Lawn grass types suitable for Kenya and East Africa

Types of Lawn grass

Many types of lawn grasses are now available for a wide range of consumers. Lawn grasses can be used for the following purposes

  • As sports surfaces for soccer, rugby, tennis, hockey and athletics
  • To beautify yards in homes, industrial facilities, offices and other workplaces
  • In parks and recreational facilities
  • For weed control like in industrial yards
  • For aesthetic purposes like in balconies, roofs and open stair cases
  • For erosion control on slopes and embankments

How to select a lawn grass

Consider the following factors when selecting a grass to plant

  • Your location and climate
  • The level of shading in the proposed lawn
  • The soil type and condition (sand, loam, clay, water logged e.t.c)
  • The availability of water to sustain the lawn throughout the year
  • The purpose of the lawn grass such as sports pitch, wedding garden, front and back yard, erosion control, beauty, weed control and other purposes

When  selecting a lawn grass the first consideration is location. location determines the temperature that your lawn will grow in. Some lawn grasses will grow better in high temperatures than others and vice versa. Secondly, determine the level of shading in the proposed lawn. Large and many trees can cast shadows under which only certain types of grasses will grow. It is important to note that the whole compound may not be shaded. In this case two or more varieties can be used. The type of soil is another important consideration. Some lawn grasses will grow well in sand or in water soaked conditions, some will perform poorly.  Some lawn grass varieties will withstand human and vehicle traffic better than others. It is therefore important to consider the use of the lawn. To establish and sustain a good lawn, regular irrigation is important. Choose a lawn grass based on your ability to water the grass.

Before you place an order for grass, you will need to do the following

  • Determine the net area to be planted with lawn grass. This will make it easier for a supplier to give you a good estimate. Measure the area in square metres or in square feet. Do not include the area occupied by buildings, paths, paving and other hardscape.
  • Ensure that you have sufficient amount of water to sustain the grass in the first few weeks before establishment.
  • As much as possible, prepare the ground. This will save you costs if you did it yourself. This includes
    • Removing all the existing vegetation, roots and rocks such as only soft soil is left.
    • If soil is unsuitable, consider adding 6 inches or 150mm of red soil. Doing this yourself will save you mark-up costs by a landscaper
    • Level the soil and add manure. For every 5 parts of soil, add 2 parts or manure. for example if the red soil needed is 5 trucks, put 2 trucks or manure
    • Level the ground by raking it.

Having done this, you can make the order. Usually, the delivery and planting will be done the next day.

 

Which is the best grass to plant?

 Please refer to the table below for a guide on the best kind of grass to plant.

The table outlines the salient features of different types lawn grasses in Kenya and East Africa

Type of grassDrought and heat ToleranceShade ToleranceCold toleranceAbility to out-compete weedsFrequency of mowingBest for
Type of grassDrought and heat ToleranceShade ToleranceCold toleranceAbility to out-compete weedsFrequency of mowingBest for
Arabic grass
HighMediumMediumHighLowHomes and offices
Kikuyu grass
MediumLowHighLowHighPublic amenities and roads
Carpet grass
HighLowLowHighLowHomes and Offices
Buffalo grass
HighHighLowHighLowHomes and offices with lots of shade and in hot areas
Pemba grass
HighHighLowHighLowHomes and offices with lots of shade and in hot areas
Variegated Pemba grassHighLowLowHighLowHomes and offices
Sports pitch Bermuda grassHighLowMediumHighLowSports pitches
Zimbabwe grass


MediumHighMediumHighHighHomes and offices with lots of shade
PaspalumLowLowLowLowHighHomes and offices
Maadi RiverHighLowMediumHighLowHomes and offices
Cape RoyalHighLowMediumHighLowHomes and offices

Characteristics of lawn grasses in kenya

The table indicates suitability of the various lawn grasses based on colour and growing characteristics

Type of grassBest for
Arabic grass
Small leafed, dark green creeping grass. Suitable for high end homes. It has a wow! effect
Buffalo grass
Light green grass that can withstand shade especially in very hot areas
Cape RoyalGreyish-blue grass that can form numerous seed heads when not mowed. It is a creeper.
Carpet grass
Low lying creeping grass that is dark green in colour. It can be used in water soaked areas and on soil with poor nutrition
Kikuyu grass
Most common grass in Kenya. It is best for large scale projects like roads
Maadi RiverGreyish-blue creeping grass, It is an old variety in Kenya.
PaspalumPoor establishment possibility, suffers in drought, cold and cannot compete with weeds
Pemba grass
Grows very well in very hot areas
Sports pitch Bermuda grassSuitable for high end and sports facilities and unique. It forms a low lying carpet
Variegated Pemba grassIt has white and green leaves. It grows very well in very hot areas
Zimbabwe grass


Great under trees and other shaded places in medium to high altitudes

Choosing lawn grasses

Please check the various prices here

12 thoughts on “Lawn grass types suitable for Kenya and East Africa”

  1. Can you give me a price on your buffalo grass per square metre, delivered to Kayole. Would require approximately 20sq metre(200sq feet)
    Thank you

  2. I would like to plant Arabic grass in my garden, please advise on the following:
    1. Can this type of grass be used if there is human traffic eg children playing
    2. I have been advised that this type of grass increases the possibility of moles in the garden.

    Thanks

    1. This grass will withstand high traffic. What will happen is that the leaves will become smaller

      The statement about moles is very far from the truth. Moles love Paspalum grass because of its underground rhizomes

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