What is Carpet Grass?

Carpet grass, scientifically known as Axonopus affinis, is a warm-season grass that is commonly used for lawns and pastures. It is a low-growing, creeping grass that forms a dense carpet-like turf. Carpet grass is native to tropical and subtropical regions and is well-adapted to hot and humid climates. It is often used in areas where other grasses struggle to grow, such as shady or poorly drained areas.

Characteristics of Carpet Grass

Carpet grass has several distinct characteristics that make it a popular choice for lawns and pastures. Firstly, it has a coarse texture with wide blades that are soft to the touch. This gives it a lush and carpet-like appearance, hence its name. Secondly, it has a deep green color that remains vibrant even in hot and dry conditions. This makes it visually appealing and adds aesthetic value to any landscape. Lastly, carpet grass has a high tolerance for foot traffic, making it ideal for areas that receive heavy use.

Growth Habits and Maintenance

Carpet grass is a low-maintenance grass that requires minimal care. It has a slow growth rate and does not require frequent mowing. However, it is important to keep the grass at a height of around 2-3 inches to maintain its lush appearance. Regular watering is necessary to keep the grass healthy, especially during dry periods. Fertilization should be done sparingly, as carpet grass is not a heavy feeder. It is also important to control weeds, as carpet grass can be easily overtaken by invasive species.

Advantages of Carpet Grass

There are several advantages to using carpet grass in lawns and pastures. Firstly, its ability to thrive in shady areas makes it a great choice for landscapes with limited sunlight. It can tolerate up to 70% shade, making it ideal for yards with large trees or buildings that cast shadows. Secondly, carpet grass has good tolerance for salt, making it suitable for coastal areas where saltwater intrusion is a concern. Additionally, carpet grass has good erosion control properties, making it useful for stabilizing slopes and preventing soil erosion.

Disadvantages of Carpet Grass

While carpet grass has many benefits, it also has some disadvantages that should be considered. Firstly, it is not as drought-tolerant as other warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass. It requires regular watering to maintain its green color and overall health. Secondly, carpet grass has poor cold tolerance and may turn brown or die back during cold winters. This limits its suitability to regions with mild winters. Lastly, carpet grass has a shallow root system, which makes it less drought-resistant and more susceptible to damage from foot traffic.

Uses of Carpet Grass

Carpet grass has a wide range of uses in landscaping and agriculture. In lawns, it is often used in shady areas where other grasses struggle to grow. It can also be used in parks, golf courses, and sports fields that receive heavy foot traffic. In pastures, carpet grass is commonly used as a forage grass for livestock. It provides good grazing and can withstand heavy grazing pressure. Additionally, carpet grass can be used for erosion control in areas prone to soil erosion.

Establishment and Propagation

Carpet grass can be established from seeds or vegetative methods such as sodding or plugging. Seeding is the most cost-effective method but requires proper soil preparation and regular watering for successful establishment. Sodding provides instant results but is more expensive. Plugging involves planting small sections of carpet grass sod and allowing them to spread and fill in the area over time. Whichever method is chosen, it is important to provide adequate water and nutrients during the establishment phase to ensure a healthy and dense turf.

Pests and Diseases

Carpet grass is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can still be affected by certain issues. Common pests that may infest carpet grass include armyworms, sod webworms, and chinch bugs. These pests can cause damage to the grass by feeding on the leaves and stems. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures can help prevent and manage infestations. As for diseases, carpet grass is susceptible to fungal diseases such as brown patch and dollar spot. Proper cultural practices, such as avoiding overwatering and improving air circulation, can help prevent disease outbreaks.


Carpet grass is a versatile and resilient grass that is well-suited for lawns and pastures in hot and humid climates. Its ability to thrive in shady areas, tolerate salt, and control erosion make it a popular choice for various landscaping applications. While it has some limitations, such as its lower drought tolerance and shallow root system, proper maintenance and care can help overcome these challenges. Whether used in residential lawns or agricultural pastures, carpet grass provides a lush and attractive turf that can withstand heavy use and add value to any landscape.