What Is Buffalo Lawn?
Buffalo grass has built up a solid reputation as a really tough turf for Australian lawns.
There are a number of Buffalo varieties each with some really special characteristics that make them a standout choice for your lawn.
Buffalo lawn is especially popular thanks to its shade and drought tolerance, soft leaf, lush green colour even through winter, low maintenance, and its resistance to wear and tear.
You’ve probably heard the term Buffalo grass bandied around a lot but there are a number of varieties and species available.
So What Exactly is Buffalo Grass?
Here at Atlas Turf we have 4 varieties of Buffalo grass:
Each of these varieties shares many wonderful characteristics but they also display some differences too.
Our Buffalo grass range (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is 100% Australian born and bred for Australian conditions with many years of research and careful cultivar selection underpinning its success.
Atlas Turf Buffalo grass should not be confused with American Buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides), which is an entirely different species.
Some Councils list wild Stenotaphrum secundatum as a weed but our Buffalo grasses are bred to be environmentally friendly and the seed is sterile.
Buffalo produces lush green growth throughout both hot and cold seasons. It will be happy even in 80% shade; that’s as little as 3 hours of sunlight.
And its strong root system allows it to recover quickly when damaged, quickly putting out new growth and preventing weeds from taking over.
Buffalo lawn requires less water and has lower requirements for fertiliser, which is great for those hot summers.
And the Buffalo varieties demonstrate excellent pest and disease resistance so you’ll need to use fewer chemicals.
Buffalo lawn with its low allergy rating is a wonderful grass choice for family backyards. You’ll love it, the kids will love it and even the dog will love it.
Buffalo grasses are renowned for the low maintenance requirements but regular watering, mowing, and applications of fertiliser will ensure your lawn stays looking its best regardless of what the weather, pests and weeds can throw at it.
Our Buffalo range of grasses have been bred to enhance their drought resistance but even the toughest lawns will still require some watering throughout the summer to stay green and healthy.
Ideally, as your new lawn establishes itself aim for two deep watering each week during the hot summer months. This establishment phase may last 2 months.
Once your lawn has developed a healthy root system, one deep watering each week should be adequate for the softer finer Buffalo varieties.
Deep watering allows the moisture to sink deep into the soil and encourage deeper root growth. Drip irrigators will usually supply the correct amount of water in around 30 minutes.
Sapphire Buffalo has a particularly fine leaf and additional watering will help with recovery in high traffic areas.
Palmetto Buffalo also has slightly higher water requirements compared with some of the other Buffalo varieties.
If your Buffalo lawn starts to brown off it’s probably a sign it would like some water.
The ability of Buffalo grasses to quickly recover from periods of neglect even when they appear brown and dead is legendary.
Buffalo grass is also susceptible to a pathogen which causes brown patches to appear on your lawn.
It usually appears during warm humid weather and it pays to eliminate this as the cause before you start increasing your watering regime.
Buffalo grasses are a great choice for shaded areas and are ideal for those areas of your lawn where other grasses die off in the winter. Buffalo grasses will thrive in as little as 70 to 80% shade.
They will retain a good green colour. Sir Walter and Sapphire will even be quite happy with as few as 3 hours of sunlight daily.
Buffalo grasses may develop a slight purpling colour but don’t worry as the typical lush green colour will return quickly as spring approaches.
Sapphire has the most shade tolerance of the Buffalo range but if your lawn will still experience high traffic and wear and tear during the winter months then Sir Walter is probably your best choice.
Start preparing your lawn in autumn for the winter months. Use the correct herbicides for any weeds that might be starting to show and apply some fertiliser too.
Keep your mowing heights a little higher as grass growth slows down. Aim for a leaf length of between 60 and 70mms. The longer grass blades provide more leaf area for photosynthesis during the shorter days.
It’s important to remove fallen leaves and branches from your lawn. The idea is to maximise your lawn’s exposure to the available light and maintain air movement, which will help keep your lawn disease-free.
Spot spray throughout the winter months and keep an eye open for Bindi during August as this is a good time to catch it before seeds form.
All Buffalo grasses do well in full sun but regular mowing will help keep your lawn looking its best.
Thatch, the layer of dead material at the base of grass blades — can become an issue if you don’t mow regularly.
A little thatch can help keep your lawn healthy during hot periods but you don’t want it to build up too much or it may cause the grass to overheat and even die.
Sir Walter and Palmetto are both low-thatch grasses but Palmetto produces the least thatch of all the Buffalo range. Avoid cutting your lawn too deeply.
Although Buffalo grasses will quickly recover when damaged, if you consistently cut your lawn too low it will eventually kill the grass.
The ideal height for Buffalo grass is between 25 and 40mm. But keep the grass a little longer during the winter—around 60 to 70mm is best.
Buffalo grasses form dense root systems which will protect against weed invasion to some extent.
It is important though to repair dead or bare patches quickly to prevent weeds taking hold.
Some herbicides are species-specific and it pays to check the instructions on the label carefully for the best times of the year to apply.
For weeds such as clover or couch, spot spraying with a selective herbicide is very effective.
September is a good time to use a selective broad spectrum spray that will kill weeds but will not affect Buffalo grass.
Amgrow Lawn Weeder is a good choice. Amgrow Winter Grass Killer is very effective for the Couch weeds.
Sedgehammer is likewise effective for killing weeds in Couch and Nutgrass and is best applied in spring or summer.
It’s a good idea to use pre-emergent sprays during autumn and spring to hit weeds on the head before they start to get a toehold.
Be very careful if you choose to use glyphosate (Roundup). Consider applying it with a brush as spray drift will kill Buffalo.
It’s good practice to fertilise the ground before you lay new turf. Repeat two weeks after laying the lawn and then every couple of months for the first year.
One your lawn is established apply fertiliser in early spring, early summer and mid autumn.
Fertilisers help keep your grass green and healthy.
They provide the nutrition your grass needs to recover from damage and will help it to resist pests and disease.
If your Buffalo turf receives minor damage it will most likely repair itself. In more serious cases you may need to take some action.
Brown Patch can be a problem for Buffalo grasses (like all warm season grass types) in more humid parts of the country.
Prevention is the best cure but if Brown Patch appears on your lawn try reducing watering. Only water in the morning. Never water at night—the fungus is spread through water.
Remove all lawn clippings and any other leaf matter that may increase humidity and reduce airflow.
You may want to prune any shrubs or trees that shade the lawn to increase airflow as well. In particularly severe outbreaks you may need to use a fungicide but as with all poisons be careful.
It may take some months for the lawn to recover especially after a serious infestation.
You may need to resow any dead patches in your lawn to prevent weeds taking hold. This is true whether it’s a fungus, lack of water or neglect that has caused the problem.
Bugs such as African Black beetles and Armyworms may damage your turf. If the infestation is serious you may want to treat with a pesticide.
Although our four Buffalo varieties are all exceptionally high-performing grasses, there are some differences.
Check out the table below to help you work out which one is best for your needs.
If you are still not sure, talk to us, we’ll be happy to advise.
|Buffalo Features||Sir Walter||Sapphire||Palmetto||Matlilda|
|Leaf texture||Coarse||Fine||Long broad||Soft, medium fine|
|Mowing requirements||Medium||Low||Low||Medium to high|
More than 3 decades of experience ensure you get lawn varieties with exceptional growth, hardiness, and colour.
You can buy your Sir Walter, Palmetto and Sapphire at a low price from just $11.00 per m2 while Matilda costs just $12 per m2.
Whichever one you choose your new Buffalo lawn won’t cost the earth.
And with prompt delivery 6 days a week your new Buffalo lawn is waiting for you.