Identifying sub-tropical grass seedlings

Page last updated: Thursday, 16 May 2019 - 1:02pm

There is considerable interest in growing sub-tropical perennial grasses especially on the south coast and in the northern agricultural region. They consist of two types: creeping grasses, which spread by either above ground runners (stolons) or below ground runners (rhizomes) and bunch grasses, which are tufted and do not spread by runners.

The main species sown include panic grass, Rhodes grass, kikuyu, setaria, signal grass, digit grass and Bambatsi panic and are often sown as a mixture, comprising two or more species. This page describes how to identify these grasses at the seedling stage.


Front cover of Bulletin 4775 showing an established perennial grass paddock (Identifying sub-tropical grass seedlings)
Bulletin 4775 - Identifying sub-tropical grass seedlings can be downloaded as a PDF
Table 1 Comparative seedling size of sub-tropical grasses 18 days from an early March sowing in Perth. Seedlings were grown under irrigation and measurements are the average of six random plants.
Species Average height (cm) Average width (cm)
Panic grass 2.2 2.2
Rhodes grass 3.5 2.1
Kikuyu 3.5 3.5
Signal grass 2.2 3.5
Digit grass 1.0 1.6
Bambatsi grass 0.5 1.3


Contact information

Geoff Moore
+61 (0)8 9368 3293


Bradley Wintle
Geoff Moore
Phil Nichols