Axonopus compressus: Carpet grass

Family: Poaceae
Common name: Broadleaf carpet grass, Carpet grass, Tropical carpet grass, Flat joint grass, American carpet grass, Blanket grass, Lawn grass, Wide-leaved carpet grass, Louisiana grass, Savanna grass, Kearsney grass

Broadleaf carpet grass is a creeping, stoloniferous grass that forms dense mats, sometimes used as cheap substitutes for lawn grass. They can grow to a height of 15-20 cm with broad, green leaves and long stems or stolons that help the grass form new clumps around the parent plants.

Leaves are 2-5 cm long, pointed towards the tips with slightly serrated margins. The base has thin, white hairs close to the base of the leaves.

Flowers are borne on thin stalks that grow from spike-like stems, later producing tiny seeds that fall to the ground and germinate near the parents plants. Carpet grass plants grow well in warm, humid weather and good sunlight.

They can tolerate partial shade, and heavy rains, but they grow best in bright, direct sunlight. These are good fodder plants, growing well even if they are cut down or grazed to the roots.

Carpet grass plants can be planted on slopes to prevent soil erosion since they grow quickly and cover large areas with their running stolons. They are also used as cheap alternatives to football turfs since they are quite sturdy and can take a lot of trampling.

These plants can be grown from seeds, which germinate very quickly in warm weather conditions. But carpet grass plants are considered invasive in agricultural land where they can compete with small seedlings choking them.

Carpet grass is quite difficult to get rid of since small pieces of stem or stolon left on the ground can take root and grow new plants. The land can be tilled well to remove all traces of this plant, before they seed, since seeds can lie dormant in the soil for a while before germinating.

Spraying herbicides and chemicals can be done as more aggressive methods to get rid of carpet grass plants. Allowing animals to graze is a good way to prevent these plants from getting too big and unmanageable.

Propagation is through seeds and stem cuttings.