Written by: Nic Davies
Egyptian grass, as it is known locally, is spread across Africa and the Middle East creating a problem when it encroaches into mono stands of C4 warm-season grass sports surfaces. When left unchecked it can, in time, outcompete the desirable planted grass and become the dominant surface which is soft and undesirable for playing sport on, especially golf. It can adapt to close mowing heights down to 6 mm, seeds prolifically and tends to grow out from initial infestation. Interestingly, the seed transmission seems more likely along cart path edges or weak areas of rough where the mono stand doesn't grow aggressively enough to outcompete Dactloctenium aegypttium.
This plant has some medical properties: when the seed is crushed dry it helps alleviate post-childbirth pain; alternatively, when crushed wet the plant has antimicrobial/anti-inflammatory properties for fever and diarrhoea. Most fine turf managers in the Middle East spray a cocktail of products, we at Safaa use salt at a low dose to weaken the plant wait a week or so and then rake and or hand weed the plant, so reducing our herbicide use to less than 3 litres a year, from 100 plus 7 years ago.