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Managing Malaysian lovegrass (C. aciculatus)

Posted by mynormas on September 15, 2011

Lets not kid ourselves, there are many Malaysian golf courses, football fields and tamans that are plagued by the lovegrass (presumably named because it loves our pants). I have seen golfers comments that hate a particular golf course because that golf course has a lot of lovegrass on its fairways.

Lets start a discussion – although from experience this ‘discussion’ will end up being a monologue – but lets discuss anyway. Lets clarify what is ‘lovegrass’. Its that type of plant that has seeds that sticks to pants or socks. The leaf are light green. It is sometimes called as ‘kemuncup’ in some places in Malaysia. In the U.S it is called as the pilipiliula or golden false beardgrass or false beardgrass (http://plants.usda.gov/java/profil

This field was cut about 5 days ago! But the amount of lovegrass now would make a pious man curse...

e?symbol=CHAC) and Mackie’s pest.

What ever it is called I am sure most of us agree that it is a pest.

The leaf and the plant per se is tolerable but it is the seeds and how they were made to propagate that gets most golfers, footballers, joggers (or their wife, mom or maid) worked up. They stick to the pants and socks with no regard to price, brand or label.

Why on earth Malaysians called it love grass is a mystery.

It is also a stubborn pest. The only effective selective pesticide I know that we can use against it is Facet (available in Malaysia). Of course you can use Round-up but that may fall into the ‘overkill’ territory.

It resists mowing with regular reel mower, no matter what brand or how many reels. I have had arguments with two golf course superintendents (actually, make that three but in the end that one guy bought a rotary mower though I suspect it could be because of the price)   who insisted to buy five-gang reel mowers even though their fairways are infested with lovegrass. Why? Because all the other golf courses use a five-gang how can I use a tractor mounted rotary mower?

I have pictures of this golf course with better stripes; but no tractor, so this will have to do. Not to mention that I'm late already. Just take my word that rotarys make stripes

Using Facet has its drawbacks, one of it (other than price) is that it affects cowgrass. I am currently helping a Superintendent testing a few rates of Facet to see which will not kill cowgrass permanently. Lets see what happens; I have my doubts because as I see it, there is just too much lovegrass on his fairways. In my opinion, he would be better off changing his old five-gangs with second-hand mini-tractors equipped with new rotary mowers and mow twice or thrice a week.

Newsflash: Facet kills lovegrass. But the broadleaf survives! Not the cowgrass. And those are RM240 Hush Puppies.

Of course, if your golf course, field, taman or lawn that was planted with Bermuda or Zoysia, by all means; spray it out. Unfortunately, if your bla bla bla was planted (or is now covered) with cowgrass or Serangoon then your options are limited: if not much or only a few areas are invaded by lovegrass – you still could do chemical control. Otherwise you may have to replant (though I would still advise you to use chemical first to ensure no seeds or roots are left behind to continue) or buy new rotary mowers. For lawn owners, you may need to buy your own cutters or adopt one of the foreigner-who-mows-house-lawns as ‘anak angkat’.

Plus, a certain brand of golf course machinery is now coming out with five-gang rotary mowers too so you don’t lose your prestige when talking to other peers at the networking dinner of the club/stadium/local council/dewan bandaraya. And don’t worry, rotary mowers can make stripes as well as reel mowers too.

Try it.

The lovegrass just springs back up behind the mower. But notice that the leaves are quite nice.


One Response to “Managing Malaysian lovegrass (C. aciculatus)”

  1. That was a frankly incredible piece..


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