Generally known as carpet grass, Axonopus [aks-on-o-pus] is a genus in the grass family.
It is indigenous to the tropical and subtropical lands of the United States (Gulf Coast States), Africa, and Easter Island.
Most commonly found in Florida, East Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama.
It has the characteristic of producing rhizomes and often referred to as rhizomatous grass.
The perennial grass has two scientific names – axonopus affinis and axonopus compressus
Axonopus is also known by many other common English names such as:
- Blanket grass
- Broadleaf carpet grass
- American carpet grass
- Tropical carpet grass
- Louisiana grass
- Savanna grass
- Kearsney grass
Carpet Grass Plant Care
Size and Growth
Axonopus produces dense mats reaching up to a total height of 6″ to 12″ inches.
The flowering clumps of the species spike up to 24″ – 28″ inches.
Generally, the roots of the grass are found at a depth of 2″ inches.
These shallow species form short rhizomes and flat stolons.
The leaves are long and broad, with sparse hair on the lower side.
They bear lean inflorescences with needle-like racemes, which are 1″ to 4″ inches in length.
It produces crabgrass-like seed heads in the summer giving it a weedy appearance.
Make sure you’re mowing weekly as a form of weed control to prevent the seeding tall seed stalks from taking over.
A rotary mower is recommended for the best appearance.
Other “Grass” Topics of Interest:
Flowering and Fragrance
Heavy cutting or grazing of the grassy plant prevents it from growing flowers.
However, the carpet grass has the potential to produce oblong-shaped spikelets pale green in color with hints of purple, similar to St. Augustine grass.
These grass flowers are 2-3 mm long and contain a 2 mm long grain along with one or two flowers.
Light and Temperature
Axonopus is a warm-season grass requiring hot, moist conditions to strive and thrive.
It requires sandy soils and annual temperatures from 66° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit (19° – 27° C) to grow happy and healthy in summers.
Even though this grass type is found in the subtropics and upland tropics, it is ideally adapted to lowland tropics.
It is less frost-tolerant and hence burns up during winters.
Carpet grass prefers shade and often forms a thick grassy mat under huge tree canopies.
It is best as a ground cover under rubber trees and oil palm trees.
Water and Feeding
The lawn grass needs an annual rainfall of 3′ to 13′ feet for its survival.
It doesn’t live in drought-stricken areas or areas receiving less annual rainfall.
Tropical climates are ideal for axonopus.
Even though the grass prefers moist soil, it doesn’t endure prolonged monsoon or permanently soaked conditions.
Fertilizers low on nitrogen should be applied to axonopus.
These chemical substances help extend the growth of the grass leaves.
Soil and Transplanting
The perennial grass enjoys well-drenched or moderately drained soils with low fertility.
Axonopus prefers a 5.5 – 6 pH level for its healthy growth.
For successful transplantation, water the warm-season grass daily.
Next, dig up the root ball of the plant with a shovel.
Shake the plant to get rid of loose soil from around the root ball.
Trim or cut any damaged root or leaves.
Using a spade or trowel, divide the root ball and foliage into several sections as you want.
This also depends on the size of the root ball.
Place the grass in a new container.
Make sure to spread the roots and place them down gently over the soil.
Water the divisions until it starts to drain from the drainage hole.
Keep new divisions moist for a couple of weeks until the roots are well-established.
Grooming and Maintenance
Axonopus requires frequent watering, or else it may develop brown patches around it.
It is important to keep the soil well-drained and the plant in the shade.
To protect the appeal of the grass, hay it.
For further lawn care, make sure not to cut the grass too short.
Another great option for maintaining axonopus is to burn it.
Burning helps remove dead leaves and harmful organic matter from the plant.
Use herbicides used for broadleaf weed control if weeds become an issue.
How to Propagate Axonopus
Axonopus follows vegetative propagation in case commercial carpetgrass seeds are not available.
Sprig and stolon propagation methods are generally used for propagating axonopus.
Propagation of the grass is usually done in the warm season.
In the sprig method, the grass is manually planted in rows, 6″ inches apart at the rate of two pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Make sure each sprig should consist of 2 to 4 nodes.
The stolon method is almost the same, except the plants, are broadcast instead of being sown in a seedbed.
The area must be watered daily to provide required moisture to the plant.
Axonopus Pests and Diseases
This low-maintenance plant is not subject to any pests or diseases but sometimes leaf spot.
It is also prone to Rhizoctonia solani and rice tungro spherical walkavirus.
Carpet Grass Uses
Axonopus is known to be turfgrass or flat grass, so it has a flat and wide pasture.
Owing to its flat surface, the plant is less valuable for a cut-and-carry system or fodder conservation.
This being said, it is used as good lawn grass for erosion control.
The grass is also allowed to grow as a soil cover for many types of plantations like oil palm or rubber plantations.