Carpetgrass (with video)

ProPlugger Co - Saturday, January 26, 2013

Carpetgrass (Axonopus affinis) is a perennial turf grass popular in the Gulf Coast states, including Louisiana, where it was dubbed "petit gazon," by the Creoles. It is also referred to as “Louisiana grass.” It can be found growing in pastures, ditches, woods, and lawns. Carpetgrass forms a dense turf and is shallow rooted, and as such is not drought tolerant nor salt tolerant. Carpetgrass is as cold tolerant as centipedegrass, i.e., it doesn't have a true dormant state and will stay green as long as temperatures are above freezing.

This warm season grass is an aggressive spreader, as it creeps along with the aid of above ground shoots, called stolons. Carpetgrass is recommended for moist, sandy, low fertility sites with high acidity (pH 4.5-5.5). It is grown where ease of establishment and care is more important than ascetic quality of the turf. Its rapid and prolific seed head production is the major disadvantage to growing carpetgrass. In fact, it is not recommended for lawns, but rather low maintenance areas such as parks, roadsides, airports and golf course roughs. It is mowed to a height of 2 inches.

Leaf Texture

Coarse

Climate Zone

Carpetgrass grows best in the hot, mostly humid regions of the United States particularly near the Gulf Coast.

When to Plant

Seed carpetgrass in March and April while it is still relatively cool and damp. Plugs and sprigs can be planted about the same time and even a little later (mid-May).

Light Requirements

Moderately shade tolerant; carpetgrass grows best in full sun.

Watering Requirements

All grasses need to be watered daily during time of establishment. Once established, periodic watering is recommended for carpetgrass. An excellent way to water is with a lawn irrigation system set on a timer.

Planting Methods

Carpetgrass can be successfully established by growing from seed, plugs or sprigs. Two inch plugs are planted from 6 inch centers.

Soil preparation

The best way to grow a nice lawn is to properly prepare the soil for planting. Whether you’re planting grass from plugs, sprigs or seed, the finished surface should contain at least six inches of quality topsoil, free of stones and large clumps of soil. Use a rototiller to work up the topsoil; smooth it out with a garden rake.

ProPlugger Pointer

For easy planting of turf plugs use the Proplugger 5-IN- 1 XL. This tool will save you some serious bending over. Simply push the Proplugger into the ground with your foot to the depth of the roots of the plug (use a metal ring to set the depth of the tool). Pull up on the tool to remove a plug of soil. Tap the tool to release the plug next to the hole you've created. Place the turf grass plug in the hole then firm in the roots or root ball with soil.

PH and Fertilizer

Have your soil tested prior to planting. Most lawn grasses grow best in a soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. If a soil test indicates a need to add lime, determine the proper amount needed and mix it into the ground to a depth of about 4 inches. Fertilize the first year about once per month, then once or twice a year thereafter.

Insects and Disease

Watch for white grub and mole crickets, two insects that can cause serious injury to carpetgrass. See your county extension agent for suitable control measures. Soil born diseases, such as brown spot, leaf spot, and Pythium can also become a problem. Disease problems are managed mostly by good cultural practices, i.e., mowing, watering and feeding.

Carpetgrass Varieties

Chase is an improved cultivar.