Have you ever wondered what type of grass is used for lawns and gardens? Chances are, it’s a type of carpet grass. Carpet grass refers to a group of warm-season grass species that produce a thick, carpet-like lawn.
In this article, you’ll learn all about the different types of carpet grass, and we’ll also explore the benefits and uses. You will discover tips for maintaining carpet grass, and we will answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is Carpet Grass?
Carpet Grass is a tropical American pasture grass with large leaves and flat prostrate stems. It is beneficial for lawns in mild climates and as a sand binder. Carpet grass is a mat-forming perennial grass from the Poaceae family that is native to sandy soils in southeastern North America. Carpet grass is often used as a lawn and pasture grass in warm climates, although its use typically signals deteriorating soil fertility due to its low quality forage. The plant has spread naturally over the planet.
Carpet grass grows to a height of 20-50 cm (8-20 inches). Its roots are shallow, and the plant spreads vegetatively through rhizomes and stolons. The tiny wind-pollinated blooms are borne in little panicles (complex spikes) with three to four branches. They seed profusely.
What is the Botanical Name of Carpet Grass?
Carpet grass, botanically known as Axonopus fissifolius, is a warm-season grass that is native to Central and South America. This low-maintenance grass does well in tropical and subtropical regions and is a popular choice for lawns and recreational areas in these climates.
Carpet grass is a low-maintenance grass suitable for tropical and subtropical lawns. With the proper care and maintenance, it will provide you with a dense, green lawn all year round. Paying close attention to mowing, watering, and fertilizing carpet grass as needed will keep your lawn looking lush and vibrant.
Characteristics of Carpet Grass
Carpet grass, also known as Axonopus fissifolius, is a coarse-textured, creeping grass that forms a dense mat. It has broad, flat stolons and leaf blades.
Carpet grass has several distinguishing characteristics:
- It has stout stolons that root at the nodes, allowing it to spread rapidly. These stolons often have roots forming at the nodes even before they touch the ground.
- It has blunt leaves with rounded tips with a pale green or deep green color. This follows a growth pattern that is known as the tall fescue growth pattern.
- It produces seed heads that contain two or three spikelets. The spikelets have one fertile floret that produces a viable seed.
- It has a shallow root system, with most roots concentrated in the top few inches of soil. The roots are fibrous and form a dense mat.
- It tolerates heavy foot traffic and mowing. Carpet grass can handle moderate wear and tear without sustaining damage. It also recovers quickly from mowing, even when cut short.
- It has a coarse texture but forms a dense, carpet-like lawn. The grass blades tend to lie flat, giving the lawn a smooth appearance from a distance.
- It spreads aggressively through stolons, crowding out most weeds once established. The dense growth also makes it difficult for weed seeds to germinate in the lawn.
- It prefers moist, fertile, and acidic soils with plenty of sunlight. Carpet grass needs moisture and humidity to thrive, especially in hot weather. It also requires fertile, nutrient-rich soil to maintain its green color and fast growth.
- It is rarely troubled by pests or lawn diseases. Carpet grass is fairly resistant to common lawn diseases and insect pests. Proper mowing, fertilization, and occasional irrigation are usually the only maintenance it requires.
Carpet grass is an ideal choice for a low-maintenance lawn in tropical and subtropical regions. With its hardy and spreading nature, it forms an attractive turf that thrives with minimal care. The dense, carpet-like coverage also helps it withstand heavy foot traffic while resisting weeds.
Types of Carpet Grass
There are three main types of carpet grass: narrow-leaf, broadleaf, and Louisianagrass. Let’s explore the characteristics of each in more detail.
Narrow Leaf Carpet Grass (or Axonopus affinis)
The Axonopus affinis mostly known as Narrow leaf carpet grass, is a popular choice for lawns in warm southern climates. Narrowleaf Carpetgrass has wide, slightly hairy blades and can grow in cool, dark, or less fertile environments. This variety does not spread aggressively and, despite these characteristics, remains aesthetically pleasing.
Broadleaf Carpet Grass (or Axonopus compressus)
The Axonopus compressus is popularly known as Broadleaf carpet gras. As the name implies, has larger leaf blades but otherwise looks like any other type of Carpetgrass. Unlike narrow-leaved Carpetgrass, this species of Carpetgrass spreads quickly, making it ideal for ground cover and grazing in orchards or plantations.
