The cultivar is called 'KIK203', and is marketed under the name of Kenda® Kikuyu; I was the breeder of this grass. As a former turf grower, I know the pain of not being able to get Kikuyu to roll up.
In breeding this grass, I aimed for much stronger rhizomes and stolons, which was certainly achieved. The grass is also ready quicker on the farm. In the pot trial, Kenda® turf was the only grass that had rhizomes coming out the bottom of the pots. These numerous deep rhizomes have greatly increased the ability of Kenda® Kikuyu to handle heavy wear and prolonged drought.
When mown, Kenda® turf looks surprisingly fine leafed, and as it is one strain of grass it looks much more uniform than common Kikuyu. Feedback from growers has been excellent. In breeding trials, we grew this turf next to common Kikuyu and two other Kikuyu turf types which were not commercialised.
The Kenda® turf grew in much faster than the others but remarkably when left unmown, it did not get as tall as the other types. It seems to grow more horizontally rather than vertically. We did not find differences in mowing frequencies compared to the other Kikuyu. Kikuyu, like Couch, needs regular mowing or it will get untidy and thin out, although Kenda® turf does seem to be denser than the common form when left unmown.
Kenda® Kikuyu appears denser than the common form in general, providing another reason to use it instead of common Kikuyu or Couch for that matter. Kenda® Kikuyu is sterile, which should make councils very happy, as common Kikuyu seed can blow in the wind and germinate kilometres from its original spot.
In breeding, I had the choice of 8 sterile Kikuyu turf types, but Kenda® turf was far superior, so buying a Kikuyu just because it’s sterile should not be the only reason to choose that grass, it should also be for all the other benefits.
As far as winter colour goes, it was better than the common Kikuyu last year at our farm, but that is not enough to say for certain it has better winter colour. One interesting thing I noted in the final breeding trial was that the common form and the other two tested varieties had a little Kikuyu yellows appear over summer, and the Kenda® turf showed no signs of it at all. If Kenda® Kikuyu does show better long term resistance to Kikuyu Yellows disease, this has huge implications for the Mid and North Coast of NSW, and even Southern Queensland.
You really need to see for yourself how much better Kenda is compared to common Kikuyu, so either email Ozbreed at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 4577 2977.