We're going to take a look at a typical Council park in suburban Australia. The park is planted with common Kikuyu, it has some shaded areas from some beautiful trees in the park, as well as a nice kids playground area. The park receives only minimal usage.
In this article we're going to examine the troubles presented by the use of Kikuyu in this park, as well as looking at the cost savings, and savings in environmentally damaging practices that both the council and residents would benefit from if the council used Zoysia in place of common Kikuyu.
Dead patches under trees
This council has done a wonderful job of hiding the dead patches underneath the beautiful trees in this park, but the fact remains that Kikuyu is terrible in shade, and anytime there are trees, Kikuyu will die underneath. The gardens are nice but they aren't there for beauty - they are in this park to cover for the shortcomings of Kikuyu, and they add even more costs to maintaining this park.
This park uses a lot of pesticides. Common Kikuyu is highly aggressive in growth rates and is susceptible to weeds. Herbicides are used here to kill weeds in the turf, as well as on the edges to stop the Kikuyu spreading onto paths.
Kikuyu Invading Neighbouring Lawns
I visited one of the lawns directly opposite this park, it's a Buffalo - well it was a Buffalo… these days the lawn is 50/50 Buffalo and Kikuyu. The Kikuyu seed from the Council park blew across onto this lawn, embedded itself and now the Buffalo lawn is destroyed. The same is true of all verges surrounding this park - all infested with weedy common Kikuyu.
Common Kikuyu requires more lawn mowing than any other lawn type. Amounting to huge maintenance and upkeep costs for the council in staff wages and equipment costs, not to mention all the extra pollution created by having to use mower tractors so frequently just to cut some grass. Then there's the issue of so much waste material from lawn mowing that needs to be disposed of.
This Kikuyu park requires regular vertimowing to dethatch this grass. Vertimowing on this scale is highly energy intensive, using very large vertimowing tractors and creating masses of waste material…. and this is only a small park!
Watering and Fertilising
Again, this Kikuyu turfed park will need a regular program of fertilising and watering. Perhaps no more than a Couch lawn, but on this scale, that's a lot of water, a lot of fertiliser and a lot of wasted money.
Now lets look at the instant and massive benefits this council, it's neighbouring residents and the environment will all receive if this park was to be re-turfed with Zoysia.
Dead Patches Under Trees
Almost all dead patches due to shade under trees will be eliminated because Zoysia is more shade tolerant than common Kikuyu. The council instantly saves maintenance costs for the garden areas they were forced to plant due to the Kikuyu.
The use of weed killers will be massively decreased because Zoysia is highly resistant to weeds due to it's thick sward. Weed killers that are used to stop Kikuyu spreading onto paths and into surrounding areas will be totalled eliminated. Zoysia does not become weedy
Even better, Zoysia is naturally highly resistant to lawn disease and pests, so the use of chemicals to treat such problems in Kikuyu will be almost non-existent with Zoysia.
And here we have massive savings in both costs and massive reduction in the use of harmful chemicals used to treat lawn problems.
Invasion Of Neighbouring Lawns
Zoysia will never invade and destroy any neighbouring lawns… ever. It just cannot spread in the way that Kikuyu can, and even if it could spread and establish from seed blowing in the wind - the neighbours would be blessed to now have a Zoysia lawn!
Lawn mowing requirements of Zoysia are a fraction of those for Kikuyu. By planting Zoysia, the council could instantly begin saving between 50 - 70 % on all costs associated with lawn mowing of parks, including equipment purchase and maintenance costs, staff costs, fuel costs, as well as massive savings in the emission of pollution from tractor lawn mowers.
We can't say that Zoysia will never need vertimowing, and we would be interested in seeing studies and trials of large scale Zoysia usage in Australia to determine the exact cost saving from this de-thatching process, but from best estimations, some Councils may experience the total elimination of the need to vertimow at best, and an enormous reduction in de-thatching at worst…
Watering and Fertilising
Zoysia requires far less fertiliser and less water than either Kikuyu or Couch. This fact also leads to huge reductions in the use of water, and chemically derived fertilisers which can be damaging to the environment.
This Council park is a perfect candidate for conversion to Zoysia, it's a low usage park which means it has no reason to use Kikuyu at all. Zoysia is equally well suited to all other low, medium and moderately heavy wear parks in all warmer regions across the entire country.
When we think about the massive numbers and scales of parks across Australia, we can see how all these enormous savings from just one single small park can convert to almost incomprehensibly enormous savings across the entire nation if they only converted their parks to Zoysia.
Including massive savings in costs and environmental benefits such as:
We urge all councils and government to begin Zoysia trials immediately, and begin implementing this wonderful grass into parks around the nation as quickly as possible.
We urge you… act now.