Louisiana Grass (or Axonopus fissifolius)
The axonopus fissifolius, often known as Louisianagrass, loves water and grows well near it. It is mostly utilized as pasture and grazing fodder for cattle. This grass produces a dense sod, making it difficult for insect pests to damage its blades.
The specific type you choose will depend on factors like how much maintenance you prefer and the amount of shade in your yard. With the proper care and maintenance for your area, any of these carpet grasses can provide an attractive lawn.
Benefits of Carpet Grass
There are several benefits to choosing carpet grass for your lawn or yard.
Carpet grass requires minimal maintenance to keep it looking lush and green. It grows slowly, so mowing and fertilizing do not need to be done as frequently as other types of grass. Carpet grass is also quite durable and resistant to damage, so it recovers well from activity and wear.
Pest and Disease Resistance
Carpet grass is naturally resistant to many common lawn pests and diseases. Its dense growth and hardy nature make it difficult for weeds, insects, and fungi to become established. This means you’ll need to use fewer pesticides and fungicides, which is better for the environment and reduces costs.
Carpet grass is well adapted to hot, dry climates. It has a deep root system that allows it to access moisture even during periods of little rainfall. The grass blades also fold up during the day to conserve water, then reopen at night. This makes carpet grass ideal if you live in an area with frequent droughts or water restrictions.
Despite its name, carpet grass does not actually feel like carpet. It has soft, broad blades that feel lush underfoot. The dense turf provides good cushioning and is comfortable to walk, sit, and play on.
Low Light Requirements
Carpet grass grows well even in shady areas that receive limited direct sunlight. It is a good choice if you have a yard with mature trees or areas that are in the shade for much of the day. Carpet grass will remain green and healthy with 3 to 6 hours of filtered sunlight per day.
The dense, spreading growth of carpet grass is excellent for controlling soil erosion. Its roots form a thick mat that holds soil in place and prevents runoff. Carpet grass is often used on slopes, embankments, and drainage channels to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
Carpet grass seed and sod are very affordable, especially compared to other types of lawn grasses. The low maintenance requirements also help save on costs for fertilizer, pesticides, mowing, watering, and other care. Overall, carpet grass provides an attractive, high-performance lawn at a budget-friendly price.
Uses of Carpet Grass
Carpet grass has many useful applications in landscapes and lawns. Here are some of the main uses of carpet grass:
Carpet grass works well as a ground cover plant due to its spreading nature. It forms a dense mat of grass that crowds out weeds and prevents soil erosion. The carpet of grass also helps to retain moisture in the soil.
Carpet grass can be used as lawn grass, especially in warmer climates. It requires frequent mowing and maintenance to keep it looking tidy.
Carpet grass is suitable for pastures and can provide nutritious forage for livestock such as cattle, goats, and sheep. It is high in protein and digestible energy. Carpet grass pastures require rotational grazing to prevent overgrazing.
The dense, carpet-like growth of this grass makes it useful for recreational areas where people walk, sit, or play. It helps prevent dust and provides cushioning.
The spreading stems and roots of carpet grass help to stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes and embankments. It spreads quickly to provide complete ground cover and protect soil from the impact of rain and runoff.
Once established, the dense growth of carpet grass will crowd out most weeds. Its spreading stems and roots occupy the soil and do not leave room for weed seeds to germinate. Regular mowing, fertilizing and irrigation also help carpet grass to outcompete weeds.
Some varieties of carpet grass have good drought tolerance. Although carpet grass prefers moist conditions, these drought-tolerant varieties can withstand some degree of dry weather once established.
To summarize, carpet grass has many beneficial uses thanks to its hardy, traffic-tolerant nature and soft, weed-resistant turf. With the proper climate and maintenance, carpet grass can provide an attractive, multipurpose ground cover for lawns, sports fields, golf courses, pastures, and more. Its dense, spreading growth helps control erosion while creating a cushioned surface for recreation and leisure activities.
Maintaining a Healthy Carpet Grass Lawn
Maintaining a healthy carpet grass lawn requires some effort and care. Here are 7 key things you can do:
Fertilize your carpet grass 3-4 times a year during the growing season. Use a fertilizer specifically for carpet grass, such as a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, like 10-10-10. Follow the directions on the product packaging for how much and how often to apply. Fertilizer will provide the nutrients your lawn needs to grow thick and green.
