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Turf For School Sports Fields: Why Choose Kikuyu?

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Regular physical exercise and education is a mandatory part of the school curriculum across Australia. An outdoor sports field gives children and teenagers a great place to play a variety of sports and get enthused about their physical fitness. However, for a school sports field to be safe to use year-round, it must use a suitable type of turf.

Kikuyu turf is an excellent choice for any outdoor sports field, and it is especially suitable for schools. Here are three reasons to choose kikuyu turf when constructing a new outdoor sports field, or re-turfing an existing field:

Hard Wearing 

Hundreds of children running, jumping and diving across a sports field can do significant damage to the turf beneath their feet, and many turf types are too fragile to stand up to that kind of wear. Heavy foot traffic can create patches of bare earth. Without the support provided by living grass, these patches can quickly become pitted and waterlogged, creating a significant injury hazard.

Kikuyu turf is extremely hard-wearing and will stand up to constant use without forming bare patches. The individual blades of kikuyu grass are thicker and more robust than many other grass varieties and have deep-reaching roots that keep the plants firmly anchored in the ground. This allows them to survive extreme physical wear, and is especially useful for cricket creases, soccer goalmouth areas and other high-traffic sections of your sports field.

Kikuyu turf also regrows extremely quickly — so quickly, that it was originally introduced to Australia to provide grazing for large cattle herds. If patches of kikuyu turf do become badly damaged, they will regrow fully in a short space of time, without the need for reseeding. Kikuyu grows aggressively and sends out specialised shoots known as stolons to grow in nearby patches of bare earth. 

Low Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance and janitorial costs take a huge chunk out of any school's budget. Choosing kikuyu turf will help keep sports field maintenance costs to a minimum, as it requires very little upkeep for most of the year.

Despite its aggressive growth, kikuyu does not grow particularly tall. Blades of grass tend to grow sideways, forming a dense thatch of grass. As a consequence, kikuyu turf only requires occasional mowing. Its deep-ranging roots are capable of extracting nutrients from poor soils, so fertilisation requirements are also very low. 

High-quality kikuyu turf also retains water very well and can go for months without water during the cooler months. Occasional watering may be required during prolonged droughts, but this hardy turf will still cost a lot less to water than more fragile turf varieties.

Grows In Almost Any Soil Type

Like most turf varieties, kikuyu grows best in fertile, well-drained soils. However, its extensive root system allows it to thrive in almost any type of soil. This is a particularly useful quality for urban schools built on polluted, nutrient-poor soils, as well as schools in coastal areas with high soil salinity levels. This versatility also helps to keep field maintenance costs down, by reducing the need for soil conditioning services.