The clear plastic was clearly not generating the high temperatures I'd been expecting, only getting warm enough to act as a nice little green house for the grass. In fact, as you can see in the photograph below, the only damage done to the Kikuyu was caused by the bricks I had used to keep the plastic down.
|Clear plastic after two weeks. Dead area caused by the brick not the plastic.|
In the other camp, black plastic, with its amazing powers of light suppression, was making clear inroads into the Kikuyu. As can be seen in the photograph below, after the same two week period the damage to the grass is obvious.
|Black plastic after two weeks.|
With such dramatic differences between the two and needing the area for a new garden bed it seemed a sensible decision to end the competition and use the winner.
Clear plastic has its supporters so it obviously must work, but not in my situation. It's probably a combination of climate (temperatures don't often get above 30 degrees Celsius), the location of the bed (it's not 100 percent full sun) and the hardiness of the grass (it's hard to get the plastic tight to the earth).
It's not all bad news though - I've now got about five metres of cloche material :)
And just to prove it's not just me on an anti-Kikuyu crusade. Below is a poster for a local landcare event scheduled for this Easter - note the competition categories: "Longest Kikuyu runner".