgrass because it is a solution to many problematic lawn areas and is dense enough to withstand pressure.
Due to the pale green or light yellow color and sparse growing property, it is not visually appealing. It remains green in spring but instantly turns brown when exposed to even the slightest temperature drops. Even though there are quite a few disadvantages to carpet grass, one area in which it excels is that it can easily grow in complete shade and is perfect for growing in erosion exposed sites. It even helps control erosion to a certain extent.
Caring Tips for Carpet Grass
Being a very low maintenance type of grass, carpet grass does not ask for much when it comes to care and attention. But to maintain a healthy-looking environment or space wherever you are planting it, it is essential to provide carpet grass with some care. The main tips for caring for carpet grass while planting and maintaining are as follows:
- It is important to check the pH of your soil before planting carpet grass as it grows best in slightly acidic soils, which have a pH of about 5.0 to 5.5. Maintaining this pH is essential if you want your grass to stay healthy for longer periods.
- While sowing the seeds to ensure an even spread of grass, plant the seeds 6 to 12 inches apart in rows, which are spaced equally apart.
- If you are using fertilizer to aid the growth of your grass, use one that is high in nitrogen and has a slow-release formula. It will help protect it against parasites. The best time to use fertilizer on your grass is between June and August.
- The grass should be cut at a maximum length of 1 or 2 inches to avoid a weed-like appearance. It is best to mow it as frequently as possible.
- The grass should not be overwatered. It should be filled with 1 inch of water every week during growing. But the level of water greatly depends on the soil once the grass has fully spread. Watering frequently will also help avoid early browning.
- When grown on small and shady areas, the grass can be easily mowed manually as well.
- It is necessary to remove all the unwanted plants from the area of the grass, as it can affect its growth.
- Using a large amount of fertilizer on the grass is a big no. Increased amounts of fertilizer high in phosphorous will kill the grass.
- Spot unwanted plants in your grass and pluck them from the root. This ensures no unwanted growth and gives the grass a clean appearance.
Carpet grass is a very commonly grown grass in cold regions or humid and rainy climates. It holds up well over time when maintained properly and is the best option for shady areas. It comes with incredible advantages and only a minute number of disadvantages. Carpet grass is a great cost-effective way to help elevate the appearance of your lawn or anywhere you need a little greenery.