Spatial growth of kikuyugrass (Pennisetum clandestinum).
Photographic techniques and the point-frame transect method were used to study areal growth of kikuyugrass grown in the field without competition in 1990 and 1991. The effect of cutting height on plant extension was also examined in 1991. There were no differences in sward area between eight selections planted in 1990, except on the first measurement date, but selections differed in height and number of primary and secondary stolons. Expansion was irregular in all but one selection, and the patch shape of all irregular selections was defined by the direction and number of the earliest buds to sprout from the stolons. Only two of the eight selections were planted in 1991. Cutting height affected extension from the plot centre, linear plant frequency and plant biomass. The lowest height of cut, 2.5 cm, had the least extension and frequency, the higher cut, 5 cm, was intermediate, and the unmowed plots had the highest extension and frequency. There were differences between selections in number of nodes per unit area, which resulted in differences in response to mowing. Results from a greenhouse clipping experiment showed that although root weight of stolon sections used as propagules was reduced by defoliation, starch content was not affected. The spreading ability of kikuyugrass appears to be based on its ability to branch from its stolons presumably due to reallocation of resources. Based on these results, close mowing could slow the process of kikuyugrass invasion into other turf species but is inadequate to control it.