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Types of Carpet Grass

Types of Carpet Grass

There are three types of carpet grass including narrow leaf carpet grassbroadleaf carpet Grass and Louisianagrass. Carpetgrass is a perennial, creeping warm-season grass that is native to the Gulf States and regions with tropical climates. This grass spreads through runners that are seen above the ground (also called stolons), and since it is a rhizomatous grass, it spreads rapidly once it is established and creates a mat-like cover, hence the name carpetgrass.

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Like other warm-season grasses, carpetgrass thrives during late spring and summer and then goes dormant during the winter months. Carpetgrass develops seedheads on seed stalks that can reach about a foot in height, and this makes this grass look like a weed which makes homeowners not prefer to establish it on their lawns. However, carpetgrass can grow in conditions other grass types struggle in, like sandy and wet soils with low pH levels (4.5-5.5) and therefore is recommended as a turfgrass in lawn areas with poor growing conditions. 

1. Narrow Leaf Carpet Grass

It can grow in low fertility soils more easily than other grass types. This is the reason this narrow leaf carpet grass is a good choice for low-maintenance areas like medians on the roads and highways, parks, airports, golf course roughs, etc. 

This Axonopus affinis species prefers cool and shady regions, and therefore, if there are areas in your lawn that receive a lot of shade, making your existing turfgrass struggle, you can choose to plant narrow leaf carpet grass there to provide durable ground cover.

Axonopus affinis is generally grown from seed, and a smooth and loose seedbed is required for it to grow well. According to the Texas Cooperative Extension Service, the seeding should be done between mid-April to May at the rate of two pounds of Axonopus affinis seed per one thousand square feet of lawn for a rapid spread of ground cover. 

The blades of narrow leaf carpet grass are 1/16 to ¼ inch wide (about 2-6mm) and 2 to 8 inches long. These blades are rounded at the tip and are about 50 to 60 percent less wide than broadleaf carpet grass blades. The tiny florets the Axonopus affinis species develops are white to pale yellow in color. 

2. Broadleaf Carpet Grass

This species prefers sandy soils and is native to South America and Mexico and is similar in appearance to common carpetgrass, which is the next type. It is mostly grown to prevent soil erosion as it has the ability to spread very rapidly. However, due to this fast-spreading characteristic, Axonopus compressus is also considered a weed in some regions as it can invade surrounding areas and choke out desirable species.

Like narrow leaf carpet grass, broadleaf carpet grass can also tolerate shade well, and therefore, it is often grown under fruit trees and other trees with dense canopy to provide ground cover where other grass varieties will not be able to grow. The blades of Axonopus compressus are flat, lanceolate and shiny; they can be ⅙ to ⅜ inch wide (about 2.5 -15mm) and have a maximum height of 10 to 30 inches. It develops around two to four slender spikelets that can reach up to a height of 10cm and are pale green in color, tinged with purple.

Broadleaf Carpet Grass

3. Louisianagrass

It thrives in wet areas and forms a dense mat of ground cover. In the U.S., Louisianagrass is often used as grazing fodder for cattle and for pasture. This carpet grass is adaptable and can grow well in various soil types. It is generally established from sod. The blades of Louisianagrass interweave tightly as they develop and hence form a dense mat-like covering that pests cannot easily damage. 

The stem nodes of common carpetgrass are hairless. The sheaths of the leaves are also hairless and flattened. The leaf blades are mostly linear in shape (5-20 x 0.2-0.8 cm), have blunt tips, and are hairless or have a few hairs. The difference between Louisianagrass and broadleaf carpet grass is that Louisianagrass does not have hair on its stem nodes while broadleaf carpet grass does. 

What are the Features of Carpet Grass?

Carpetgrass is a perennial warm-season creeping stoloniferous grass. Similar to crabgrass, it has two-edged, flat runners or stolons and leaves that are wide with blunt and rounded edges. This species grows tall and slender seedstalks that culminate in two branches. Stolons are flat, branching, and have roots at every node.

Leaf sheaths are highly pubescent around the nodes and tightly compressed with small hairs covering the outer margin. The ligule is quite short, with a small hairy fringe. The leaf blade is broadly rounded at the base, flat, blunt at the tip, and hair-fringed.

Seedstalks are long, thin, and frequently drooping. It splits into two slender and single-sided spikes at the apex, with a third spike below. Spikelets are sharp, 2 to 25 mm long and rectangular in shape. They are pale green or purple-tinged in color and form two rows on opposite sides of the rachis. The lower glume is not present, while the top glume is the same length as the spikelet. The anthers are either yellowish-white or purple-tinged. Seeds are yellowish-brown in color and are about 1.25 mm in length.

Carpet grass has a shallow root system, which is why it is not drought tolerant. The blunt leaves with rounded tips of carpet grass with a pale green or deep green color follow a growth pattern that is known as the tall fescue growth pattern. For more information on carpetgrass, read Carpet Grass Definition.

From selecting the right seasonal plants to installing an outdoor kitchen, our landscaping services can do it all for you. Contact us today for a stunning landscape!

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