You want your lawn to look as attractive as possible, but that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily willing to invest countless hours caring for it. Low-maintenance grass can give you that boost in curb appeal that you desire while reducing the need for frequent mowing and fertilizing. Buffalo grass is one popular option for those looking to cut down on lawn care. Read on to learn more about the species, so you can decide if it’s the best choice for you.
What Is Buffalo Grass?
Buffalo grass is the common name for the grass species Bouteloua dactyloides. You may also see it referred to as buffalograss. Along with Bermuda grass, buffalo grass is a popular choice of turf for golf courses because it is hardy and low maintenance. In recent years, it has become a popular choice for lawns in some parts of the country.
Planting Buffalo Grass from Seed
The best time to get buffalo grass seed planted is during the late spring and early summer months of April or May. Depending on your preferences, you can start the grass from seed or from sod. In most cases, sod consists only of female plants to limit the spiky grass of the species. If you opt for seed, the result will be a mix of female and male plants.
Normally, experts recommend 4 to 6 lbs of buffalograss seed per 1,000 square feet. It is generally best to fertilize buffalo grass in the early spring using 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet and then repeat treatment in June or July.
The lack of density of buffalo grass encourages weed growth. Using a weed and feed fertilizer is one way to simplify weed control. You can also try spraying individual weeds when they grow.
Why Choose Buffalo Grass Lawns?
There are many benefits to choosing a buffalo grass lawn. Some reasons to consider buffalo grass include:
- Resilience: After proper establishment, buffalo grass can hold up to the effects of heavy foot traffic. This makes it a great choice for families that frequently use their lawns for recreation or who frequently entertain in their yards.
- Drought tolerant: Buffalo grass resists drought stress, so it doesn’t need a lot of watering and performs well in drier climates.
- Heat tolerant: Buffalo grass can withstand the effects of high air and soil temperatures. It can hold up to the effects of direct sunlight and tends to perform best without shade.
- Low maintenance: A regular mowing schedule for buffalo grass is usually once per week at most. The grass doesn’t need to be fertilized more than twice per year to thrive.
- Growing season: Unlike other grasses that turn brown when summer starts to come to an end, buffalo grass remains green into the late season.
Buffalo Grass Lawn FAQs
To help you make an informed decision about whether to choose a buffalograss lawn, we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions and answers.
Does Buffalo Grass Make a Good Lawn?
What makes good lawn grass is a matter of personal opinion. For those who want a new lawn that will require minimal maintenance, buffalograss may be an excellent choice. However, the cost to purchase buffalograss seed may be prohibitive for some people. Others may not like the appearance or texture of buffalo grass and feel that other species make for a more attractive lawn.
Is Buffalo Grass Hard to Grow?
How hard buffalo grass is to grow depends on your climate. It is a native grass in the western and central Great Plains of the U.S. and tends to perform best there. However, buffalograss lawns can also thrive in areas with low rainfall, high heat and full sun.
Buffalo grass does not grow well on the high plains, so it is best to plant it at lower elevations. In addition, the warm season grass does poorly in sandy soils.
Does Buffalo Grass Spread Quickly?
Generally, it takes about 15 to 21 days for seed germination to occur and begin to create an established buffalograss lawn. In the right conditions, young seedlings spread relatively quickly on home lawns, usually beginning around 4 weeks after planting.
Does Buffalo Grass Need to Be Mowed?
Buffalograss sod does need occasional mowing but can be mowed less frequently than many other grass species. If left too long, the growth can become uneven and detract from the appearance of the lawn. Typically, the grass should be mowed when it reaches 1.5 to 2 inches in height. Aim for a mowing height that is about one-third to one-half of its current height.
Does Buffalo Grass Stay Green in Winter?
No, buffalo grass doesn’t stay green in the winter. It will remain dormant throughout the winter months and lose its green color. Dormant buffalograss tends to have a light tan to golden straw-like color. Some people find it more attractive than a species that turns brown.