Axonopus affinis Chase
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
The most important use of carpetgrass is for permanent pastures. It is also
useful for lawns and erosion control. It is especially good for recreational
areas, campgrounds, baseball fields, picnic areas and parking lots. It is not
recommended for improved pastures as it is low in nutrients and has low
No data available.
On a zero moisture basis 4-week cut (Malaysia) (28.9% DM) contains 8.3% CP,
30.4% CF, 5.9% ash, 1.7% EE, 53.7% NFE; the 6-week cut (30% DM) contains 7.5%
CP, 30.9% CF, 5.9% ash, 1.3% EE, 54.4% NFE; and the Colombian fresh grass
(34.2% DM) contains 6.2% CP, 37.2% CF, 5.1% ash, 1.4% EE, and 50.1% NFE.
Shallow-rooted creeping perennial grass, forming very dense sod by rooting at
nodes along stolons and by sending up leaf-shoots from the nodes; culms
flattened, 3075 cm tall; tufted flower-bearing culms erect and unbranched;
ligule a scale about 0.3 mm long; leaf-blades 620 cm long, shorter on the
stolons, 36 mm broad, flat, blunt or slightly pointed; sheaths keeled; spikes
2 to 4, usually 3, 210 cm long, about I mm broad; spikelets 1.72.2 mm long,
very minutely pubescent around the edges, apically rather blunt, second glume
prolonged very little beyond fruit. Fl. spring to fall, as late as Dec. and as
early as Feb. 8x = 8. Seeds 2,600,0002,850,000/kg.
Reported from the Middle American Center of Diversity, carpetgrass or cvs
thereof is reported to tolerate heavy soil, low pH, poor soil, and sand.
According to Bogdan (1977), A. affinis is more frost tolerant than A.
compressus. South American Axonopus scoparius has reported biomass
yields of 122 MT/ha. (2n = 54,80).
Native to Central America and the West Indies; introduced to United States
before 1832, first at New Orleans, then spread over southern Coastal Plain and
inland to central Alabama and southern Arkansas. Widely distributed now in
cut-over timber areas and the like.
Ranging from Warm Temperate Dry to Moist through Tropical Moist to Wet Forest
Life Zones, carpetgrass is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 8 to 41
dm (mean of 7 cases = 15.3), annual temperature of 16 to 27°C (mean of 7
cases = 19.7), and pH of 4.3 to 7.0 (mean of 6 cases = 5.6). Warm-season
grass, well adapted to sandy or sandy-loam soils with readily available
moisture. Also adapted to light textured soils with moisture near the surface
in humid tropical and subtropical climates. Drought resistance poor. Thrives
under lower fertility levels than do most other pasture grasses adapted to
southeastern United States. Does not withstand prolonged flooding or permanent
swampy conditions. Most commonly found on slightly acid sandy soils, with pH
5.06.0. Adapted also to clays, mucks and peats.
Produces abundant seed which germinate and spread quickly over areas where
adapted. Establishes itself readily. Also reproduces by stolons. Seeding
rates vary from 515 kg/ha when broadcast. Production is low unless it gets
adequate fertilizer, but fertilization is not profitable on all sites. Usually
it is not fertilized as it is considered a poor-soil grass. On very poor
soils, it responds to lime, phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, the quantities
used depending on the soil. Responds well to manuring. It does not respond as
efficiently to lime and fertilizers as most other southern forage grasses.
However, yields of carpetgrass in Florida have been doubled by use of complete
fertilizer applications. Carpetgrass does not occur naturally with legumes.
When planted with legumes, such as Kobe lespedeza, white clover and Dutch white
clover, yields are increased and quality of forage is improved. When grown in
pure stands, carpetgrass is considered of inferior nutritive value, but can be
enhanced by close grazing, application of fertilizer and presence of associated
legumes. Unfortunately, carpetgrass tends to crowd out Dallisgrass and legumes.
Carpetgrass can be grazed all year by livestock. It is a managed pasture grass
in some localities. In Florida it remains green year round; elsewhere, it
becomes dormant early in fall and begins growth in spring. A decumbent
sod-former, it is very tolerant of frequent defoliation. Even extreme close
grazing does not completely defoliate it, as leaves and shoots assume a
horizontal position, encouraging new leaf-shoots to develop. Close and
frequent grazing stimulates vegetative growth, higher protein content and
better yields. For maximum production grazing should be rotated about every
3040 days, saving at least 50% of current year's growth. A 57.5 cm stubble
Yields of up to 50 MT hay/ha are reported (Duke, 1978). Although carpetgrass
lacks feed value, it supplements southern range grazing in summer and fall when
range grasses are tough and unpalatable, thus adding considerably to the forage
resources of the South.
According to the phytomass files (Duke, 1981b), annual productivity is 44 to 50
MT/ha, which seems excessively high. However, Bogdan (1977) notes that in
mixed stand with other low-growing grasses, A. affinis can compete with
Pennisetum clandestinum or Paspalum notatum, other high yielding
grasses. Axonopus compressus is estimated to yield at least 2 MT/ha/yr,
A. scoparius 120 (Duke, 1981b).
Following fungi have been reported on Carpetgrass: Cerebellaandropogonis,
Balansia strangulans, Curvularia lunata, Dinemasporium graminum var.
strigosulum, Fusarium graminum, Helminthosporium ravenelii, Nigrospora
sphaerica, Tetraploa aristata, Thanatephorus cucumeris. It is also
parasitized by Striga asiatica (lutea). Nematodes isolated from
carpetgrass include: Meloidogyne sp., Pratylenchus pratensis,
and Radopholus similis.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Bogdan, A.V. 1977. Tropical pasture and fodder plants. Longman, London.
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 161. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
Last update December 30, 1997