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How To Grow and Care for Buffalo Grass?

Buffalo grass

Buffalo grass can thrive in poor soil and hot, dry climates.

Buffalo grass is a great option if you’re looking for a low-maintenance lawn that can withstand the elements.

This native North American grass is drought-tolerant and requires little water and fertilizer.

It’s also resistant to pests and diseases.

This article will show you how to grow and care for buffalo grass so you can enjoy a beautiful, healthy lawn for years to come.

What Is Buffalo Grass?

Buffalo grass is a warm-season perennial grass that is native to North America.

It is one of the few grasses that can grow in the Great Plains and the prairies.

The grass has a fine-textured, gray-green color and a soft, curly appearance.

It grows low to the ground, usually between 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) tall, and spreads by stolons or runners.

There are two main varieties of buffalo grass:

  • Bouteloua dactyloides is the most common variety of buffalo grass. It is drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soils.
  • Bouteloua gracilis is a more drought-tolerant variety of buffalo grass. It is also more resistant to pests and diseases.

Buffalo grass is well-adapted to dry and sandy soils and can withstand high temperatures and drought. It is also resistant to diseases and insects.

Other popular varieties of buffalo grass are:

  • Legacy: A dense, dark green variety that tolerates shade and cold.
  • Prestige: A fast-growing and drought-tolerant variety with a deep root system and a rich color.
  • Cody: A low-maintenance and low-water variety that can handle traffic and mowing.
  • UC Verde: A fine-bladed, bright green variety that can grow in coastal and inland areas.
How To Identify Buffalo Grass?

You can identify buffalo grass by its color, texture, and growth habit. Buffalo grass is a gray-green, drought-tolerant grass that grows in clumps.

It has a fine texture and can reach a height of 4-8 inches (10-20 cm). Buffalo grass spreads by rhizomes, which are underground stems that help the grass to spread quickly.

How To Grow Buffalo Grass?

Buffalo grass
Source: Wikimedia

Buffalo grass can be planted in the spring or fall.

Here are the steps to follow.

Select the Right Location

Choose a sunny area for your buffalo grass, as it thrives in full sunlight.

Ensure good air circulation and avoid areas with excessive shade.

Prepare the Soil

Buffalo grass prefers well-draining soil.

Conduct a soil test to determine its pH level and make necessary amendments to achieve a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5.

Remove any rocks, debris, or existing grass from the area.

Planting Buffalo Grass

You have three options for planting buffalo grass: seeding, sodding, and plugs. Seeds are cheaper but slower to establish.

Here’s what to consider:

  • Seeding requires proper soil preparation and following the recommended seeding rate.
  • Sodding involves laying rolls or patches of buffalo grass sod on the prepared soil.
  • Plugs are small pieces of grass that can be spaced out and filled in over time. Sod is pre-grown grass that can be laid down and watered.

Watering Techniques

After planting, water the area thoroughly to ensure the soil is moist to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm).

Gradually reduce the watering frequency over time, allowing the grass to establish deep roots.

Water deeply but infrequently, promoting a strong and drought-tolerant root system.

Establishing Buffalo Grass in Different Climates

Buffalo grass is well-adapted to both hot, arid climates and cool-season areas.

In warm temperatures, plant buffalo grass during late spring or early summer.

In cooler regions, plant during late spring or early fall to allow for proper root establishment before winter.

How To Care for Buffalo Grass?

You can grow a healthy and lush buffalo grass lawn that will provide you with years of enjoyment by following these tips.

Fertilizing Requirements

Buffalo grass has low nutrient requirements.

Apply a slow-release fertilizer during the late spring or early summer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Avoid excessive fertilization, as it can lead to thatch buildup.

Mowing and Maintenance

Maintain a mowing height of 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5 cm) for buffalo grass.

Regularly mow to remove only one-third of the grass blade at a time.

Avoid mowing when the grass is wet to prevent clumping.

Maintain Properly

Buffalo grass is resistant to most pests and diseases, but it can be invaded by weeds or other grasses.

Use mulch, edging, or herbicides to keep them at bay.

How To Get Rid of Buffalo Grass?

If you find yourself needing to remove or control buffalo grass from your lawn or landscape, follow these steps to tackle the task effectively.

Manual Removal

Start by physically removing buffalo grass by hand, using a sharp-edged shovel or trowel to dig out the grass clumps, including their roots.

Ensure you remove as much of the underground stolons as possible.

Herbicidal Removal

Consider using herbicides specifically designed to target buffalo grass.

Follow the product instructions carefully, applying the herbicide when the grass is actively growing.

Repeat applications may be necessary for complete eradication.

Alternative Plants

If you do not want to use herbicides or manual methods, you can eliminate buffalo grass by planting alternative plants.

Several different plants can be used to replace buffalo grass, including:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Creeping red fescue

Possible Problems

Buffalo grass is a relatively problem-free grass.

However, it can be susceptible to some diseases, such as brown patches and leaf spots. These diseases can be treated with fungicides.

Pests like chinch bugs and sod webworms can also damage Buffalo grass. These pests can be controlled with insecticides.


Buffalo grass is a remarkable plant that can survive in harsh conditions and provide a low-maintenance lawn or landscape.

The grass turns a beautiful golden brown color in the fall.

This makes it a great choice for people who want a lawn that changes color with the seasons.

Buffalo grass is a great option if you are looking for low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and environmentally friendly grass for your lawn.

It is a beautiful grass that will provide you with years of enjoyment.

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