Mow your carpet grass lawn once a week during peak growing season. Never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. For most carpet grass types, mow to a height of 1 to 2 inches. Sharpen your mower blade at least once a month or, if you notice it, tear the grass blades. Mowing properly will promote new healthy growth.
Water your carpet grass lawn when the top few inches of soil are dry. Most lawns need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Water in the early morning to minimize disease and allow grass blades to dry during the day. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to disease and root rot. Check your lawn after watering to ensure there are no puddles, as standing water should not remain on the lawn.
Aerate your carpet grass lawn once a year, ideally in the spring or fall. Aeration involves puncturing small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass roots. You can rent an aerator or hire a lawn service to aerate for you. Aeration reduces soil compaction and helps strengthen your lawn.
Overseed As Needed
Overseeding involves spreading new grass seeds over your existing lawn. For carpet grass, overseed in the spring or fall when temperatures are cool. Choose a carpet grass seed that matches your existing grass type. Overseeding helps thicken your lawn and fill in bare or thinning spots. Follow the directions on the seed packaging for proper overseeding techniques and amounts.
Scout for Weeds and Pests Regularly
Inspect your carpet grass lawn regularly for common weeds, diseases, and pests. Some potential issues include dandelions, crabgrass, brown patch disease, and chinch bugs. Treat any issues you spot early to avoid major damage. You may need to apply herbicides for weeds, fungicides for diseases, or pesticides for insect control. Always follow the directions carefully when using any lawn chemicals.
Leave Grass Clippings
After mowing, leave grass clippings on the lawn rather than collecting them. The clippings will naturally fertilize.
In summary, carpet grass is a low-maintenance, warm-season grass suitable for lawns and recreational areas in tropical and subtropical climates. With proper mowing, fertilizing, and watering, carpet grass will provide an attractive, dense, and durable lawn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have some questions about carpet grass that you need answered? Here are some of the most common FAQs.
What type of soil does carpet grass strive in?
Carpet grass thrives in acidic soils with a pH between 5 to 6. It prefers sandy, loamy soils that drain well and remain moist. It does not do well in clay soils or areas with poor drainage.
What is the scientific name for small Carpetgrass?
The scientific name for small Carpetgrass is Arthraxon hispidus. It is very similar to broadleaf Carpetgrass but has narrower leaf blades and forms an even denser mat.
What is the family of carpet grass?
Carpet grass belongs to the Poaceae family, commonly known as the grass family.
What type of grass is carpet grass?
Carpet grass, also known as Axonopus fissifolius, is a mat-forming perennial grass. It is believed to have originated from the Southern USA, the West Indies or Central America. It has broad, light green leaves and spreads by creeping stolons to form a dense turf. Carpet grass does well in tropical and subtropical climates, especially in shady, moist areas.
Is carpet grass shade-tolerant?
Yes, carpet grass has a fair shade tolerance. It thrives in shady areas and under tree canopies. Carpetgrass tolerates soil pH from 4.0 to 7.0.
How fast does carpet grass grow?
Carpetgrass is sown by seed in the spring. It can spread quickly by creeping stolons, blanketing an area within a year or two.
Can carpet grass tolerate foot traffic?
Carpet grass has good wear tolerance and can stand up well to medium foot traffic. It may show some damage from heavy traffic, but it has the ability to recover quickly. Mowing the grass at a higher height will also help improve its wear tolerance. For high-traffic areas, you may need to overseed or re-sod damaged spots.
In summary, carpet grass is an excellent choice if you want an attractive lawn that requires little maintenance. With the right care and conditions, carpet grass can provide a lush, durable turf for many years.
So there you have it, the complete lowdown on carpet grass, what it is, the types available, why you’d want it, how to use it, and how to keep it looking lush and lovely. Now that you’re armed with all this info, you can make an informed choice about whether carpet grass is right for your lawn and landscaping needs. If you do opt for carpet grass, be sure to choose a type suitable for your climate and prepare the soil properly before planting. Then, once established, commit to regular maintenance like mowing, watering, and fertilizing.